I do not intend to resurrect the debate over which line of Santoni is better than others.... But I would like to share a few tidbits from my own experience exploring Santoni (still my fav shoe). First: one aspect of confusion over Santoni is that the shoes available in America are often different than their European counterparts. Remember this when you are looking for Santoni.
- Nordstrom STORES carry Santoni; HOWEVER, they no longer carry FAM (in my area, San Francisco); their current holdings are only the low-end classic lines. By that I mean, Nordstrom's top end Santoni shoe is ~500 (Judging from visits to several San Francisco region stores). This is extremely disappointing to me, because Santoni's higher end classic blake stitched shoes often had amazing leather. I got the Quentin (695.00 retail) from the Rack at a huge discount (No longer carried in retail stores) - Still one of my favorite shoes -- Beautiful leather.
- Nordstrom.com does have some high end classic and FAM - mostly retail prices though.
- Nordstrom's current offerings nearly ALL have rubber soles - Rubber is ok, but I'm not 100% sure of the construction anymore... I think they're blake stitched - It could be a seasonal thing. I have one pair with rubber... They are not the same quality as the better classics.
- The leather on the Nordstrom Santoni's is not what it used to be. Some of them have the plastic-y feel. Bummer. Furthermore, none of the lines they carried on my last visit even looked all that nice. (They had mostly loafers; nice, but loafers aren't really my thing).
IMO and based on experience & research (I really don't want to start a debate over this); their lines start from highest quality;
Santoni Limited Edition (Not sold in the US that I know of; some have garish styling)
Santoni High End FAM (Not sold in the US that I know of - These are special, are truly handmade, have various liner colors, and other than NOT being the common orange, there is no real significance to the actual color/serration of the liner. I've seen a range of sock colors in this line. Evaluate the shoe; you can tell if a Santoni FAM is is in this class; it's pretty obvious. These may or may not be goodyear welted, or have other unique builds. I would love to learn more about this line, but have never seen them for sale anywhere in the USA. Maybe they don't make this line anymore? Maybe it's specific to certain vendors/Santoni stores in the rest of the world?)
Santoni Goodyear (Sold in the USA at retail stores? Not sure.... Online for sure. Machine made beauties - I LOVE the goodyear line; however, I also think they are overpriced considering they are 2X as expensive as the higher-end Classic line)
Santoni Shabby Chic - I don't know much about this line. Some are goodyear welted, some are not. Some look pre-worn. I think they belong above the orange sock due to better builds, but they seem equivalent wise).
Santoni Low End FAM (Seems to have become the "Hand Made" for the masses; great quality in general, but to me, synonymous with the higher end Classic lines I used to see at Nordstrom. I doubt much about this shoe is handmade, but I really don't know. I'm pretty sure all of these are blake stitched - Many (most) have an ORANGE liner, but some are brown as well)
Santoni Classics (Typical Nordstrom style; you can still find the high-end classics on the internet, but not at any Nordstrom's I have been to in the past year. Blake stitched leather or rubber I guess)
Nuvola (Cheapo Santoni line - although some people say the Nordstrom shoes are Nuvola, this class is actually branded Nuvola on the sole' I have never seen one in person)
If anyone knows any retail stores that still carry the high-end FAM's, I would love to know. Good on you if you actually read this far :) It might be nice to also establish the retail value of these shoes typically... We all see them for sale on the internet, but when I see a shoe that says: "....on sale, 859.00 down from 2150.00".... I have my doubts that shoe was ever 2150.00 anywhere on earth. (machine made goodyear if you are interested).
Online stores I know that carry Santoni:
EBAY.com - I have gotten insane deals on Santoni on EBAY. (Cherry goodyears for 99.99).
Shopthefinest.com - Good selection, great seller. Ian is very helpful. All lines of Santoni. I think he gets European models mostly. I think his listed retail prices are not accurate (overinflated).
DSW.com - People seem to have a problem with DSW... They still have one of the widest selection of Santoni for sale on the net. Heavily discounted too (although their models are not all my taste... weird burnishing on some FAM's these days).
Theshoemart.com - Classic line primarily. - Mostly retail prices.
Shermanbrothers.com - Classic and goodyear, current line. Mostly retail prices. No FAM.
Raffaello-network.com - Never bought from them - they have an interesting selection of FAM. Note the various sock colors.....
Nordstrom.com - More selection than their stores have currently.
Baumans.com - Appear to have a wide range - in Arkansas though...
Nortonditto.com - Seems to have entire current line. No high end FAM/LE though....
My take on retail prices:
Limited edition - 1800.00-4000.00
High end FAM - No clue
Goodyear - 1100.00-1300.00
Shabby Chic - 700.00-1000.00
Low end FAM - 500.00-1000.00
Classic - 400.00 - 800.00
Nuvola - No clue