Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
And fit really is vital (probably for health reasons).
I like most Lobbs, Cleverleys, many C&Js. But the bloody things do not fit my bloody strange feet. It is imperative to find shoes that fit (in my case EGs on the "8" lasts and some Churches) and then buy lots of them.
Re: the earlier post about black EGs not taking a shine: that has been my experience of all good black shoes for two decades. Good quality shoes only start taking a proper shine with normal light polishing after you have beaten the heck out of them and re-soled at least once, unless you go for the military "bulling" approach. Brown shoes are actually the same, but look better earlier because they are a colour (whereas black is an absence of colour).
this is a big factor, imo, which not many are aware of. this is also why the good bespoke workshops stocked up and still try to get their hands on older stocks from the tanneries. there are also auctions for the really good stuff.