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Can you get good shoes from 'fashion' labels

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was doing some window shopping yesterday, and came across a pair of Pradas, cut a bit like Tramezzas and looked fairly good quality. It was of course very expensive (more than the rest of the Prada shoes on offer). I was just wondering that at this higher price point, can one expect to find high quality construction in shoes sold by labels such as Prada, Armani, Valentino etc etc?
post #2 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chobochobo
I was doing some window shopping yesterday, and came across a pair of Pradas, cut a bit like Tramezzas and looked fairly good quality. It was of course very expensive (more than the rest of the Prada shoes on offer). I was just wondering that at this higher price point, can one expect to find high quality construction in shoes sold by labels such as Prada, Armani, Valentino etc etc?

MAYBE. If I were you I would search here (and on Ask Andy) about the specific lines. if you have found somethijng good. I know a few people have Ferragamo's Tramezza line in rather high esteem. But not the average Ferragamo shoes. The danger with designer labels is that they do often price very highly everything which would bear their logo. It is not easy to work out whether or not that means anything
post #3 of 17
Well, I have the chance to live in Europe and be near to Italy, so I have the choice here between high end "noname" Italian shoes and "brandname" Italian shoes, and honestly... even if I have to recognise that "brandname" shoes keep a high quality standard... you can allways get a "noname" high quality shoes that are better but for much less money... so I don't bother with the brands... I simply don't care about brands... I almost never wear something branded... but you can tell that I am allways the best dressed of the pack
post #4 of 17
I've had nothing but good wearing from Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Armani, Barneys, To Boot, etc shoes.
However, I too wish I lived close enough to Italy to get the no-name Italian made shoes. We in the USA are stuck with what is offered in the local stores.
post #5 of 17
I have mainline Dolce & Gabbanna wingtips that I've had since 1995 and they are still in perfect condition and have held up amazingly well for 11 years of heavy wear. Another pair of D&G wingtips is going on 6 years and appear to have tons of life left as well. Both have outlasted Allen Edmonds I've owned that needed retiring much sooner with less wear on them.
post #6 of 17
Gucci's shoes by Sergio Rossi are rather high quality.
post #7 of 17
I'll comment on the designer shoes I've owned (aside from what others have mentioned so far), for whatever it's worth.

Valentino- nice design but the quality is poor and you pay a LOT for the material/skin and the name. I have a pair of patent leather ankle boots, retail about $600, and they're largely glued together but the leather upper is nice. There is even one spot on them where the glue is already starting to come undone near the toe. As well, the quality and construction of the sole is only so-so. That being said, if they are only occasional use shoes (I mean, I don't use a pair of patent leather ankle boots everyday), the design and aesthetic are beautiful.

Jil Sander- There are numerous levels within the line, but any produced after 2001 or so aren't so great (the Lattanzi made Sanders were from the late 1990's and went away when Prada took over). The entry level Sander's (retail about $395) are really about $150 shoes with $150 of packaging and brand recognition. The upper-level shoes (retail $600+) are like the Valentino's... nice/exotic leather uppers with so-so soles. Sort of like how Mezlan will put out a $700 crocodile shoe with the same shoddy construction of its $150 regular line.

Helmut Lang- Like Sander but cheaper at retail and therefore cheaper in materials and quality.

Calvin Klein Collection- Produced by Zengarini, I was actually quite impressed. They're not Lattanzi, of course, but for a retail of $395 or thereabouts, they're nicer than my Sander's, Pradas, etc. Not as nice as Rossi's Gucci models, but still good and often obtainable at discount. Zengarini also makes shoes for Allessandro Dell'acqua.

Dior Homme- Produced by Buttero. Quality good for designer shoes but a style that is difficult to wear often. And, REALLY high price. I would recommend buying a similar style made by Buttero itself (retail about $325) which will give you essentially the same quality at about half the price.

Loewe, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton- All made by (I think) Stefano Bi. Probably amongst the better quality for designer shoes (in my experience), but with a retail price to match. A $595 pair of Givenchy oxfords won't be half as high-quality as a pair of $595 C&J's, but still they're not bad.

Marc Jacobs- Made by Iris SRL, which also makes for Galliano, Viktor&Rolf, etc. Neat styling but, like all the others, so-so construction. I've got a pair of brown derbies (retail $450 or so) that I love to wear out but are already looking worn and ragged after only a year or so.

Prada- All over the place for quality. I've got six or seven pairs of Prada and some have lasted me forever and others fall apart quickly. A pair of black chelsea boots bought back in 1999-2000 still look great after MANY wearings, but another pair of black derbies have been worn less than half a dozen times and look like shit. I think they use many different locations to produce the shoes, so it is hard to tell which ones will last and which won't. They all look great at first, but only time (and a few wearings) will tell. It is like their nylon bags, they have a "sport" collection (NOT the red-tagged Prada Sport line, but just the regular black nylon line), a "couture" collection, etc. all of which LOOK similar but use different materials. The sport collection uses cheaper nylon, cheaper leather, etc. and lasts about 1/10 the time of the higher line.

Of all of the ones mentioned, I'd second Labelking's Rossi recommendation, followed by Givenchy and then Calvin Klein Collection. Prada would then follow, but only if you got it on discount. At retail, I don't know if it is worth taking the chance. Jil Sander I'd recommend only as vintage that you can find on ebay with the nice, handwritten labels inside. Armani, I won't comment much. Every Armani shoe I've seen has been unimpressive for both quality and style and so I've never bought one.

John
post #8 of 17
Thought I'd take a couple of picture to illustrate.

1. Valentino boots- As you can see, nicer uppers, but cheap sole and, in the third pic, obvious cheap glue. Not what you'd want from $600 shoes (luckily I got them on sale).




2. Prada Chelsea boot- Still looking good for being 6-7 years old with many wearings and even a partial re-sole (actually, it didn't even need the resole. I was in Japan at the time and told them I wanted them to fix the squeak in the shoe and they thought I wanted a resole. Oh well).



3. Prada derbies- Plasticky-looking leather and that wear in the last pic is, literally, only after a VERY few wearings. Again, not what you'd want from shoes with a retail of $490.



4. Marc Jacobs Patent-leather derbies- Again, plasticky-looking, cheap leather and glued-on soles. For $450, no thanks. As well, I think the soles are made from water-soluble cardboard for how quickly they wear away (just kidding, but they're not so great, even though I like the style).



5. Calvin Klein Collection- NOT the regular, made in China CK junk. These are the Zengarini made Italian ones. Again, not Lattanzi, but still pretty good and a beautiful shape. I think the retail on these loafers was around $300.



Hope it helps!
John
post #9 of 17
Jil Sander shoes are now being made by Church.
post #10 of 17
I know that some of the newest models (after Raf Simons took over) are made by Church's, but are all of them? I thought that some of the entry-level, standard models were still made in the Italian factories.

I could be wrong; I'd be happy to know if they were all being made by Church's. Even though Church's has gone down after Prada, they still would be a lot better than some of the sad Sander shoes that have come out in the past few years with $450+ price tags.

John
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LabelKing
Gucci's shoes by Sergio Rossi are rather high quality.

Yes, I noticed this when I was killing time in the Gucci store at the Seoul airport. Despite all the bad press, the Sergio Rossi made Gucci shoes were really quite nice and made of good quality (not grain corrected) calf.
post #12 of 17
Not sure if this helps but here is an old thread I held onto which talks about who makes what shoes for whom.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc
I'll comment on the designer shoes I've owned (aside from what others have mentioned so far), for whatever it's worth.

Valentino- nice design but the quality is poor and you pay a LOT for the material/skin and the name. I have a pair of patent leather ankle boots, retail about $600, and they're largely glued together but the leather upper is nice. There is even one spot on them where the glue is already starting to come undone near the toe. As well, the quality and construction of the sole is only so-so. That being said, if they are only occasional use shoes (I mean, I don't use a pair of patent leather ankle boots everyday), the design and aesthetic are beautiful.

Jil Sander- There are numerous levels within the line, but any produced after 2001 or so aren't so great (the Lattanzi made Sanders were from the late 1990's and went away when Prada took over). The entry level Sander's (retail about $395) are really about $150 shoes with $150 of packaging and brand recognition. The upper-level shoes (retail $600+) are like the Valentino's... nice/exotic leather uppers with so-so soles. Sort of like how Mezlan will put out a $700 crocodile shoe with the same shoddy construction of its $150 regular line.

Helmut Lang- Like Sander but cheaper at retail and therefore cheaper in materials and quality.

Calvin Klein Collection- Produced by Zengarini, I was actually quite impressed. They're not Lattanzi, of course, but for a retail of $395 or thereabouts, they're nicer than my Sander's, Pradas, etc. Not as nice as Rossi's Gucci models, but still good and often obtainable at discount. Zengarini also makes shoes for Allessandro Dell'acqua.

Dior Homme- Produced by Buttero. Quality good for designer shoes but a style that is difficult to wear often. And, REALLY high price. I would recommend buying a similar style made by Buttero itself (retail about $325) which will give you essentially the same quality at about half the price.

Loewe, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton- All made by (I think) Stefano Bi. Probably amongst the better quality for designer shoes (in my experience), but with a retail price to match. A $595 pair of Givenchy oxfords won't be half as high-quality as a pair of $595 C&J's, but still they're not bad.

Marc Jacobs- Made by Iris SRL, which also makes for Galliano, Viktor&Rolf, etc. Neat styling but, like all the others, so-so construction. I've got a pair of brown derbies (retail $450 or so) that I love to wear out but are already looking worn and ragged after only a year or so.

Prada- All over the place for quality. I've got six or seven pairs of Prada and some have lasted me forever and others fall apart quickly. A pair of black chelsea boots bought back in 1999-2000 still look great after MANY wearings, but another pair of black derbies have been worn less than half a dozen times and look like shit. I think they use many different locations to produce the shoes, so it is hard to tell which ones will last and which won't. They all look great at first, but only time (and a few wearings) will tell. It is like their nylon bags, they have a "sport" collection (NOT the red-tagged Prada Sport line, but just the regular black nylon line), a "couture" collection, etc. all of which LOOK similar but use different materials. The sport collection uses cheaper nylon, cheaper leather, etc. and lasts about 1/10 the time of the higher line.

Of all of the ones mentioned, I'd second Labelking's Rossi recommendation, followed by Givenchy and then Calvin Klein Collection. Prada would then follow, but only if you got it on discount. At retail, I don't know if it is worth taking the chance. Jil Sander I'd recommend only as vintage that you can find on ebay with the nice, handwritten labels inside. Armani, I won't comment much. Every Armani shoe I've seen has been unimpressive for both quality and style and so I've never bought one.

John

Thanks John, What a great posting, with pictures too. It makes me wonder why ever buy "Fashion Label Designer Shoes? I know the answer of course is that some people like the trendy designs and are partial to some designers. I'm lucky in that I have no desire for the shoes that you have gone over, and after reading your post and seeing your pictures, I doubt I will in the future. AE's and Alsen's are trendy enough for me. Of course what makes this SF fun is that I hear input from those with very different outlooks, such as this thread!

Thanks again, and I hope you bought those Valentino's at a deep discount!
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lakewolf
Well, I have the chance to live in Europe and be near to Italy, so I have the choice here between high end "noname" Italian shoes and "brandname" Italian shoes, and honestly... even if I have to recognise that "brandname" shoes keep a high quality standard... you can allways get a "noname" high quality shoes that are better but for much less money... so I don't bother with the brands... I simply don't care about brands... I almost never wear something branded... but you can tell that I am allways the best dressed of the pack

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnoldh
Thanks again, and I hope you bought those Valentino's at a deep discount!

You're very welcome, and yes, luckily I got them at deep discount. After seeing the shoddiness of the glue, probably not as DEEP as I would have liked, but they still were a pretty good deal.

As you mentioned, style is the main point. For staple items, like brown, black, or oxblood oxfords or brogues, I'd never own a designer shoe. I have a few pairs of AE, Alden, C&J etc. and there is absolutely no comparison for quality with any of the pics/brands mentioned. BUT, there are times when you want something odd, interesting, or out of the ordinary that you won't wear often but that is still fun. This is when a designer shoe can be worth it, as they'll take more chances on seasonal offerings. Even better when you can get it on sale. I'd never wear patent leather ankle boots to the office, but for an evening out or going to a concert or something, they can look great (as long as nobody gets close enough to see where they're coming unglued... )

John
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