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Carmina Shoes - Definitive Thread (reviews, advice, sizing, etc...) - Page 1122

post #16816 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butterfeet View Post

Just to back up a little on the issue of whether shoe trees are included in all pairs - is this the practice for US buyers only? I'm from Asia and the site uses euro as the currency denomination. I have to click a little box that says "shoe tree" and the price goes up by about €50. If I do not click this box, will my shoes ship with shoe trees?

Here they charge 60€ for the trees that are not included, of course..

post #16817 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by neelp3 View Post
 

 

 

I agree that I should be given the option to return or see if they can make me another pair.  I'm still waiting to hear back from Betty, which is part of my frustration...

 

 


I think part of the problem that you're experiencing is that Carmina still tries to run itself as a small family business and has yet to catch up with their somewhat recent international status. If the only one they still have handling Customer service is  Betty, then  I'm guessing that they haven't really caught up with the times...

 

A year or so ago I ordered 6 pairs (2 orders). 2 pairs had quality issues. 1 had a missed stich in the toe-cap, the other came with a series of grooves on the toe.

 

Returning the ones with the missed stich was a comlete nightmare...it took forever to deal with the situation..Send pictures.....Send different pictures.. Ok.. a week later...go ahead and send them back. Then...they leave the shoes sitting at the post office for over a week due to some  VAT issue.  Of course none of this has been communicated to me from Carmina so now I'm chasing down the Swiss post office who is chasing down the Sapnish post office , who is chasing down Carmina. Of course upon hearing of all this I too chase down Carmina...They finally pick them up but hey it's too late.. They''re now  going on vacation and can't process the return(and replacement order) for over 2 weeks...Now they're back from vacation but a week later the return is still not processed...Ok finally...hallelujah, the return is finally processed... Can you ship the boots that I requested as the replacement? What? You no longer have the item I requested as a replacement? The item that I have mentioned at least 5 times in multiple emails over 6 or so weeks? You didn't reserve a pair for me upon my intial contact? or upon confirmation of shipping? or upon actually picking the return up from the post office? or before you went on vacation? or after you came back from vacation?

 

The second pair...When I sent photos of the grooves asking what they might be.....The response was..."they didn't leave here like that"....I wasn't quite sure what to make of that so I just dropped the issue and locked myself in my study with a deer bone,  a brush and a bottle of old scotch....

 

I did a GMTO boot as well with some guys from a different site...Lovely boot...Happy to have it...but now that I'm thinking of it...Carmina was several months behind in getting the order out...In fact they were so far behind that the guy (store?) organizing the GMTO actually gave a 10-15% discount to everyone in the GMTO.

 

This was just my experience of course...but honestly...Carmina would have to be selling shell at $100 a pop for me to ever order directly from them again versus going the GMTO route.  No doubt that Carmina can do a lovely job with cordovan, and their calf offerings are ok to pretty nice, but I myself found Quality Control to be spotty (2 out of 6 pair) and in my opinion Customer Service was a complete fail.


Edited by justonemore - 2/17/16 at 3:00am
post #16818 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by MBoxer View Post

Carina has not just magically dropped their prices by $60, I'm afraid. Select "shoe tree" when adding a model to cart--you will see the price go back up to where it was yesterday. 

In other words, there is no real change. They simply allow you to not take a shoe tree and thereby get a cheaper price.

Just got a reply from their director of marketing. Their US prices currently fluctuate based on the exchange rate, however in a few weeks they will be fixed to 450 USD for shoes and 500 for Inca last. Shoe trees, customs and shipping are included in the price.

Please refrain from spreading unverified claims.

Edit: This applies to the US website.
post #16819 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbhan12 View Post

Just got a reply from their director of marketing. Their US prices currently fluctuate based on the exchange rate, however in a few weeks they will be fixed to 450 USD for shoes and 500 for Inca last. Shoe trees, customs and shipping are included in the price.

Please refrain from spreading unverified claims.

Edit: This applies to the US website.

When you factor in the price of trees, they're essentially the same price as Allen Edmonds now. Provided you can fit Carmina's lasts, it's such a no-brainer.
post #16820 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post

When you factor in the price of trees, they're essentially the same price as Allen Edmonds now. Provided you can fit Carmina's lasts, it's such a no-brainer.

This is an unfair justification considering most buy AE well below retail ($250-$300) and Carminas don't really go on sale.
post #16821 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post


When you factor in the price of trees, they're essentially the same price as Allen Edmonds now. Provided you can fit Carmina's lasts, it's such a no-brainer.

Carmina is 15% more than AE to start. Factoring in shoebank, the landslide of sales AE has, and the fact that Carmina can be very difficult to work with if you need to return, its less of a no-brainer. I got a pair of Carmina last year for $325 including shipping and customs and I am pretty happy with them. They are suede and had some polish stains and glue on them that was left to me to resolve as Camrina wasnt particularly interested in helping. 

 

For $325, they are a no-brainer. For $450, $500 if you want shoe trees as the site currently states, with no value add to the $325 I paid last year, no thanks. I'll add the extra money to move up in quality to Vass. Or CJ. Or Alfred Sargent. While I am happy they are doing well, for me, Carmina is outkicking their coverage at this price point.

post #16822 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post

Well, you've been into cordovan for 7 years longer than I have, so maybe you remember a time when lighter colors were more plentiful. Mr. Horween is on record (I did get to meet him once and he repeated this to me) stating that a global decline in horse meat consumption (including a scandal from UK producer in 2013) has affected the amount and quality of his supply of butts.

Yes, alden will still do runs of whiskey and ravello, but not nearly as often as 4 or 5 years ago. And both of these colors are getting darker in recent runs. Modern whiskey looks like older ravello, and modern ravello is looking like older cigar. Also, they are less enthusiastic about doing PTBs in Whiskey again due to lack of consistency in hides. In fact, Most recent runs of color 8 from alden (including a 975 I just got) look black under most lighting conditions. Here's a picture:



Same thing with AE. AE CEO Paul Grangaard keeps repeatedly stating that they are committing to the 3 dark colors (black burgundy and dark brown) only going forward. Edicts from Vass against using whiskey and GG against shell in general are recent developments. Both of these brand specific threads will have info from the past year.

Carmina is doing runs in more obscure colors, but in far fewer numbers than larger companies like CJ, AE, and Alden.

Anyway, There are many here who are way more info shell than I am (including you, no doubt), but I've got pairs in black (incoming), navy, burgundy, cigar, cognac, and natural (hopefully the ravello list fr 2013 I'm on will get made this year) across several different makers, and each pair has some kind of minor imperfection.

I'm not saying that you should be completely satisfied with saurabh's pairs, but I definitely would be.

Thanks Peppercorn...

I was actually disputing the rarity of shell in general (not just the lighter colors that you keep mentioning)...As well as there being "many" manufacturers that are deciding not to use shell in general (not just lighter colors)...other than a few examples mentioning companies stopping sales of lighter color shell, only G&G has stopped offering shell to the public (I have a feeling that a couple emails & an open wallet would still net you G&G shells). That AE had problems with quality control while pushing too much product is nothing new, it's almost their business strategy. Push what you can out the door & if a complaint hits happily accept the return & sell them on the 2nds market. That they might have cut corners on lighter shell in order to move it is no shocker.

A while back Alden actually marketed the lighter colors by mentioning that they needed the best hides. They release them in limited numbers because say they use only the top ten out of 100...If Carmina & AE want to push the number to 30 it's not too hard to imagine 15-18 complaints coming in, is it?

As to general rarity of shell? One look at Shoemart & their offering of about 50 different styles seems to tell me otherwise. Are the lighter colors available right now? No. But they have come & gone for years...

The slaughter thing is rather interesting. Especially coming from Nick Horween. But even so, (discounting light colors) they seem to be satisfying the market... no one is on here offering $1'000 for used shells versus there being a regular active market...at least from what I've observed.

Are you claiming that the darker coloring is used to cover up poorer quality hides? I have a photo of a pair of Alden shell tassels I got about 6 years ago. I'll have to find the photo but I'd swear they were just as dark BNIB as the ones you pictured. It's hard to picture Alden getting much darker than they seem to have been in the past...Again...I'll have to look through some photos and see if perhaps my memory is just fading...
Edited by justonemore - 2/17/16 at 7:03am
post #16823 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkside View Post

This is an unfair justification considering most buy AE well below retail ($250-$300) and Carminas don't really go on sale.

This is true (in fact I just bought a pair of shell Dundee 2nds for 399), but don't you think that speaks to the brand value?

Maybe a comparison to Alden is more appropriate. Carmina calf is priced $100 or so less than Alden calf, and offers at least equal if not better quality.

But again, fit is key. I can only personally got into the wider fit of the widest Carmina last, whereas AE and Alden will essentially make any shoe in my size/width. Although it's a little trickier finding an Alden retailer to do it for you...
post #16824 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamie411 View Post

You guys are too funny.  The shoe in question is, in fact, a photoshopped oxford version of the derby AE Larchmont (http://cdn.styleforum.net/0/01/350x239px-LL-01a47e1c_AE-Larchmont-3_4view.jpeg) - courtesy of @JubeiSpiegel
.  If you had just scrolled a little further through the thread you would've seen that, and this:






Ha, Ha; how on earth should one know? If you read my comments to the two gentlemen replied, you would see my point (proved erroneous) that this was NOT the same model! It's a pity because in its photoshopped version the shoe is a true beauty, better that the original derby!

Not to repeat myself, but IMHO a six-eyelet oxford is a very handsome shoe, might that be straight cap-toe, adelaide, or long / short-wing brogue, that is why I am so excited about the Buger last.

BTW, since the Buger Adelaide MTO has finished, can SF members who participated post pictures and comments when they will receive them?

Thank you in advance

Dimitris
post #16825 of 19743

@peppercorn78 

 

How's the fit of those Alden's pictured?

post #16826 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post


This is true (in fact I just bought a pair of shell Dundee 2nds for 399), but don't you think that speaks to the brand value?

Maybe a comparison to Alden is more appropriate. Carmina calf is priced $100 or so less than Alden calf, and offers at least equal if not better quality.

But again, fit is key. I can only personally got into the wider fit of the widest Carmina last, whereas AE and Alden will essentially make any shoe in my size/width. Although it's a little trickier finding an Alden retailer to do it for you...

Sorry to harp on about this, but Carmina's pricing is immaterial, as they raised prices significantly with no added value. I understand the reasons they did so and I am not saying its not a fine product. My point is that the value proposition of Carmina has dropped dramatically.

post #16827 of 19743

My opinion is that both Alden and Carmina are overpriced...

post #16828 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by rbhan12 View Post

Just got a reply from their director of marketing. Their US prices currently fluctuate based on the exchange rate, however in a few weeks they will be fixed to 450 USD for shoes and 500 for Inca last. Shoe trees, customs and shipping are included in the price.

Please refrain from spreading unverified claims.

Edit: This applies to the US website.

Good to hear. The site is unclear, as when you add some shoes to cart without 'shoe tree' selected, the cart gives no indication that shoe trees are included, whereas when you selected previously they would be added and indicated with no additional charge. In any case, thanks for verifying.

Please refrain from being a douche in your replies. This is an Internet forum, not stone tablets brought down from the mountain top.
post #16829 of 19743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Watchman1 View Post
 

My opinion is that both Alden and Carmina are overpriced...

 

When the master speaks the students should listen....:cheers:

post #16830 of 19743

I think Carmina makes lovely shoes. If they didn't use the Rain last as much, I'd buy more from them. I think it's a very odd last, and I don't enjoy the brutal heel slip while feeling tightness in the toe box. I have tried a few other lasts they offer, and have trouble with nearly all of them except Simpson, which they use very rarely. On the flip side, I fit well into almost every Alden last.

 

That aside, especially for shell, it's hard to swallow the recent price increases. Roughly a year ago, when I bought a pair of Cognac cordovan wingtips, they were just about $500 after FedEx fees. Several months later, I bought a pair of Ruby shell semi-brogues which ended up around $625 after FedEx fees. Now, those same shoes are $747 (shoe trees included now, but still an increase).

 

In terms of shell, I still think Alden is the best at it, and offers the best pricing on it. Getting rare shell makeups from them is basically impossible now, and Carmina has a much wider variety of colors, but that comes at a cost. Alden shell shoes range from $682 to $718, and their boots run $706-762. Carmina shell shoes are $747 and shell boots are $947. While I can see a comparison between Carmina shell shoes and Alden shell shoes, I can't quite justify the $200 price premium on shell boots, especially since both makers tend to have roughly the same level of QC issues (although I've found it much easier to return and deal with Alden retailers in most circumstances than with Carmina).

 

I do agree that Alden calf is not a great value proposition. I have a few pairs of Alden calf/grain leather shoes and I adore them - their calf is supple, soft, and smooth, and while it's not burnished/finished in the way that most others, like AE, Carmina, EG, G&G, etc. do, I think they're still a pretty good step above AE in terms of quality. Definitely more supple than Carmina's calf, as well. Overall, though, I think Carmina offers a better value for calf, assuming their lasts fit you.

 

I love Carmina, and think they're a fantastic operation, and I am really glad to see they're succeeding, but I do agree that their recent price increases, without a corresponding increase/emphasis on QC or higher-quality materials, makes their value proposition less exciting than it used to be.

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