It seems to me that what constitutes a good shoe is how much handwork as a percent of manufacture is employed...but that raises several difficulties:
1. What steps are important?
2. How do you know which steps are handmade?
3. Are there other aspects to quality like sole leather quality, upper leather quality, vendor financial stability, customer service, etc.?
Perhaps the best thing to do is frequent those makes that have a good reputation among the members here and other places and learn as much as possible and focus on brands where there is a consensus on a select group having better style, construction, witnessed durability, etc.