What do you think of Barker shoes. Not Barker Black, please. I've heard the sizing is off; that they're not for every foot.
Considering British shoes alone I've currently 4 pairs Barkers (2 Oxfords) and 2 pairs of Churches and as a direct comparison conclude Barkers are good value.
The new Barker heals wear and need replacing quickly, but thereon 3 out of 4 have been hard wearing.
I like Barkers Flex and for my feet are more comfortable than Churches, although don't look as good as classic Oxfords.
I'd conclude 2 pairs Barkers is better value than 1 pair Churches, price-wise there're marginally more expensive.
^^ Re-think the above. I have just had a pair of Barkers returned from the cobblers (a new pair of Barkers Flex). The cobbler says the material building the gap between the heal and the leather uppers was 'condensed cardboard', and says the reason is it keeps the show lighter. The problem with the material is if the shoes become damaged the cardboard can get waterlogged. I am not sure whether this extends throughout the shoe.
I have Barkers bought over several years and it is the first time this was ever said. I believe this is a recent change in shoe construction and I hope it can be corrected with a 'through sole and heal'.
I cannot hide my disappointment and in the future will focus on Chenies (the British shoemaker now controlled by the old Churches company) and Churches (now controlled by Prada). I am told that Churches shoes are still made in the UK.
At least the cobbler was an honest man.
Edited by Hacking jacket - 2/27/13 at 9:21am
Re: sizes - I wear 10.5 in most shoes but for my Barker I had to settle for 9.5, so the sizing does indeed seem a bit off.
^^ Very glad to hear this: I pay £170 .. and suggests it is worth investing a few bucks more, although Russell and Bromley charge >£200 for the same thing.
Good advice for the future, go for the handgrade quality.
I've a pair of classic Oxfords in for repair and will ask about their construction.
Historically I would strongly argue Barkers are better than Loakes. Loakes however currently saturate several cobblers shops in the central London area.
The account of a pair of Barkers 'falling to pieces' is an experience I have had too.
Cheaney is a very high quality shoe and now more than ever. There is no dispute here.
Size issue: sizing is a bit odd, but just turn up to the store and see what fits.
I've owned two pairs of Barker's in the past.
In my experience, they tend to have a bit of a wider fit as their standard fit, so they might not suit narrow feet. Leather quality is fairly mediocre, so the shoes show creasing a bit more than some others. I think that the quality of Loake's 1880 range is slightly higher but Barker are fine for someone who wants to start a shoe collection without parting with too much money.
Agreed 100% on the broader foot, perhaps thats why I've favoured them in the past.
This is resolved in their 'Flex' range: They use a soft leather in an Oxford style shoe between the 'toe cap' and the 'heal cap'. The soft leather doesn't crease, i.e. where the ball of the foot pivots, and is highly durable. For black Oxfords it doesn't look as crisp as a formal business shoe, otherwise ok.
Never owned a pair, but I stopped by the Barker shop at the corner of Jermyn St / Princes Arcade and I must say their high-end collection (Heritage or Anniversary or some such word) was quite impressive. I would say on a par with the Cheaney Imperial range but a fraction cheaper. The standard-issue Barker shoes I would place a notch above Loake (also in Princes Arcade).
lol, you wear those things and call Tyrwhitt shirts poor.
talk about cognitive dissonance.