VAT is 20%. 258.33 pounds would be the price minus VAT (258.33 * 1.2 = 310). If I get this right I should be ready to do my taxes!
Laces on the L foot were loosening which lead to the gaps. The 348 actually fits me well (after they are broken in).
Interestingly AE started selling brightly colored laces so I switched some around with my brown shoes (hence the dark brown shoes with the black). It's a nice twist to the springtime.