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John Lobb Appreciation Thread - Page 12

post #166 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by DpprDr View Post

Beautiful shoes... at that level, you can't expect anything less I guess.

DWFII, quick question about gemmed shoes: should the adhesive fail, but the shoes are sent to the original manufacturer and resoled using the original last, I assume this will help maintain the shape/fit? Would the manufacturer also be able to "re-gem" or stick it back on?

If the shoe is "remanufactured", the insole, welt and, of course, the gemming will be replaced. And be returned looking just about new. Of course, shoes evolved to be repaired, without much fuss and without access to the specialized skills and equipment needed to make them in the first place. A customer shouldn't have to be so dependent upon the maker that the shoes must be sent overseas to be repaired, and any other option is a roll of the dice.

As many have insisted, if GY shoes are worn lightly--on carpets strewn with rose petals and in a rotation--the likelihood that the gemming will fail becomes minimal.

But to the extent that such shoes are worn daily, worn in all kinds of weather, worn as shoes were intended to be worn--as protection from the elements rather than exclusively as an ornament of personal adornment, the failure rate rises significantly.

Again, if shoemaking were woodworking, hand sewn inseams would be a dovetailed joints and GY would be simple butted and glued joints...of particle board.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/27/13 at 7:50am
post #167 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

This may be a good place to pose a question about the construction of John Lobb's RTW shoes.  I am pasting a video below showing the cork bottom filling process of a pair of Lobbs.  Watch the video and you will see that they seem to put an enormous amount of cork in the shoe, leaving a mound  that is nowhere near flush with the welting as you see with all other goodyear welted shoes.  Am I missing something, or do Lobbs somehow have a thicker cork layer? 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNqu1kQZ0Mc&feature=bf_prev&list=UUN1wOO2DFx9p_DC3VD2hviQ

 

I really don't mean to beat a dead horse, I'm just genuinely interested in this, and I haven't really heard a good explanation.  Perhaps it is another mystery shrouded behind the factory walls that nobody knows the answer to, similar to Alden's gemming methods which don't seem to fit in with any other commonly used method.  These are some pictures easily obtained online showing "normal" cork bottom filling in Goodyear-welted shoes where the cork is around 5mm deep (give or take), the key being that it is spread out flush with the welt:

 

Alden

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 95

 

Allen Edmonds

 

Allen Edmonds Cross-section

 

Edward Green

 

 

The video I linked to above shows the John Lobb shoes having an extremely higher amount of cork filled into the bottom.  Like I said, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, go on a witch hunt, or open up a can of worms with the merits of gemming/Goodyear-welting debate.  I just want to know if this video is accurate and how it may reflect on the fit and comfort of a pair of ready-to-wear John Lobbs.  I don't own any, so I can't donate a personal pair to science for the sake of discovery.  If the Lobbs are more comfortable than other Goody-year welted shoes, then the discussion should fit into the "John Lobb Appreciation" thread. 

post #168 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post



The video I linked to above shows the John Lobb shoes having an extremely higher amount of cork filled into the bottom.  Like I said, I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, go on a witch hunt, or open up a can of worms with the merits of gemming/Goodyear-welting debate.  I just want to know if this video is accurate and how it may reflect on the fit and comfort of a pair of ready-to-wear John Lobbs.  I don't own any, so I can't donate a personal pair to science for the sake of discovery.  If the Lobbs are more comfortable than other Goody-year welted shoes, then the discussion should fit into the "John Lobb Appreciation" thread. 

Of course it's accurate, but I don't remember a shot of the bottom after the cork had been leveled. If the cork was left mounded up like that it would be more uncomfortable than other shoes that were leveled, simply because it would distort the shape of the insole.

In fairness, I've not toured the Northampton factory nor have I been more than marginally interested in the nuances of Goodyear construction but I've seen the end product time and again, through all manner of transitions, and having some insights into shoe construction and more importantly, shoe function, I just don't believe that the cork is left mounded up like that. I don't see how it could be...no, nor how it could be justified.

As far as all that goes,...and as I indicated in a previous post(s)...ultimately cork is fugitive--it will migrate out from under the pressure points of the insole, esp. if the insole is more than rationally thin. If a hand-sewn inseam is done with care, it usually doesn't need much, if anything, as a bottom filler. But if one is used, felt...tarred felt if you can get it...is by far the better choice simply because it is not fugitive and will provide support and "cushioning" more reliably and for a longer span if time than cork.

Of course, it takes more time to fill with felt...more time, more energy and more expense.
post #169 of 1358
What you have in the video is before the corks being compressed. Rather of not its seen the same way after the shoes are constructed, only experienced cobbler could know. At the very least on the dismantling pictures I have seen, JL does NOT have a thicker/shaped cork filling.

That being said, JL's comfort mostly come from supple uppers instead of a flexible insole/outsole/corks.

My handwelted JLP and Meermin both wear better/more comfortable/more flexible sole than my pairs of JL RTW.
post #170 of 1358

Based on these pics of a disassembled Lobb the cork layer is not higher than usual after being compressed.

http://www.depiedencap.eu/spip.php?article104

post #171 of 1358

Thanks for all the responses!  I suspected most of what you all have said, but as DW said, the video has to be accurate so it left a question to be begged.  There must just be a step that they aren't documenting in the video, because the process that is shown in the video is the same as all other Goodyear-welted shoe production videos (cork paste is dispensed into the shoe by a machine, spread with a trowel, and set on a rack to dry).  I can only assume that after the cork dries, they are sanding it down flush with the welt prior to stitching on the sole, but it is purely speculation based on logic and knowledge of the construction process.  If this is what they are doing, it seems like a serious waste of materials.  Cork isn't cheap, and it isn't unlimited (as is evidenced by the fact that many wineries are resorting to screw caps or synthetic corks).  Why not just dispense enough cork into the shoe and spread it flush to begin with like all the other manufacterers?  It's interesting that the guy spreading the cork in the video is careful to mold it into a shape that is reminiscent of the fiddleback waist on the finished sole.  I know fiddleback waists have absolutely nothing to do with cork filler, but it's an interesting observation from the video. 

post #172 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post


Now, would the London company want to turn their backs to the loot coming from the machines?

Just a belated follow-up...if I rent my guest cottage to a couple that moves in lugging several cases of Johnny Walker Red, does that mean I have to give up on my Highland Park or Lagavulin?

cool.gif
post #173 of 1358

Ok, so I know I may be analyzing Lobb's videos too much, but here is another thing that seems suspicious.  At the end of this video:http://www.johnlobb.com/us/care-and-repair on "Care and Repair" they finally get to the topic of refurbishment within the last few seconds of the video (at time 6:34).  The video clearly shows someone disassembling a shoe down to it's individual components.  The sole, heel, welt, and cork is already gone before they show the shoe in the video.  They then show the person removing the shoe upper, and it almost looks like ripping the insole off of the bottom of the last (there appears to be a couple of nails going through the insole into the last).  The gemming rib is conspicuously absent as well.  While showing this, the video host says "So eventually, but naturally, the leather on the sole and heel will wear, needing replacement."  What he says they do versus what they imply by showing in the video are extremely different.  Placing the shoe on the original last and replacing the sole, heel, welt, and cork is common place and nothing special.  All of the high-end ready-to-wear manufacterers do this.  However, the implication of what they are showing is that they will completely disassemble your shoes, replace any component that is worn or in need of replacement, re-last the shoe, and re-assemble it properly.  I don't want to jump to a conclusion and call B.S. too quickly, since I don't own any Lobbs and have no personal experience with their refurbishment program, but if they are doing all that work then they are certainly the only ones I know of.  I know that some have mentioned elsewhere in this thread and in discussions regarding gemming that the manufacterer will inspect the gemming and replace it if necessary during refurbishment, so perhaps more companies disassemble their shoes during refurbishment than I realize.  I say that because I don't think gemming can be replaced without removing the insole because of the way the machine that applies it is set up.  Repairing the existing gemming with some glue is understandable and expected, and could be done while the shoe remains intact on the last.  My understanding with Goodyear-welted shoes (when sending them to the original manufacterer) has been that the sole, heel, welt, and cork are replaceable, some minor repair to the gemming may be done, and the uppers are refinished.  Nothing more.  If you neglect the care of your shoes and the uppers, linings or insoles deteriorate, you are out of luck.  If Lobb is doing all this extra work, it makes them a much higher value from a price standpoint.  Thoughts and experiences that support or contradict any of this? 

post #174 of 1358
JL RTW do replace insoles if a replacement is determined needed and doable by its refurbishing department.
post #175 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

JL RTW do replace insoles if a replacement is determined needed and doable by its refurbishing department.

 

Thanks for the response.  The only other possible support that I've seen that a company may disassemble their shoes more than commonly thought comes from this photo that recently popped up on Horween's site of a tour of Alden's factory.  There is clearly a stack of worn insoles sitting next to the machine.  This makes me wonder if Alden Restoration also takes their shoes apart to replace individual components more than previously thought.  Maybe more of the companies do this than "published' information suggests.  If so, it's a good thing, since it will only prolong the life and value of a pair of Goodyear-welted shoe that much more. 

 

post #176 of 1358

A newbie question and i want to learn from the knowledgeable members here.

 

I was ready to plunk the cash for a JL RTW when i was on a trip to San Francisco few months ago.

 

Was looking at getting a loafer as my daily life/work calls for nothing more formal (Why buy something good when you get to wear it often right?)

Even though one of my friend told me its a waste to get JL loafers only, should go for more formal styles.

 

So i was at a big name dept store and got the chance to check out some calf penny loafers for JL.

Maybe i am not seasoned enough to appreciate or can tell the difference between a well made shoe and a VERY well made shoe aka JL.

Maybe its the shoes that were not taken care of thats on display, it didnt even make me have the urge to try it on.

Very dull looking.

 

I proceed to walk into Alden few blocks down and was very impress, maybe the shoes were shiny and conditioned?

Tried on a pair of loafers, was on sale, felt very comfortable and paid and left a happy man.

 

This all happened BEFORE i discovered this forum.

 

So please everyone, i have a few questions.

 

1- Calf being calf, how good is JL's calf compared to the rest? In this case my only good shoe is the Alden i have now.

2- Comparing both, i cant tell the difference in quality of stitch & construction. Can someone point out?

3- I would guess if taken care of properly both will last just as long since its made from the same animal skin?

 

I travel once a year and Taiwan is one of my stops and i know there is a Jl RTW store there, with the tax refund i think might be a good place to visit and finally test the shoes out.

 

Thanks all for taking the time to read my long winded post.

post #177 of 1358
I think the issue is less one of quality of Lobb vs Alden, as it is more of a question as to which style you prefer. For me, personally, it is no contest in terms of the lasts. The reason I own no Aldens is because of the blob-like nature of most of their lasts. I have never thought the quality of Alden shoes to be an issue. And I find JL's 7000 last to be sublime, probably my favorite after EG's 888 or 82.

That being said, if you're going for a penny loafer, that is right in Alden's wheelhouse.

In general, I think its hard to compare the quality of a $300-400 calf leather Alden shoe to a $1100-1800 JL Classic or Prestige edition shoe. They're not really meant to even be in the same ball park.

Construction-wise, Lobb's are billed as requiring 190 separate actions to make each shoe, if you buy into that sort of thing.
post #178 of 1358
Quote:
Originally Posted by takashi78 View Post

A newbie question and i want to learn from the knowledgeable members here.

 

I was ready to plunk the cash for a JL RTW when i was on a trip to San Francisco few months ago.

 

Was looking at getting a loafer as my daily life/work calls for nothing more formal (Why buy something good when you get to wear it often right?)

Even though one of my friend told me its a waste to get JL loafers only, should go for more formal styles.

 

So i was at a big name dept store and got the chance to check out some calf penny loafers for JL.

Maybe i am not seasoned enough to appreciate or can tell the difference between a well made shoe and a VERY well made shoe aka JL.

Maybe its the shoes that were not taken care of thats on display, it didnt even make me have the urge to try it on.

Very dull looking.

 

I proceed to walk into Alden few blocks down and was very impress, maybe the shoes were shiny and conditioned?

Tried on a pair of loafers, was on sale, felt very comfortable and paid and left a happy man.

 

This all happened BEFORE i discovered this forum.

 

So please everyone, i have a few questions.

 

1- Calf being calf, how good is JL's calf compared to the rest? In this case my only good shoe is the Alden i have now.

2- Comparing both, i cant tell the difference in quality of stitch & construction. Can someone point out?

3- I would guess if taken care of properly both will last just as long since its made from the same animal skin?

 

I travel once a year and Taiwan is one of my stops and i know there is a Jl RTW store there, with the tax refund i think might be a good place to visit and finally test the shoes out.

 

Thanks all for taking the time to read my long winded post.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhiloVance View Post

I think the issue is less one of quality of Lobb vs Alden, as it is more of a question as to which style you prefer. For me, personally, it is no contest in terms of the lasts. The reason I own no Aldens is because of the blob-like nature of most of their lasts. I have never thought the quality of Alden shoes to be an issue. And I find JL's 7000 last to be sublime, probably my favorite after EG's 888 or 82.

That being said, if you're going for a penny loafer, that is right in Alden's wheelhouse.

In general, I think its hard to compare the quality of a $300-400 calf leather Alden shoe to a $1100-1800 JL Classic or Prestige edition shoe. They're not really meant to even be in the same ball park.

Construction-wise, Lobb's are billed as requiring 190 separate actions to make each shoe, if you buy into that sort of thing.

 

Takashi78, I would first say congratulations on having insight that many people in this forum never seem to attain.  You succeeded in seeing that price in Goodyear-welted shoes does not necessarily make a better shoe, atleast not without defining what "better" is.  It is common knowledge that John Lobb spends more time and effort in the finishing of their shoes to give them a more elegant presentation.  That is essentially what you are paying such an enormous premium for.  If the extra level of finishing is that important to you, then spend the extra money if you have it.  As Philovance pointed out, the shape of the last may well be another reason to buy shoes from a particular maker, and that is perfectly fine.  However, last shape doesn't have a direct impact on cost of manufactering.  Both shoes are manufactered using traditional Goodyear-welted techniques, and the pros and cons of this are discussed at length in this thread and many others.  Judge for yourself.  Therefore, your question about longevity of the shoes is a good question that is easily answered.  One shoe isn't likely to out-last the other given equal wear and care. 

 

I don't know what model of John Lobb you are referencing, but I assume that since you said you can't tell the difference between the Lobb and the Alden from a stitching perspective, the Lobb was likely seeking to emulate a traditional penny loafer, which is a quintessentially American look.  They generally have courser stitching, and aren't meant to be as refined.  It's part of the style of that shoe.  As Philovance pointed out, a traditional penny loafer is going to be a specialty for Alden, so you may just be picking up on the fact that they are making what they specialize in. 

 

Yes, Lobb says it takes 190 steps to make their shoes.  The number of steps that it takes to make a Goodyear-welted shoe is "approximately" 200 steps, give or take a few.  This is pretty much true for all makers of Goodyear-welted shoes, so don't put too much emphasis on the number itself.  I don't see where Alden specifically states how many steps it takes to make their shoes, but you can safely bet that it is around 200. 


Edited by MoneyWellSpent - 4/17/13 at 8:13am
post #179 of 1358

Thanks for the input.

 

If i remember correctly i was comparing the JL Lopez at the dept store.

 

The shoe i ended up getting from Alden is shown below.

The tip is more "pointy" than i like as i feel the more rounded style of the Lopez is more casual looking.

 

 

 

I have wide feet and the reason i choose this style and last is because the instant i tried the shoes on i felt very comfortable.

I think end of the day thats whats more important, comfort.

I originally had another style i liked but too bad it just did not fit right.

 

Maybe the mistake i made was not trying on the JL Lopez, didnt help the fact that a few SA at the shoe dept even saw me examine the JL for quite a few mins and didnt offer to attend to me.

 

But i will sure to test them out next year if i have chance to stop over in Taiwan on my way to San Francisco.

 

Question to the members:

 

- What styles or last is a wide fit for people like me who at least need a E/EE width to feel comfortable?

 

Dont know if this info helps i live in a tropical country where we see rain always.

I dont always walk indoors where is all carpet or smooth flooring and roads/streets here are quite bad. biggrin.gif

post #180 of 1358
Lopez is narrow at the front and wide at the heel.
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