Whys that, I thought its normal to spend around or just over £300 or 300 usd for a quality pair of shoes, providing that is what you're getting when purchasing a shoe in that price bracket and not only because you love or are crazy about shoes. But this is what I am trying to establish, are you really getting a high quality shoe, paying the hand grade C&J, John Lobb and EG prices or you paying for the label and would be better off sticking to something like a Loake or similar brand.
It is normal in SF, people like me is nuts about shoes. Under 300 USD (not GDP) you can get pretty decent quality GYW shoes in Europe and I am sure that AE´s are pretty good shoes too ( I have none). This not my reasoning, it is a fact. There are good blake, rapid blake and glued shoes out there too for less than 160 € too.
The second question?. Go for and answer yourself. It is very personal.