Originally Posted by ThinkDerm
5. the "sock" liner method of establishing quality-level within their shoe scheme is worthless at best (just as is the type of stitching / welting as mentioned above)
6. Santoni's are a total crapshoot quality-wise and fit wise and are best tried on in person and evaluated that way.
The norvegese and bentivegna stitched Santoni's are their examples of the best the company offers. I challenge anyone to find a Santoni borvegese or bentivegna stitched shoe with anything but the finest leathers and workmanship the company has to offer (or ANY maker for that matter). I've handled somewhere around 30 pairs of these, and each pair was excellent.
That said, the rest of the offerings are "hit or miss" at best. Santoni's 1st problem is poor marketing. The sock method was confusing and did VERY little to indicate quality. This was probably Santoni's attempt to "cash in" on the popularity of their original FAM models (which were, in fact, well constructed and high quality). "Call it a FAM, and someone will buy it" worked for a while, and may well still work for those less informed about what constitutes "quality" in high-end shoes. For the better informed, "the gig is up".
Santoni's 2nd problem (at least from a marketing standpoint) was their love of norvegese & bentivegna construction. While the general public has moved away from those styles toward "sleeker" construction methods, Santoni held fast (and still does to some extent) to its core beliefs. As Santoni makes BEAUTIFUL and VERY high quality bentivegna & norvegese, the public wants something different. They use their best on these, while the rest is "a crapshoot". They probably SHOULD offer a consistent line of non-norv/ bent shoes which consistently showcases their best work & materials.
THAT said, some makers, like Lattanzi & Bettanin & venturi stick to their roots (for the most part) and make a nice living focusing on shoes they like to make rather than exactly what the general public wants. They will never make the mass market $$$ of some other better marketed makers, but they seem happy enough with their niche. Santoni tries to stay in the middle of these 2 philosophies.
I must note, I F*CKING LOVE Norvegese & Bentivegna shoes. The general public's rejection of these methods has only served to make it easier to attain some incredible shoes at the fraction of the price of some Aldens (which are so much inferior, in terms of construction & leather quality it's funny). If you want some mass-produced shell Aldens, get ready to pay (as in a typical SF Alden FS ad), "only $650 including shipping conus, only worn around 5-6 times, and I paid near $700". These shoes are NIB, retailed for $1200+, and the seller's asking round $600.
WHAT A DEAL!!! SOMEONE NEEDS TO BUY THESE, ON PRINCIPLE ALONE!!!