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shoe construction...behind the veil - Page 63

post #931 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Chogall,

I've read what you've posted, here and elsewhere...I just fundamentally disagree with you and more importantly the basic principles and philosophies you espouse.

I repeat...If you truly understood and had experience with the Traditional materials and techniques, you wouldn't even consider plastics, celastics or any other modern or cheap expedient without a great deal of thought. All of it with an eye to objective quality...not just the magpie eye of novelty and easy.
post #932 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Chogall,

I've read what you've posted, here and elsewhere...I just fundamentally disagree with you and more importantly the basic principles and philosophies you espouse.

I repeat...If you truly understood and had experience with the Traditional materials and techniques, you wouldn't even consider plastics, celastics or any other modern or cheap expedient without a great deal of thought. All of it with an eye to objective quality...not just the magpie eye of novelty and easy.

 

I understand that you are a shoemaking fundamentalist and defender of the handwelted shoemaking faith.

 

And even then, it does not make much sense to lump all types of man made toe stiffeners into one group and equate them to household plastic.

post #933 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

I understand that you are a shoemaking fundamentalist and defender of the handwelted shoemaking faith.

And even then, it does not make much sense to lump all types of man made toe stiffeners into one group and equate them to household plastic.

Yes, and no. I'm a realist. I have seen and handled and used and evaluated a whole range of materials and techniques in my time. None of this stuff is new to me. I don't discard or discount something because it new but I don't discard it because it's old either. And objectively speaking, most...repeat most...of the Traditional techniques and materials are not only superior to any modern pseudo-equivalent, they are vastly superior.

I pioneered and promoted the use of dacron in lieu of linen thread. Linen has lots to recommend it when it is harvested and spun properly. I wish I could find really good quality, truly long staple linen. It simply isn't out there anymore, probably hasn't been since the '30's.

I pioneered...maybe invented...a technique to split and use nylon monofilament instead of boars bristles. I use acrylic (?) water-solved cements (very modern, very high tech) rather than neoprene cements with petro-chemically based solvents.

In every case, I think those compensatory techniques...and, without question most are Traditional in spirit at least...are objectively better. Not because they are Traditional, not because I am a "fundamentalist" (not so) but because they are objectively, demonstrably, better. But they are damn few and don't include synthetic stiffeners.

There is simply no logical reason or rationale to go that way...esp. if quality is the goal. Period.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 11/7/15 at 5:17am
post #934 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Yes, and no. I'm a realist. I have seen and handled and used and evaluated a whole range of materials and techniques in my time. None of this stuff is new to me. I don't discard or discount something because it new but I don't discard it because it's old either. And objectively speaking, most...repeat most...of the Traditional techniques and materials are not only superior to any modern pseudo-equivalent, they are vastly superior. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


I pioneered and promoted the use of dacron in lieu of linen thread. Linen has lots to recommend it when it is harvested and spun properly. I wish I could find really good quality, truly long staple linen. it simply isn't out there anymore, probably hasn't been since the '30's.

i pioneered...maybe invented...a technique to split and use nylon monofilament instead of boars bristles. I use acrylic (?) water-solved cements (very modern, very high tech) rather than neoprene cements with petro-chemically based solvents.

In every case, I think my solutions...and, without question most of those are Traditional...are objectively better. Not because they are Traditional, not because I am a "fundamentalist (not so) but because they are objectively, demonstrably, better. But they are damn few and don't include synthetic stiffeners.
There is simply no logical reason or rationale to go that way...esp. if quality is the goal. Period.

 

As with everything engineering, its all about compromise between time, design/quality, and cost.  Quality is rarely the only goal.

 

The definition of "vastly superior" is where we differ; you seek the best construction methods and source materials to create the most superior traditionally hand sewn welted shoes and boots with ample amount of time.  That is also what I look for when I order bespoke or handmade products.  Hence, superior time and quality, but prohibitive costs.

 

However, when talking about mass manufactured shoes, the term "superior" is not as straight forward, where each different manufacturers are optimizing their output along many different metrics, such as throughput, utilization, price points, inventories, SKUs, source material quality, construction quality, detailing, inventories, etc.  Higher price point manufacturers opt for more quality and longer delivery dates while lower price point guys opt for cost saving.

 

And yet, you've always opted for the same quality metrics thats only suitable for bespoke or handmade shoemakers on these mass manufacturers.  Not the wisest choice IMO.

post #935 of 1515
Alright, thank you for the answers, all. Ultimately it's a very relative thing how much sweatier plastic-backed shoes feel, but I can't shake off the feeling that it's just shenanigans to use them.
post #936 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

As with everything engineering, its all about compromise between time, design/quality, and cost.  Quality is rarely the only goal.

The definition of "vastly superior" is where we differ; you seek the best construction methods and source materials to create the most superior traditionally hand sewn welted shoes and boots with ample amount of time.  That is also what I look for when I order bespoke or handmade products.  Hence, superior time and quality, but prohibitive costs.

However, when talking about mass manufactured shoes, the term "superior" is not as straight forward, where each different manufacturers are optimizing their output along many different metrics, such as throughput, utilization, price points, inventories, SKUs, source material quality, construction quality, detailing, inventories, etc.  Higher price point manufacturers opt for more quality and longer delivery dates while lower price point guys opt for cost saving.

And yet, you've always opted for the same quality metrics thats only suitable for bespoke or handmade shoemakers on these mass manufacturers.  Not the wisest choice IMO.

You'd be a good spokesman for Walmart. You've wholly bought into the "it's all good", "relative worth," "an "F" is as good as an "A", mentality. You've embraced the "factory mentality" like a it was a succubus you cannot turn away from, clinging to the reassurance of "more, more, more."

There's no wisdom there, nor open-mindedness...it's nothing less than a symptom of social and cultural malaise. A malaise that has forgotten or dismissed the whole concept of "enough."

"Every form of refuge has its price." All the things you cite--the metrics--have their price. None of which are paid for by the manufacturer. But someone will pay them, sometime. You, and those who share your perspectives, just won't be around to take responsibility...or share in the burden when those bills come due.

I suspect that, alone, is why they seem so attractive.

Every one of those metrics you thoughtlessly and glibly bandy about, has long since already been addressed...indeed driven...by Traditional and bespoke makers. Or are fool's gold. For everything you think has been gained, something far more precious and irreplaceable has been lost.

Bottom line...and what you stridently refuse to look at much less accept...is that your basic premise of "compromise" is, in and of itself, a surrender to mediocrity.

Quality brooks no compromise...that's why it is quality.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/6/15 at 8:19am
post #937 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


You'd be a good spokesman for Walmart. You've wholly bought into the "it's all good", "relative worth," "an "F" is as good as an "A", mentality. You've embraced the "factory mentality" like a it was a succubus you cannot turn away from, clinging to the reassurance of "more, more, more."

There's no wisdom there, nor open-mindedness...it's nothing less than a symptom of social and cultural malaise. A malaise that has forgotten or dismissed the whole concept of "enough."

"Every form of refuge has its price." All the things you cite--the metrics--have their price. None of which are paid for by the manufacture. But someone will pay them, sometime. You, and those who share your perspectives, just won't be around to take responsibility...or share in the burden when those bills come due.

I suspect that, alone, is why they seem so attractive.

Every one of those metrics you thoughtlessly and glibly bandy about, has long since already been addressed...indeed driven...by Traditional and bespoke makers. Or are fool's gold. For everything you think has been gained, something far more precious and irreplaceable has been lost.

--

 

There's no need to blame mass manufacturers' customers for not being able to afford your product.

 

Potential bespoke customers nowadays are willing to pay more or wait longer for high quality work.  And I argue that quality of bespoke shoemaking has been improving quite a lot over the past decade, with ever so more demanding customers researching/seeing pictures of different makers across the globe.  I would say current bespoke works nowadays are far superior than bespoke shoes from 60s - 90s.

 

Unfortunately, those far more precious and irreplaceable has already been lost during the boomer era and still are being recovered/replicated by makers of today.

post #938 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

There's no need to blame mass manufacturers' customers for not being able to afford your product.

First, I am not John Lobb. My prices are not much more than high end RTW. So, that's a bogus issue.

But it's really even more bogus because the issue is not that consumers can or can't afford bespoke...esp. consumers on SF...it's that they can't afford ten or twenty pair. Because one pair or even two pair isn't enough.

People have no concept...or respect for the concept...of "enough." Many people would rather have 10 pair of counterfeit, pretend quality shoes that superficially look like they might be bespoke, than one or two pair that really are.
Quote:
And I argue that quality of bespoke shoemaking has been improving quite a lot over the past decade, with ever so more demanding customers researching/seeing pictures of different makers across the globe.  I would say current bespoke works nowadays are far superior than bespoke shoes from 60s - 90s.

Is that based on the "past decade" that you've just become...mildly, superficially...interested?

Maybe you're correct. But if so, it is re-inventing the wheel in an environment where people have forgotten what a wheel is supposed to do much less how to make one correctly.

It's like literacy and knowing how to write as a means of communication and as an avenue to learning. People have forgotten and don't even see the need anymore--that's modernity for you.

Or perhaps it's like the resurgence of armory--forging swords and armor. Yes, some young people are interested. But the skills are long forgotten. And some will never be "rediscovered." No one knows how do some metal working techniques that date back to the pharaohs....like gold granulation. So they tell themselves it's not really important.

Shoes today are nowhere near the quality that they were in the late 19th century. The skills that took centuries and centuries to evolve and be refined, and the men who had mastered them, much less the generational "passing of the torch"--that's what has been lost irretrievably. People are learning off of YouTube from others just as clueless and wet behind the ears as as the rawest apprentice, and call themselves masters.

Just like we call high end RTW "quality." Or increasingly accept any number of compromises and expedients...such as celastic stiffeners...as quality.. It bears repeating: real quality brooks no compromise. That''s why it's called quality.
Quote:
Unfortunately, those far more precious and irreplaceable has already been lost during the boomer era and still are being recovered/replicated by makers of today.

Only from the perspective of those who have no idea what was...or, really, even what is.

How does a master shoemaker pass on his hard-won and dearly bought experience...acquired over a lifetime...to a new generation when they are almost universally like you--unwilling to listen. If only because they've never seen or been exposed to real quality and aren't really eager to commit to the time and energy it might take to learn. Aren't really and truly open to learning. When they come to the "master" having decided that they already know everything there is to know?

And there are several generations of people just like you...before and after.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/6/15 at 11:07am
post #939 of 1515
The part about the out of control consumption is really worth emphasizing. There are plenty of people on SF with shoe collections worth as much as $30,000, and countless more that have well over $10,000.

It's the insatiable desire to consume more pairs, than it is a desire for the best quality.

Many here could have a realistic, versatile shoe cabinet of the finest shoes in the world, if they could tame their appetite for quantity, and have money to spare.
post #940 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

The part about the out of control consumption is really worth emphasizing. There are plenty of people on SF with shoe collections worth as much as $30,000, and countless more that have well over $10,000.

It's the insatiable desire to consume more pairs, than it is a desire for the best quality.

Many here could have a realistic, versatile shoe cabinet of the finest shoes in the world, if they could tame their appetite for quantity, and have money to spare.

If you want a versatile and realistic shoe cabinet of the finest shoes in the world, prepare to spend way more than $30k...

Sometimes I happily fell prey to discounted RTW shoes. And most often than not I struggle to order new shoes because I already have 20 pairs.

Sometimes I dislike buying new shoes because it prevents me from wearing the old.
post #941 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

If you want a versatile and realistic shoe cabinet of the finest shoes in the world, prepare to spend way more than $30k...

Sometimes I happily fell prey to discounted RTW shoes. And most often than not I struggle to order new shoes because I already have 20 pairs.

Sometimes I dislike buying new shoes because it prevents me from wearing the old.

I fully agree with that last sentence.

But, I can't agree with the first one, unless we have vastly different views of what "versatile" means.

In theory, a well dressed business man can get away with half a dozen dress shoes and have all his bases covered if he chooses them wisely.
post #942 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

The part about the out of control consumption is really worth emphasizing. There are plenty of people on SF with shoe collections worth as much as $30,000, and countless more that have well over $10,000.

It's the insatiable desire to consume more pairs, than it is a desire for the best quality.

Many here could have a realistic, versatile shoe cabinet of the finest shoes in the world, if they could tame their appetite for quantity, and have money to spare.

I'd say those estimates are very low. my collection is probably worth a few thousand dollars and I feel like almost everyone in the Alden thread have collections much bigger.
post #943 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

I fully agree with that last sentence.

But, I can't agree with the first one, unless we have vastly different views of what "versatile" means.

In theory, a well dressed business man can get away with half a dozen dress shoes and have all his bases covered if he chooses them wisely.

Half a dozen bespoke will cost $45k+ from Paris, $36k+ from West End firms, $30k+ from Tokyo.

As you've suggested, these are the finest shoe prices from the top makers. You could definitely find lower cost guys, but quality, including aesthetics and services, will fall short somewhere.

Of course, 6 pairs of Vass will cost less than a pair of bespoke from UK, and will last a life time.
post #944 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Half a dozen bespoke will cost $45k+ from Paris, $36k+ from West End firms, $30k+ from Tokyo.

As you've suggested, these are the finest shoe prices from the top makers. You could definitely find lower cost guys, but quality, including aesthetics and services, will fall short somewhere.

Of course, 6 pairs of Vass will cost less than a pair of bespoke from UK, and will last a life time.

Those numbers sound quite a bit higher than what I've read elsewhere. Usually the worst I've seen is about $6000 for your first pair, and then a couple thousand less for subsequent ones after the last is made.

Also, price and quality aren't proportional in many cases. I'm sure Paris is pricier for other reasons besides the shoe quality.
post #945 of 1515
Then there is also the best made non-bespoke to consider in the equation...

You named Vass, which is a great maker, but there are certainly nicer ones, and you'd still come out far cheaper than having 80 pairs of Alden's collecting dust.
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