Originally Posted by JBMarce21
For example, I bought some to boot new york's some time ago for $400 at Saks. After 8 months of regular wear they went on eBay for $100 because they didn't live up to that price point. Absolutely not worth the $. Had I checked out things here, I might have gotten myself a pair of C&J's on plal for the same price and instead be resoling a beautifully broken in pair of quality shoes at this point.
I'm talking about comparisons between brands that are generally approved of on this board. I think everyone here would agree that To Boots aren't very high quality.
For what it's worth, C&J has two grades - benchgrade and handgrade. Both are Goodyear welted and machine made, but handgrades feature finer calf leathers, asymmetric lasts, and oak bark tanned soles.* The soles also have channeled stitching (which means the stitching is hidden), instead of ones that are stitched aloft (which means the stitching is visible).
Meermins MTOs (which are the only ones I've had experience with) can be made on any last (including ones you give them, I believe), feature channeled stitching, slightly beveled waists, high-polishes, and handwelted and hand-lasted construction. The leathers they use are very good, at least on the ones they sent me. It's also said that handwelting can be resoled more easily and more times than Goodyear welted ones. There is some controversy to this claim, but I don't take a stance on it either way.
As you can see, there's no way to put a dollar amount on these features. They're subjective matters. While I feel confident in saying that I think Meermin is better than Loake, but not as good as Saint Crispin's, I wouldn't object if someone came here and said I was wrong. After all, things such as channeled soles, slightly beveled waists, and high-polishes are just aesthetic details; handwelting vs. Goodyear is somewhat controversial; and nobody here has owned Meermin's shoes for any significant period of time. I also like Saint Crispin's for their handconstruction and how they hug my foot's arch, but these are just artisanal details that you either like or you don't. Shoes from any of these brands - Loake, Meermin, and Saint Crispin's - will last you a long time with proper care. Saying one company is objectively better than the other (at least among SF approved brands) gets into very subjective territory and deals with small differences. I feel more confident about making a statement on the extremes, and very suspicious when people make claims about stuff in the middle. Perhaps you can drive a conversation out of members on this, but what I'm telling you is that if you do, few people here will be able to give you meaningful answers.
I've owned about six pairs of C&Js in my life, and have just started wearing Meermins for about the past three months or so. I'm very happy with all of them and would not hesitate to recommend either company.* Oak bark tanned leather is a type of hide that has been tanned exclusively from vegetable agents made from barks and fruits. The process takes place inside of an oak-lined pit that is ten feet deep. The hide sits in the solution for about a year. There are no mechanical movements, no chemical catalysts, and the solution isn't heated; the hide just sits for a year. It's a slow process, but the leather that comes out is very lightweight, very hardwearing, and very flexible. It is also said to be highly water-repellent, but very breathable.