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Advantages of a $1000 Pair of Shoes - Page 28

post #406 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by grendel View Post

Yes, please do... I've learned a lot from these discussions and the linked discussions on hand welting, gemming (and the failure thereof), etc. I don't have any really high-end shoes yet but I'd be interested in making wise decisions when I get there. From what I've gleaned from this thread, Vass and St. Crispin are very well regarded for quality of materials and top-notch construction and are a good value for the quality they provide. True? I'm unlikely to be in a position to have bespoke shoes made in the near future, so what's my next best option?

I can't answer this question because it all depends on what you can afford and also your aesthetic tastes; no matter how high quality a pair of shoes might be it won't matter if you don't like them or can't afford them.

I've posted a rough description of shoe construction and each of the processes to evaluate.

It's up to you to find research the shoes that you like, see how they're made, and see how much this matters to you.

I've made a personal decision on what level of quality I require.
post #407 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post


I can't answer this question because it all depends on what you can afford and also your aesthetic tastes; no matter how high quality a pair of shoes might be it won't matter if you don't like them or can't afford them.
I've posted a rough description of shoe construction and each of the processes to evaluate.
It's up to you to find research the shoes that you like, see how they're made, and see how much this matters to you.
I've made a personal decision on what level of quality I require.

 

Okay, so step us through your reasoning and what you chose. 

post #408 of 416
Because anything less is just a beater shoe.
post #409 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by grendel View Post

Okay, so step us through your reasoning and what you chose.

I already have stepped you through my reasoning. See quotes. I'm afraid you're going to have to come to your own choices because we are different people and are likely to value different things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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
.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
That's fine by me too, but if you're ok with that why are you bringing up the points made below?
I'm not aware of any RTW shoe that hand brogues an upper. I haven't seen any evidence for any of these little 'upgrades'. If you want to 'upgrade' a shoe's quality, wouldn't you do it by addressing the main components of construction as listed in my previous post?
You can see videos of the making process. EG. JL. Whoever. I haven't seen any of these little "upgrades" of which you speak.
Perhaps they exist. I don't know. I'm not a shoemaker.
But if they exist, perhaps you could show me the difference between, say, a JL and a Carmina RTW shoe? If anything I can only conclude that the Carminas are slightly better made.
I don't intend to buy Meermin or Feit. I've seen the cost of Common Projects (my sneaker of choice) skyrocket over the years. Feit seem to be better made and if they come out with a style similar to the Achilles when my pair craps out I'll definitely look into them.
My last 2 pairs of shoes (not sneakers) were made for me by an Italian shoemaker I'd been in contact with over the internet. I will likely continue to buy from him because I've been happy with the fit of the shoes, the construction methods, the value for money, and the fact that I've developed a relationship with someone who I believe I can trust to make the shoes to good standards. I also like the regional construction variations that this maker offers me. I've also had good success with Vass.
Since I'm already content with this maker, I don't feel the need to try other makers - even if they might represent exceptional value - because it's a risk of disappointment in terms of fit and quality. And I'm a loyal customer because I feel like he did well by me.
I do think Vass represents exceptional value for money, and from what I've seen on the internet, so does Meermin LM
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post #410 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patek View Post

Because anything less is just a beater shoe.

 

Beater shoe day today.  JL City II.

 

 

p.s., my rainy day beater would be G&G Canterbury cordovan boots.

p.s.s., I only have beater shoes since I do not put any of my shoes in the closet glass display box to preserve their beauty.  Maybe one day when I get my bespoke shoes...

post #411 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

p.s.s., I only have beater shoes since I do not put any of my shoes in the closet glass display box to preserve their beauty.

Wait, you mean we're supposed to wear our nice shoes?
post #412 of 416
I think we scared the OP away . Good job biggrin.gif
post #413 of 416
OP was scared off after page 1...
post #414 of 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by JubeiSpiegel View Post

OP was scared off after page 1...

we are only half way, enjoy the next 28 pages
post #415 of 416

yup

post #416 of 416
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