I was looking to get some shoes for around the $200-$300 range, My max would be $400 for excellent shoes (like the John Lobb Becket's I bought for 250 GBP at the factory store). The leather has to be close to the quality of the Lobbs. I don't mind seconds or rejects but I have no way of going to the factory store as I moved back to the states from the UK a couple of years back.
The Grenson Trents were ones I looked at many years back (I Haven't been on the forum in a few years and had posted something about this maybe 5-7 years ago). I checked out Shipton & Heneage Wentworth's a few years back but was NOT impressed with the leather they used, it felt a bit too synthetically treated and plastic looking for my taste and seemed to crease too easily.
I definitely want Wholecuts but something like the Beckets or Dickens by JL are good as well where they have a little bit of stitching or design around the laces. G&G, Grenson, Crocket and Jones (Only some of the special edition Japanese ones I've liked), Edward Green, John Lobb were all shoes where I consider the leather quality aesthetically pleasing and high quality. I don't really like Church's as the leather looks a bit plasticky to me and Vass (The U Last being the only exception) too much as they look a bit too utilitarian and industrial. I would also consider something like Bontoni, Berluti, etc... even though it is blakestitched, although ideally I would prefer goodyear welted.
I would only consider buying new shoes (I don't wear used clothes except for outerwear such as jackets and wool sweaters) and would prefer something that is either on sale or is a 2nd or reject, just to get the highest quality possible for my money. I have seen some Bruno Magli and other more mass produced brands selling for around $200 on sale so that MIGHT be a consideration. They don't have to be handgrade but that is a definite plus.
Let me know what suggestions you guys have and please post photo's with them. Perhaps we can create a great list of shoes. If I order online it would be great if I could get them returned (That's why Yoox seems to be great) if they don't fit.