Originally Posted by linafelt
A good point. And I don't mind paying for all the hands on labor that goes into US- and Canada-made boots like Wesco, White's, and Viberg, and I think to a certain extent Alden. (And I know Alden workers are unionized, which being the son of steelworker I am all in favor of.) But like you say, I'd rather have the full price up front, rather than paying for "eyelets" or "stitching"...
The ala carte thing does blow, but it's obviously the way their site is set up. I actually did a bare bones stock lace to toe set up using the default selections and it was priced at the listed price (no stitch color option, or cap toe or other than brass eyelet). So it can be done as listed.
I think the big issue you hit upon is the assignment of cost versus value as a whole on these products. Most people I know think I'm nuts for spending more than $100 on a pair of shoes, more than $40 for a dress shirt, $25 for a tie, etc. But these are the first people to clamor when their work is undervalued and always feel underpaid. Why would I expect a hand crafted product, by someone earning a livable wage, to cost what a sweat shop mass production product does. And why would I expect to be paid highly for my craft and not pay someone else for their craft. Considering what I get paid hourly for my specialty, $500 for a pair of custom oxfords that will last me the next 10-20 years (with care, rotation and resoling) is a down right bargain.