Fosters may make bespoke shoes but they make them the same way they make RTW.
I have all along specified that if all things are equal except those aspects that relate to construction techniques...in other words comparing Goodyear welted shoes to hand welted shoes...the hand welted shoes will be heavier.
Okay, just to be clear on this:
1. Foster's RTW shoes are made by Edward Green, Crockett & Jones and other firms. They are machine-made, Goodyear-welted shoes.
2. Foster's bespoke shoes are hand-welted.
3. On comparing shoes of the same basic style (oxfords) and approximately the same size, the bespoke shoes were noticeably lighter.
I did not check every size or style of shoe. I should've asked the staff why the bespoke shoes were lighter, but they were busy. Maybe I'll try again next week.
Not sure this is relevant, but a couple of examples of hand-welted shoes that aren't bespoke are:
Dimitri Gomez's "Bottier" line
Cleverley's Semi-Bespoke and Anthony Cleverley lines
although I think someone said Cleverley's Semi-Bespoke shoes aren't actually hand-welted, despite what their website says.
I'm sure someone...perhaps, even the owner...will assert that I cannot possibly know that. But I can.
There is a "footprint" created...literally...when the foot is supporting the body's weight. It is neither wider nor narrower than the foot structure needs it to be. If properly fit, it will never change, in other words.
When a last is chosen to make a bespoke shoe the width of that footprint determines the width of the bottom of the last. In the heel, this is known as "heelseat width".
When a shoe is manufactured, a last is chosen that will accommodate (note that I did not say "fit") a variety of heelseat widths.
The heelseat width, because it determines the width of the insole, also determines the width of the outsole and, consequently, the width of the heel stack.
If the shoe, above, with the wider heel fits the foot of the owner then the narrower shoe is too narrow for the actual weight bearing, plantar surface of the foot.
And contrariwise, if the narrow heeled shoe fits the foot perfectly then the shoe with the wider heel does not. This is not to say that either or both are not comfortable...albeit for reasons that may have little to do with actual foot mechanics or fit.
But the wider last forces a wider...and, yes, heavier...heelstack.
There is no escaping the logic of this.
But again it is comparing apples to oranges in the same way that comparing a shoe with a five-eigths inch heel to one with a nine-eighths inch heel would be.
A couple of points on this:
1. I believe you said fit is subjective.
2. Doesn't this follow the same line as my logic? On the assumption that the bespoke shoe "fits", I said that its shape reduces waste. Isn't this basically the same as your points about a last for a manufactured shoe having to be chosen to accommodate a variety of heelseat widths and the wider last requiring a wider heelstack?
If all things are equal, including construction techniques...such as Goodyear welting or handwelting...materials, size, lasts, etc., two pairs of shoes made in different facilities will weigh near-as-nevermind the same.
But once the construction techniques are factored in...Goodyear vs handwelting...once the choice of materials directly associated with those techniques are factored in--insole thicknesses or materials (leather vs cardboard), the bespoke shoe will always be a little heavier.
Well, I've now established (for myself at least, but anyone can pop into Foster's and see for themselves) that the bespoke shoe can be lighter. I don't know why, and it looks like you don't either.
I recognise that you've provided very detailed responses and I appreciate the time you've spent on this. My point about you possibly generalising isn't the steps/differences in the process of making a hand-made or machine-made shoe itself, but the extent to which those processes that you've outlined are actually followed on this side of the pond. Because if they aren't, then the detail isn't relevant.
For what it's worth, I don't think the points that you've made are wrong, which is why I suggested earlier that perhaps the hand-made and machine-made shoes we're talking about here may be somewhat different to what you usually see.