I am starting to think a lot of this superior quality talk is just hype. How you gonna pay 4 bills for a pair of boots that look like that and feel ok about it? that's some bullshit right there, IMO.
I'm just about ready to pull the trigger and get a pair, but I'm thinking I might be happier with redwings in the hand that I can examine, rather than paying 100 dollars more for boots that have something like those heels, and that's AFTER waiting 4 weeks?
I think it boils down to what you are paying for. Part of it is the custom thing. Pick your leather, hardware, heel, heel height, sole, even the last. Also, the fit as I said was perfect. Best fitting footwear I've ever owned, hands down, thanks to the great customer service guys at Baker's helping me get it just right. They even added some leather in the tongue to account for my wide instep and make the boots easier to get on.
Cathpah had it right. The heel shelf is a cosmetic issue, not functionality. The point of something mass produced, like Redwing, is consistency. Make the same boot, over and over and over. It's like the difference between a Big Mac and a burger at your local pub. The Big Mac will always, look the same, taste the same. On a busy night at the pub, or if the new guy is working the grill, your burger might be on the well side, or maybe they forgot the pickle. But I'd still pay more for it than a Big Mac. And be more satisfied with my purchase.
I showed the repair guy the boots, he saw my complaint, and, another difference between these boots and most mass produced ones- he said he could fix it, no problem. Redwings might last you 5 or 10 years with proper care, depending on how you use them. White's should last 25. The repair guy wasn't talking about the looks, he was talking from a repair guy soul- how solid and heavy they were, and how they were such beautiful leather, great construction, etc.
Not to say I wasn't disappointed that I couldn't just put them on and wear them. Quality control could definitely be better. I wish I lived in Oregon, so I could just take them over to the shop and have them fixed up.
If durability isn't really an issue, and cost/looks and the ability to have them instantly are weighing heavier in your decision, go with RW. They're nice boots.