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Advantages of a $1000 Pair of Shoes - Page 23

post #331 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

As an artist, i would say that artistry translates more to skill, not necessarily quality. Details definitely point to great skill in craftsmanship, but i always correlate quality more to material purity and construction.

Ding ding ding
post #332 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Ding ding ding

So, in this model of thought craftsmenship for the sake of craftsmenship or tradition or simplicity is valued as quality but craftsmenship for the sake of visual beauty is not?
post #333 of 415
It seems to me that there are many, many ways to make a shoe. The reasons for choosing one over the other are inherently formed by tradition.

But tradition in shoemaking is also a result of years of trial and error. Some methods have held up over the years and have become benchmarks of quality. Yes, it's tied in with tradition, but it's also traditional for a reason. Think about their goals - with the materials they had, and without the benefits of living in a first world country in a globalised capitalist world, mass produced synthetic shoes were simply not available. People had to figure out ways of doing things better. That is why tradition in shoemaking is valued; the goals were necessary.

It can be successfully argued that traditional details are no longer relevant in the world we live; why do we need oak bark tanned soles when we can just topy any sole and it will last just as long? Why do we need to wear leather shoes anyway? We could buy $20 shoes every year and it will make complete financial sense to us. It's partly because fashion, social norms, and our perception is formed by what we know; it's formed by tradition and atmosphere. People wear suits to work because of tradition. But, more importantly; we like the idea of doing things the best way. We don't like disposable fashion.

So craftmenship for the sake of craftmenship and tradition is already part of why we buy these shoes; we certainly don't need them. But if you remember that craftmenship and tradition arose for a distinct functional reason - part of that certainly being durability and fit - then you can understand that the methods retaining these formally functional details in a "because-that's-the-way-it-should-be" fashion are probably the best proxy for "quality" in such an industry. Sure, many people on SF will never wear through even the thinnest leather soles because they have collections ranging in the 100s, but that doesn't mean that you can't say that properly veggie tanned cow butt soles are better than any old leather.

So yes, tradition and craftmenship is definitely part of what "quality" means to me, at least in the shoemaking field.

Craftmenship for the sake of visual beauty:
visual beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn't make sense to compare art based on quality. OTOH, making a shoe attractive is definitely a skill; it's certainly true that lastmaking, for example, does not try to make a direct copy of a human foot, but also seeks to add beauty and architecture to the foot. But there are many ways of doing this, and it's not fair to say that one is better than the other.
Edited by hendrix - 9/9/12 at 7:29pm
post #334 of 415

Nicely said

post #335 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

It seems to me that there are many, many ways to make a shoe. The reasons for choosing one over the other are inherently formed by tradition.
But tradition in shoemaking is also a result of years of trial and error. Some methods have held up over the years and have become benchmarks of quality. Yes, it's tied in with tradition, but it's also traditional for a reason. Think about their goals - with the materials they had, and without the benefits of living in a first world country in a capitalist world, mass produced synthetic shoes were simply not available. People had to figure out ways of doing things better. That is why tradition in shoemaking is valued; the goals were necessary.
It can be successfully argued that traditional details are no longer relevant in the world we live; why do we need oak bark tanned soles when we can just topy any sole and it will last just as long? Why do we need to wear leather shoes anyway? We could buy $20 shoes every year and it will make complete financial sense to us. Because fashion, social norms, and our perception is formed by what we know; it's formed by tradition and atmosphere. People wear suits to work because of tradition. But, more importantly; we like the idea of doing things the best way. We don't like disposable fashion.
Craftmenship for the sake of craftmenship and tradition is already part of why we buy these shoes. But if you remember that craftmenship and tradition arose for a distinct functional reason - part of that certainly being durability and fit - then you can understand that the methods retaining these formally functional details in a "because-that's-the-way-it-should-be fashion" are probably the best proxy for "quality" in such an industry. Sure, many people on SF will never wear through even the thinnest leather soles because they have collections ranging in the 100s, but that doesn't mean that you can't say that properly veggie tanned cow butt soles are better than any old leather.
So yes, tradition and craftmenship is definitely part of what "quality" means to me, at least in the shoemaking field.
Craftmenship for the sake of visual beauty:
visual beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn't make sense to compare art based on quality. OTOH, making a shoe attractive is definitely a skill; it's certainly true that lastmaking, for example, does not try to make a direct copy of a human foot, but also seeks to add beauty and architecture to the foot. But there are many ways of doing this, and It's not fair to say that one is better than the other.

These are well articulated and interesting observations.

But given that a shoe produced by modern methods can perform as well as one made with traditional methods and that one cannot quantify that the traditional methods produce a more durable shoe, then isn't the love of craftsmenship or tradition just another preference, or emotional response?

I'm not saying the response isn't valid, just that it is no different than a response to asthetics.

Further, your attempt to 'rationalize' the 'traditional' styles is to ignore the fact that the 'traditional' and timeless styles you so revere all developed in the 20th century and are merely representative of an extremely long evolution of styles and shapes. Actually there are no such things as 'timeless' in terms of the design of attire. Merely a range of stylistic elements that are tweaked and recombined periodically. Yes, men's styles change more slowly than womens styles but to in any way imply that something is truly timeless is to ignore the historical evidence.

Without evidence to support the idea that 'the old ways are the best ways' to simply follow this ideal is to potentially miss the possibility that in fact modern methods, means, etc. etc. may well result in a superior product at a reduced cost. And is thus, nothing revering the old ways is nothing more than sentimentality taken to an extreme and codified into 'rules'.

I completely understand that we will likely never agree. That's not the point, btw. The point is to have an intelligent discussion and to expand our ability to think critically. Shoes are just a topic to work with.

Again, your post above impresses me. Well said.
Edited by Gdot - 9/9/12 at 7:40pm
post #336 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reevolving View Post

Buy used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saratorial_Splender View Post

Not possible new. Even used, these shoes command more than $550. It is the old demand supply theory.


Oh come on, you don't read what other people post??, you just have to live outside Europe and not pay VAT.
420 Euro x .80 (no Vat, more or less) = $340 + 50Euro shipping = 390 Euro. 390 Euro x 1.3 = $510 delivered to your door including trees.

If you don't want to order directly, order thru Kolecho, price is reasonable and you can order any configuration you want. Myself and other have posted this many times and still people think they have to pay 1K for Vass, this is ridiculous.
post #337 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post

These are well articulated and interesting observations.
But given that a shoe produced by modern methods can perform as well as one made with traditional methods and that one cannot quantify that the traditional methods produce a more durable shoe, then isn't the love of craftsmenship or tradition just another preference, or emotional response?

Well, I'm yet to see a modern method that does perform as well as traditional methods in dress shoes - I haven't seen a modern method that is dedicated towards superior fit and durability and anti-disposability, but I will agree that it's a preference.

Being that we're buying these shoes based on that preference for traditionally made shoes, I would've thought that it's a preference most here would share.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post

Further, your attempt to 'rationalize' the 'traditional' styles is to ignore the fact that the 'traditional' and timeless styles you so revere all developed in the 20th century and are merely representative of an extremely long evolution of styles and shapes. Actually there are no such things as 'timeless' in terms of the design of attire. Merely a range of stylistic elements that are tweaked and recombined periodically. Yes, men's styles change more slowly than womens styles but to in any way imply that something is truly timeless is to ignore the historical evidence.

Believe me, noone is in more agreement with you here. You're talking about design though, not quality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post

Without evidence to support the idea that 'the old ways are the best ways' is to potentially miss the possibility that in fact modern methods, means, etc. etc. may well result in a superior product at a reduced cost. And is thus, nothing revering the old ways is nothing more than sentimentality taken to an extreme and codified into 'rules'.

Yup but i'm not quite saying that "the old ways are the best ways". I'm saying that we're all seeking the old form of craftmanship because of the goals that it valued. It's these goals in manufacturing that make up quality.

We still sometimes see this today: look at Arc'teryx Veilance Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Lamination Technology
Arc’teryx pioneered the use of textile lamination in traditionally sewn goods. By laminating or bonding sections of material together, we are able to eliminate bulky seams, minimize weight, and create modern, aesthetic design lines. Zippers and pockets can be positioned wherever they are most effective, and not be constrained by the locations of seam junctions and gusseted sections.

Seam Allowance
Arc’teryx’s construction process is meticulous in its attention to detail. Seam tolerances are cut to an absolute minimum, reducing weight and bulk. These micro seams are therefore able to be sealed with the narrowest seam tape available further reducing bulk. The result is a smooth, flush seam that lies flat and is visually and aesthetically modern, clean and stylish.

WaterTight™ Zippers
Where it’s necessary to provide an opening or a pocket on a waterproof jacket, we have included WaterTight™ zippers, or Leakproof pocket flaps. WaterTight™ Zippers are coated with a special polyurethane coating that prevents water from penetrating the zip closure. Powder coated metal zipper pulls in tonal colours add a classic finish to the zip.

Die Cut Components
Veilance garments incorporate die-cut components in their construction process. Die-cut components provide crisp edges and clean lines that complement the minimalist, modern look of the clothing, and eliminate corners that can catch or fray. At the same time, die-cut openings can be positioned anywhere on a garment, eliminating the requirement for uneccessary seams that add weight and bulk.

Taped Fleece Seams
Fleece fabric is bulky by nature. To reduce the stacking effect of several layers of fleece overlaying each other along critical points such as seam junctions, Arc’teryx employs the use of ‘shaving’ the fleece along seam lines and at intersections. Seam tape is then applied over the shaved area to create low-profile, clean seam-lines or junctions. Seam tape also has the effect of reinforcing the seam sections to make them stronger and more durable.
granted, much of this is marketing talk, but there's a dedication to a goal there that's admirable. It's not seeking to make things faster or cheaper, it's seeking to make things better.

Another example: feit footwear. There's a dedication to doing everything the best way the can. Check out the handlasting and handwelting btw, interesting that a company clearly not averse to the use of modern stylings and materials still chooses traditional making methods because it believes them to be superior.

I wear sneakers that are not made traditionally. I know the advantages of traditional construction.

I do actually believe that traditional construction methods hold a significant advantage over modern methods in the shoemaking industry.


But it's the attitude of the makers and their dedication that holds the most value to me. That attitude generally results in quality, IMO.
post #338 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by rikod View Post

Oh come on, you don't read what other people post??, you just have to live outside Europe and not pay VAT.
420 Euro x .80 (no Vat, more or less) = $340 + 50Euro shipping = 390 Euro. 390 Euro x 1.3 = $510 delivered to your door including trees.
If you don't want to order directly, order thru Kolecho, price is reasonable and you can order any configuration you want. Myself and other have posted this many times and still people think they have to pay 1K for Vass, this is ridiculous.

For those of us not familiar with Vass (except for the hype), what's the advantage of ordering through a proxy vs direct? I'm not sure who Kolecho is, but I found this thread and the guy charges $730.
post #339 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Well, I'm yet to see a modern method that does perform as well as traditional methods in dress shoes - I haven't seen a modern method that is dedicated towards superior fit and durability and anti-disposability, but I will agree that it's a preference.
Being that we're buying these shoes based on that preference for traditionally made shoes, I would've thought that it's a preference most here would share.
Believe me, noone is in more agreement with you here. You're talking about design though, not quality.
Yup but i'm not quite saying that "the old ways are the best ways". I'm saying that we're all seeking the old form of craftmanship because of the goals that it valued. It's these goals in manufacturing that make up quality.
We still sometimes see this today: look at Arc'teryx Veilance Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
granted, much of this is marketing talk, but there's a dedication to a goal there that's admirable. It's not seeking to make things faster or cheaper, it's seeking to make things better.
Another example: feit footwear. There's a dedication to doing everything the best way the can. Check out the handlasting and handwelting btw, interesting that a company clearly not averse to the use of modern stylings and materials still chooses traditional making methods because it believes them to be superior.
I wear sneakers that are not made traditionally. I know the advantages of traditional construction.
I do actually believe that traditional construction methods hold a significant advantage over modern methods in the shoemaking industry.
But it's the attitude of the makers and their dedication that holds the most value to me. That attitude generally results in quality, IMO.

We could, of course, debate from here to hell and back regarding the actual advantages of a completely hand made shoe. But as you have acknowledged that one chooses such at least partially as a personal preference I think we can agree to have different priorities and no love lost?

I can, of course, go on with the dissection of the logic if you wish, however. biggrin.gif

I personally find the debate challenging and interesting - but worry that I will overstay my welcome if I don't let it be.
post #340 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

For those of us not familiar with Vass (except for the hype), what's the advantage of ordering through a proxy vs direct? I'm not sure who Kolecho is, but I found this thread and the guy charges $730.

He has lowered his prices recently due to a more advantagous exchange rate. Why use a proxy? Convenience and expert advice, of course.
post #341 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post


I personally find the debate challenging and interesting - but worry that I will overstay my welcome if I don't let it be.

It's a different debate to the one that I initially took issue with. I'm tired of people perpetuating the myth that the so called "top tier" rtw makers are significantly better quality than the "mid tier" - an argument that for all I can see is based upon a) price and b) stylistic choices.

The definition of "quality" is admittedly a little hazy but I tried to address it in my previous post as the pursuit of doing things the best way, not the easiest or the cheapest - "best" traditionally being a function of durability and fit (as well as, perhaps, luxury); thus "traditional" could be a somewhat reliable proxy for quality.

Since shoemaking can be broken down into its components, this is what I've picked up from 2 years of reading the forum and blogs (i.e I AM NOT AN EXPERT):

lastmaking: irrelevant in RTW shoes. Depends on what fits and what suits you.

patternmaking: stylistic

clicking: Handclicking enables (but doesn't necessitate) selection of appropriate parts of leather, while machine clicking offers no such option.

closing: I haven't been able to find an argument for hand closing, except perhaps in the rear lining of the shoe to ensure that it doesn't tear. Unsure on this one.

lasting: handlasting enables the maker to operate in a way that takes into account the natural variability in the tensility of the leather. Could be significant, but if a shoe is already machine clicked and held together with glue, it seems to me that these would be more critical points of weakness. Shoemakers are welcome to correct me here.

welting (or attaching the upper to the insole in the case of shoes without welts): Upper and welt can be stitched directly to the insole by first carving some type of ridge or "holdfast" (various methods for this, not sure which is best). This method is the most structurally sound, and also enables not only the sole to be replaced when it wears out, but also the welt to replaced after 3-4 resolings, without needing to replace the insole and footbed.
Alternatively, blake/rapid stitches the upper and insole to the midsole (effectively a welt), and the midsole to the outsole. Clearly the outsole can be replaced, I'm not sure if the midsole can be though (need input here).
Goodyear welted shoes rely on a canvas strip glued to the insole that the upper and welt are stitched to. The welt enables the sole to be easily replaced without taking apart with whole shoe and replacing the insole. However, if the glued canvas comes loose, the whole shoe is attached to it so it will need to be glued back down. If too much has come loose (and generally some will have come loose), the whole shoe will need to be relasted and the insole will have to be replaced, at which point you may as well just have a whole new shoe made (not to mention the fact that it's very difficult to relaste a pair of shoes that have already been cut. This Permanent Style write up on a 5 y/o pair of EGs is my source here. Parts 2 and 3.

Stitching the outsole to the welt (or turned out upper in the case of norwegese stitched shoes): Can be done by hand, which has the advantage of being able to adjust the tensility, or by machine. can also have a closed channel, which can be done by machine or hand. The hand-closed channel apparently shields the stiches from the elements better. TBH, these benefits to me seem somewhat marginal as the sole will be replaced after a while anyway. The internal construction seems to me to be of greater importance.

Also significant: The toe and heel stiffeners, which maintain the shape of the shoe. They can be leather or celastic. I have direct experience with why celastic is an inferior method - it is stiff and doesn't mold with the leather of the upper and liner, thus caused increase friction and tore through the lining of a pair of blake/rapid boots of mine. In about 2 years of wear. Also, a leather toe puff can be remolded if it becomes knocked in by simply wetting it, while you can't do that with a celastic one.

I haven't mentioned: shanks, pegged waists, heel stacks, because I'm unsure of how they're constructed and their merits. Note also the absence of "beveled waists" which don't contribute to the quality, merly to the (subjectively appraised) design.


So basically each of these traditional components in construction allows me to assess the quality of a shoe. I'll put more weight on certain points by using the above logic.

I should also note that I'm by no means an elitist. In fact, I'm not in a strong financial position compared to many on this forum. That's part of the reason why I place such importance on the construction methods: It matters to me how difficult and costly it is to recraft a GY welted shoe, it probably doesn't matter to you. I don't want to have to pay the expense for a complete recraft when, if the shoe were made properly, a simple resoling could suffice. Mafoofan can afford to by 5 pairs of the same shoe and not need to worry about durability. I can't.

So quality is quite important to me, but it may not be so important to you. That doesn't mean that you should come to a different definition of it than me, just that you may place less importance on it. Which is fine. That's the subjective part.
post #342 of 415

Interesting, I have enjoyed following this thread.

 

 

Thank you.

post #343 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

It's a different debate to the one that I initially took issue with. I'm tired of people perpetuating the myth that the so called "top tier" rtw makers are significantly better quality than the "mid tier" - an argument that for all I can see is based upon a) price and b) stylistic choices. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The definition of "quality" is admittedly a little hazy but I tried to address it in my previous post as the pursuit of doing things the best way, not the easiest or the cheapest - "best" traditionally being a function of durability and fit (as well as, perhaps, luxury); thus "traditional" could be a somewhat reliable proxy for quality.
Since shoemaking can be broken down into its components, this is what I've picked up from 2 years of reading the forum and blogs (i.e I AM NOT AN EXPERT):
lastmaking: irrelevant in RTW shoes. Depends on what fits and what suits you.
patternmaking: stylistic
clicking: Handclicking enables (but doesn't necessitate) selection of appropriate parts of leather, while machine clicking offers no such option.
closing: I haven't been able to find an argument for hand closing, except perhaps in the rear lining of the shoe to ensure that it doesn't tear. Unsure on this one.
lasting: handlasting enables the maker to operate in a way that takes into account the natural variability in the tensility of the leather. Could be significant, but if a shoe is already machine clicked and held together with glue, it seems to me that these would be more critical points of weakness. Shoemakers are welcome to correct me here.
welting (or attaching the upper to the insole in the case of shoes without welts): Upper and welt can be stitched directly to the insole by first carving some type of ridge or "holdfast" (various methods for this, not sure which is best). This method is the most structurally sound, and also enables not only the sole to be replaced when it wears out, but also the welt to replaced after 3-4 resolings, without needing to replace the insole and footbed.
Alternatively, blake/rapid stitches the upper and insole to the midsole (effectively a welt), and the midsole to the outsole. Clearly the outsole can be replaced, I'm not sure if the midsole can be though (need input here).
Goodyear welted shoes rely on a canvas strip glued to the insole that the upper and welt are stitched to. The welt enables the sole to be easily replaced without taking apart with whole shoe and replacing the insole. However, if the glued canvas comes loose, the whole shoe is attached to it so it will need to be glued back down. If too much has come loose (and generally some will have come loose), the whole shoe will need to be relasted and the insole will have to be replaced, at which point you may as well just have a whole new shoe made (not to mention the fact that it's very difficult to relaste a pair of shoes that have already been cut. This Permanent Style write up on a 5 y/o pair of EGs is my source here. Parts 2 and 3.
Stitching the outsole to the welt (or turned out upper in the case of norwegese stitched shoes): Can be done by hand, which has the advantage of being able to adjust the tensility, or by machine. can also have a closed channel, which can be done by machine or hand. The hand-closed channel apparently shields the stiches from the elements better. TBH, these benefits to me seem somewhat marginal as the sole will be replaced after a while anyway. The internal construction seems to me to be of greater importance.
Also significant: The toe and heel stiffeners, which maintain the shape of the shoe. They can be leather or celastic. I have direct experience with why celastic is an inferior method - it is stiff and doesn't mold with the leather of the upper and liner, thus caused increase friction and tore through the lining of a pair of blake/rapid boots of mine. In about 2 years of wear. Also, a leather toe puff can be remolded if it becomes knocked in by simply wetting it, while you can't do that with a celastic one.
I haven't mentioned: shanks, pegged waists, heel stacks, because I'm unsure of how they're constructed and their merits. Note also the absence of "beveled waists" which don't contribute to the quality, merly to the (subjectively appraised) design.
So basically each of these traditional components in construction allows me to assess the quality of a shoe. I'll put more weight on certain points by using the above logic.
I should also note that I'm by no means an elitist. In fact, I'm not in a strong financial position compared to many on this forum. That's part of the reason why I place such importance on the construction methods: It matters to me how difficult and costly it is to recraft a GY welted shoe, it probably doesn't matter to you. I don't want to have to pay the expense for a complete recraft when, if the shoe were made properly, a simple resoling could suffice. Mafoofan can afford to by 5 pairs of the same shoe and not need to worry about durability. I can't.
So quality is quite important to me, but it may not be so important to you. That doesn't mean that you should come to a different definition of it than me, just that you may place less importance on it. Which is fine. That's the subjective part.

as long as people neglect to learn it's a big waste of time to teach them, imo.
post #344 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzl View Post


as long as people neglect to learn it's a big waste of time to teach them, imo.

post #345 of 415
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

It's a different debate to the one that I initially took issue with. I'm tired of people perpetuating the myth that the so called "top tier" rtw makers are significantly better quality than the "mid tier" - an argument that for all I can see is based upon a) price and b) stylistic choices.
The definition of "quality" is admittedly a little hazy but I tried to address it in my previous post as the pursuit of doing things the best way, not the easiest or the cheapest - "best" traditionally being a function of durability and fit (as well as, perhaps, luxury); thus "traditional" could be a somewhat reliable proxy for quality.
Since shoemaking can be broken down into its components, this is what I've picked up from 2 years of reading the forum and blogs (i.e I AM NOT AN EXPERT):
lastmaking: irrelevant in RTW shoes. Depends on what fits and what suits you.
patternmaking: stylistic
clicking: Handclicking enables (but doesn't necessitate) selection of appropriate parts of leather, while machine clicking offers no such option.
closing: I haven't been able to find an argument for hand closing, except perhaps in the rear lining of the shoe to ensure that it doesn't tear. Unsure on this one.
lasting: handlasting enables the maker to operate in a way that takes into account the natural variability in the tensility of the leather. Could be significant, but if a shoe is already machine clicked and held together with glue, it seems to me that these would be more critical points of weakness. Shoemakers are welcome to correct me here.
welting (or attaching the upper to the insole in the case of shoes without welts): Upper and welt can be stitched directly to the insole by first carving some type of ridge or "holdfast" (various methods for this, not sure which is best). This method is the most structurally sound, and also enables not only the sole to be replaced when it wears out, but also the welt to replaced after 3-4 resolings, without needing to replace the insole and footbed.
Alternatively, blake/rapid stitches the upper and insole to the midsole (effectively a welt), and the midsole to the outsole. Clearly the outsole can be replaced, I'm not sure if the midsole can be though (need input here).
Goodyear welted shoes rely on a canvas strip glued to the insole that the upper and welt are stitched to. The welt enables the sole to be easily replaced without taking apart with whole shoe and replacing the insole. However, if the glued canvas comes loose, the whole shoe is attached to it so it will need to be glued back down. If too much has come loose (and generally some will have come loose), the whole shoe will need to be relasted and the insole will have to be replaced, at which point you may as well just have a whole new shoe made (not to mention the fact that it's very difficult to relaste a pair of shoes that have already been cut. This Permanent Style write up on a 5 y/o pair of EGs is my source here. Parts 2 and 3.
Stitching the outsole to the welt (or turned out upper in the case of norwegese stitched shoes): Can be done by hand, which has the advantage of being able to adjust the tensility, or by machine. can also have a closed channel, which can be done by machine or hand. The hand-closed channel apparently shields the stiches from the elements better. TBH, these benefits to me seem somewhat marginal as the sole will be replaced after a while anyway. The internal construction seems to me to be of greater importance.
Also significant: The toe and heel stiffeners, which maintain the shape of the shoe. They can be leather or celastic. I have direct experience with why celastic is an inferior method - it is stiff and doesn't mold with the leather of the upper and liner, thus caused increase friction and tore through the lining of a pair of blake/rapid boots of mine. In about 2 years of wear. Also, a leather toe puff can be remolded if it becomes knocked in by simply wetting it, while you can't do that with a celastic one.
I haven't mentioned: shanks, pegged waists, heel stacks, because I'm unsure of how they're constructed and their merits. Note also the absence of "beveled waists" which don't contribute to the quality, merly to the (subjectively appraised) design.
So basically each of these traditional components in construction allows me to assess the quality of a shoe. I'll put more weight on certain points by using the above logic.
I should also note that I'm by no means an elitist. In fact, I'm not in a strong financial position compared to many on this forum. That's part of the reason why I place such importance on the construction methods: It matters to me how difficult and costly it is to recraft a GY welted shoe, it probably doesn't matter to you. I don't want to have to pay the expense for a complete recraft when, if the shoe were made properly, a simple resoling could suffice. Mafoofan can afford to by 5 pairs of the same shoe and not need to worry about durability. I can't.
So quality is quite important to me, but it may not be so important to you. That doesn't mean that you should come to a different definition of it than me, just that you may place less importance on it. Which is fine. That's the subjective part.

The one point we will clearly continue to disagree on is that I still place a 'quality' value on additional craftsmenship/care/materials even if related only to asthetics. And that's fine with me if we have different definitions

I think though that you would find that on many counts, excluding welting method, that a $1000 RTW Northampton shoe is indeed made with considerably higher quality materials and considerably more craftsmenship than a $500 pair. Everything from how the upper is created (hand brougued or machine, hand skivving various seams, creation of linings and edgings, there just are literally dozens of little 'upgrades' that do indeed occur between the two price points. And, in fact, the manufacture of a 'handgrade' shoe simply requires more handwork and less machine work. Some of this results in more comfort, and more likely longer life in the handgrade shoe. For that matter even all gemmed inseams are not necessarily equal. It is pretty easy for me to comprehend that makers such as G&G and EG use the best materials and best quality control available and probably even a very high quality adhesive. I can't imagine the same level of care is devoted to all goodyear welted shoes. Yes - you may believe that this is of little value, and for all I know it is. But it does seem a reasonable topic of inquiry.

I do appreciate your desire for fiscal responsibility, as I was once young and started out with nothing, I know what it means to watch the pennys carefully. It does seem to me that Vass shoes represent a very sound investment in terms of durability and cost vs. quality.

Are you thinking of a Mermin Linea Maestro anytime soon? I'm skeptical that the rest of the shoe is up to speed with the inseam on them - but am open to hearing the evaluation of more 'discerning' buyers such as yourself.

By the way, I corresponded with Feit, they confirmed that the shoes are entirely handmade in China. This is intriquing, as it seems that low labor costs could allow them to devote a good deal of time to the construction while still keeping the construction quality up there. And the location of manufacture makes shipping to NZ competitive. Of course, can't imagine myself wearing them........biggrin.gif
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