Gotcha. Based on your original post ("several makers...") I assumed you had some in mind - I'd love to hear of some more than the three I can think of.
my experience with vass - even though it's only a single pair to date - causes me to take the counter position
I find vass fit to be only a cat hair below my St Crispin shoes or boots. for me, that's a major statement as St C
is my holy grail fit
while the coloring is a little 'flat', it lends itself to some personal attention with wax & polish
that I'm just not opposed to
the leather quality at least equals anything I've seen from G&G whether they are off the shelf or mto and is
exceeded only by an EG boot I have
I don't intend to come across as 'bashing' G&G either. I have a few, another on the way and will add an
English grain at some point in the future. They are all to be enjoyed
^^ Agreed. Styles and models are a matter of taste, and Vass's leather is lovely - they just don't go for the highly polished finish that most RTW makers do. Even the comparison about the fiddled waist I find a little redundant, it's just a matter of preference again. What I like about my Vass is that they somehow feel handmade without being at all imprecise. I find the last shapes are also appealingly natural-looking. But that's my taste.
I also think G&G are beautiful. Having been in their new store only last week, they are everything I would have expected, and the shoes I tried on felt wonderful. In principle, I'd buy G&G for the purely subjective reason that I find a lot of their shoes extremely pretty. That, to me, is a good reason. But I wouldn't buy them because they're "better" than Vass or Kielman or someone else. Empirically, in some ways, they're not. Neither are John Lobb or Edward Green. But they all make beautiful shoes that I'd like to wear.
In the end, I didn't buy the G&G, because I ordered two pairs of Vass instead. In a straight fight, I wanted to spend my money that way. I will probably keep my eyes open for G&G deals and end up with some eventually - if my PayPal account had been working I would have been all over Spoo's mega-sale. As it stands, though, the value proposition doesn't quite weigh up for me at full price. But as what we love and what we'll pay for it is subjective, it's not unreasonable that it should for others.
As someone with two business degrees, I can't really agree with that (and I usually tend to agree with you). A major portion of both degrees was dedicated to the study of people, their needs and strong people processes within a firm.
You may see a lot of this, but it is not a human attitude rather than a business one. Particularly in the US many circles of business people are unhappy with lack of skill retention domestically. It has made us very uncompetitive. Much of this was driven by consumer demand.
Unions and pensions are another story, with very good rational for moving past both. I do not want to side track this into a debate on global economics, however :).
Still for the untrained eye they must make decisions without in depth knowledge. The spread of GYW may not be a bad thing for hand welting either. Having first learned that there was a discernable difference in shoe construction is what got me interested and to do my research. Four years later I own multiple pair of hand welted shoes.
Since we're having a moment of self-reflection...
I have no desire to try and make excuses for it, equally I have no intention of telling anyone what these shoes cost. Stated plainly, I've got a ridiculous and frankly, irrational interest in particularly high priced shoes. It could have come about due to marketing or it could be boredom; however, I earn money to spend it and I think they look great and enjoy wearing them--high quality priced shoes.
The only problem is (occasionally) the higher value items seem to feed an "unsatisfaction-cycle" where nothing ever really meets your expectations so the only way to overcome the disappointment is to buy the more expensive one next time, in the hopes that one will satisfy you and be perfect. (Mild exaggeration.)
Yes very true, and I agree with everything else you have said. You were, in fact, the person who first explained hand welting to me. Would I ever notice the difference otherwise? Probably not for years until my shoes were in need of repair, if even then.
I agree to the perspective of the working man. The problem is that the world changed (especially when you added over two billion to the global labor force). Things had to change. Looking at Germany what America needed to keep manufacturing was flexible skills (ex. milling). It is a shame, but when you add that many people you also must accept that everyone now gets a smaller piece of the pie. New business graduates are far worse off than their peers were many years ago. Even those in the middle tier of business have fared no better, although significant stock and home portfolio gains have helped them maintain their standards of living. Now if the working man actually understands this is somewhat inconsequential to the forces at work.
Anyway in regards to shoes, at this level I really consider them a luxury. In part I am paying to support the craft, not just for the product. Given the financial resources at some point I am sure I will end up with a G&G MTO and hopefully a pair of yours.
Not taking into account "the working man", pensions, labor conflicts, globalization, market economics, ignorant consumers etc etc, are you all saying that in general, shoes like Vass are of better quality than the likes of ie G&G/EG/JL, just because of the welt construction? Is the conclusion that in every other objective aspect, Vass and the others are, at least, at the same level?? If so, then this is certainly news to me...