I'm surprised there hasn't been any love for Martegani. I suspect it's because they have an identity problem in that they aren't really a centralized brand, it's just an Italian factory which gives retailers a lot of flexibility to detail orders. As a result of this, there have been a number of horrific shoes put out over the years (I shudder at the thought of all the ostrich leg multi-skin shoes that have been detailed), but if you look at the more conservative and persistent models detailed by Rider and Franco's over the years, there are a lot of great shoes.
At the retail price, they are a very very good value as well - the blake-rapid construction relies on leather instead of cork (which let's be honest, when manufacturers use cork it's typically lots of glue with some cork particles), very tightly grained close-channeled soles, and fantastic upper leather which is rarely found below the EG and JL level. I have a number of Marteganis with radica calf (identical to JL's museum calf, sadly no longer used much anywhere), "iron" calf which is crust leather hand-finished in Italy, and rustik calf which is another of their premium leathers. All of them compare favorably to leather I've seen in shoes costing more (sometimes much more). If Radica is good enough for JL, it should be good enough for shoppers at the Martegani price point. I don't know where you will find that quality of materials in any other shoe that is price-competitive with Martegani. Further, in the shoes I've handled, the finishing has been very good. Certainly not perfect (errors in perfing is typical), but the soles are well finished and the stitching (both welt and otherwise) always looks great.
I have found John Lobb to be my favorite shoe maker. I have owned several pairs of both JL and Edward Green and prefer JL's aesthetic especially when it comes to the double monk. What is your go to brand?
Not sure what happened to the thread but top 3 brand, in no order
18 months ago, JL was my favorite, now:
3. Saint Crispin
4. Crockett & Jones
5. AS Handgrade/Exclusive
7. John Lobb
Keep in kind I prefer shell over calf and a boot over shoe. To put the ranking into some context, I'm more willing to pay full retail for something in the top 3. Anything below that needs to be on sale for me to consider it