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Shoe Gurus: Help Me Out - Page 3

post #31 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glenjay View Post

I like my AE shoes, but I love my Lobbs.

 

This is the kind of experience I would expect a higher end shoe to give me. If you had come in and said "Lobbs are good, but they aren't noticeably more comfortable than AEs." then I don't think I'd make the leap to a more expensive shoe. But the general mood seems to be that there is indeed a noticeable improvement going from AE to Lobbs, or some other high end makers.

post #32 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr monty View Post


I have done it many times.

Interesting. Even the occasional RL or Barney's sales have price around $600. Perhaps you mean factory sales that's only accessible to Northampton locals?
post #33 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustic Man View Post

This is the kind of experience I would expect a higher end shoe to give me. If you had come in and said "Lobbs are good, but they aren't noticeably more comfortable than AEs." then I don't think I'd make the leap to a more expensive shoe. But the general mood seems to be that there is indeed a noticeable improvement going from AE to Lobbs, or some other high end makers.

There are significant diffetences in quality of materials and how they wear, but the construction method remains sub optimal.
post #34 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post


There are significant diffetences in quality of materials and how they wear, but the construction method remains sub optimal.

 

Can you expand on this? Do you mean to say that Lobbs still aren't what you would consider to be on the better side of the construction spectrum?

post #35 of 41
AE is a very good shoe but Northampton (I use C&J, AS, EG, G&G) shoes do have advantages. Shoes such as C&J (HG) have better leather, finished better (both on the uppers and soles), and provide upgrades such as channeled soles (but this might be argued as purely aesthetic). On the higher range such as EG and G&G, you get higher quality leather, better finishing such as burnishing, and more details (again this may be classified as aesthetics).

Ultimately, the details of more expensive shoes will not always come from construction but attention to detail and quality of materials. You can always take it further, some argue that better shoes are hand lasted/welted (versus Goodyear), have leather toe/heel puffs, etc. and so on. There will be construction/material/style differences but ultimately you would have to rationalize the need to upgrade.

I owned numerous AE in the past, was fine with them, but have settle with a handful of manufacturers because their lasts fit well and look good. Once in a while I get a pair from a different brand just to test the waters. Could I also go higher and move to bespoke, sure, but at this point, I am satisfield.
post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustic Man View Post

Can you expand on this? Do you mean to say that Lobbs still aren't what you would consider to be on the better side of the construction spectrum?

he is obsessed with the gemming in goodyear construction vs. handwelting.

and yet, somehow, you don't hear about a rash of gemming failures.
post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by glenjay View Post

I would agree with this for the most part, except for the comfort aspect. The narrower waist, the more curved heel counter, and so on, are not just style aspects of a given last, they add to the comfort of the shoe. I find that more attention is given to these aspects on the higher end shoes, and I can feel the difference when I wear them.

Actually the difference is more noticeable when you wear higher end shoes (EG, Lobb, Berluti, and such) and then go back to wearing AE shoes. I like my AE shoes, but I love my Lobbs.

It may be the case, although I don't find the EG's I've owned any more comfortable than a correctly fitted AE.

Going from something like an EG or C&J Handgrade to an AE makes me say, yes, i like the EG better, but not $800 better.
post #38 of 41

I tend to accept the fact that the EG's & Lobb's of the the world start with tried and true lasts, source better raw materials, work with closer tolerances and place more emphasis on the fit, finish and quality of the final product. Having said that, higher end shoes don't have magical qualities. The soles wear out, heels wear down and the leather creases. Now it may take longer when compared to lesser shoes and they can be recrafted (as can A&E) but they are still shoes. Nor do I believe there is any real value equation were you can argue you should purchase 1 pair of EG's for $1200 because they will outlast 5 pair of A&E's which will cost you $1500 making E&G's are more affordable in the long run. The lure of higher end shoes is, to me, a combination of form and function. I seek out shoes that are both well made as well as stylish. I have no interest in purchasing the best made shoe in the world if it's fat and clunky and I have been disappointed purchasing shoes on the cheap that emulate the styles of the higher end brands but fall apart quickly due to shoddy construction. That is why, like others have stated, I liked my A&E's but I love my EG's.


 

post #39 of 41

I think that the main benefit that comes from the highest end shoes is the confidence. There generally isn't a 4X difference in quality, but you may (depending on the type of person you are) feel 4X better in the more expensive shoes. That being said there are differences in the brands. I think the best way to see this is to go into a Brook brothers Store. They will generally have AE (labeled as Brook brothers) C&J (labeled as Peal) and Edward Green. Last time I was in I was looking for brown suede shoes. The EG's quality of suede was noticibaly better than the other two. it is up to you to decide how much better though. I did not have the money for the EG's, but if they were all the same price it would be a no brainer that they would be the shoes I would have chose.

 

Joel


Edited by joelscott7 - 7/4/13 at 1:44pm
post #40 of 41

The best way to really tell is to do what others have suggested. If your curious enough you need to get out there compare for yourself. Do yourself a favor though and look at as many examples as possible however. It's fairly easy to see some of the difference once you compare how they look and feel in person. The quality of the leather is the first thing I noticed, but as others have said there are other things that make it worth it to me. Smaller details may not be as obvious at first however. Fit should be your number one priority when choosing regardless.

 

There are a number of different price levels when it comes to shoemakers, and here again you will have to determine what price range fits your budget, your needs, and likes and desires to be the best for you.. Personally I have a number of shoes from a number of different shoemakers at various different price points to include a few AE shoes. A great part of this was because I liked a certain shoe best than some other, or I wanted to see what this brand was like. I have found the higher up the price range I have gone the happier I have been with the shoes I have purchased. I do have a number of shoes in the mid range price bracket such as Alden, Carmina, C&J, Rider Boot Co, AS, and Vass. For the most part  I find these more enjoyable than any of the AE shoes that I own. I also own some from John Lobb, Edward Green, Gaziano & Girling, and St. Crispins. Here again I find these for the most part to be more enjoyable than those in the midrange price bracket.

 

Keep in mind that not all higher end shoes are created equal however. There tends to be differences between manufactures of shoes just like any other product. John Lobb and Edward Green both make shoes, but the leather John Lobb uses tends to be more malleable than any other shoe I've seen. I personally like the way John Lobb executes the Double Monk, but I tend to like more of Edward Greens shoes and I like the way they burnish their shoes.

 

The level of interest or excitement you have in regards to these matters is not something another can convince you of, it's something you'll have to determine for yourself.


Edited by dddrees - 7/4/13 at 2:00pm
post #41 of 41
With rare exceptions, traditional (ie not fashion branded, where you are paying for a label) shoes at the $300 point (eg Loakes, AEs) are twice as good as shoes in the $150 range. Materials, construction quality, recrafting services are all much better. They look and feel better to start with, and will stay presentable and wearable at least twice as long, often much longer.

Go up from $300 to $600 and the same does not apply. The $600 shoes (say CJ/Church) are objectively better, but not twice as good. They usually will stay presentable and wearable a bit longer, may be more attractively styled and finished, and better leathers may take a deeper shine, but the law of diminishing returns has kicked in.

Same again if you go up to the $1000-1200 level. Even better materials, and even better after-sales service. But not twice as good as the $600 pair.

In part, you are of course paying for exclusivity, and for marketing, and for the availability of that after-sales service, and so on. But you are not being exploited, because those factors are inherent to the non-mass market business model, and the costs of skilled labour and of higher grades of material rise markedly the higher you go up the scale - in much the same way that bespoke clothes can cost two or three times as much as MTM, which itself costs two or three times as much as RTW.
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