Finally received my Vogel custom shoes and as promised here are some pics and opinions, for whatever they're worth. Fit/Comfort: It is by far the best fitting shoe I have - on both feet. My right foot is half a size shorter, a full width wider, and flatter than my left foot. This leads to all sorts of fitting issues when buying RTW leather shoes unless I special order different sizes. Both my feet feel comfortable all the way from the heel to the toe. Neither foot slips at the heel, and both sets of toes have wiggle room. My one negative point about the fit, is when I flex the shoe, there seems to be excessive material bunching up above the toes. Not sure how or if they could fix this without destroying the overall fit, so I'll use the shoe a few weeks before deciding whether to do anything about this. The good fit alone enhances comfort, but there is nothing special about the insole that makes this an ultra comfortable shoe. Also I don't think anything special was done to account for one foot being flatter than the other. I wore the shoe yesterday while tromping around the city for a whole day checking out father's day sales and it still felt good at the end of the day. I think because of the fit, this shoe will figure frequently in my rotation. Looks: Hardly the nicest looking shoe, but it was never intended to be. Its primary purpose is to be worn with jeans or textured casual slacks. For what it is, I think it's quite handsome, but was never intended to draw much attention. It was quite surprising when some people complimented me on this shoe - these same people have never said a word about my Edward Green or Vass shoes. Go figure. The design is not a stock Vogel shoe. I gave them a printout of this picture of the Edward Green Dover from dressy.net to use as a sample. I indicated that the picture doesn't show the split-toe, and also told them to make no attempt at duplicating the handwork on the uppers, and to simply attach the apron as they would on any other shoe. I am quite satisfied that they followed my instructions and the end result looks like the sample, in profile at least. Construction and overall quality: Despite many hours spent on these forums, my knowledge of shoe construction still leaves much to be desired. The shoe is entirely machine made, though possibly hand-cut. All the stitching is very even and neat. The edges of the leather are neatly cut and in perfect alignment. The shoe is welted; whether it's Goodyear welted or not, I can't say. Bear in mind that if you do not specifically request a welted shoe, Vogel will provide a bonded shoe. There is no extra charge for standard welting, though a reverse welt may incur an additional fee. The leather seems to be of fair quality though nothing special. It's English calf from a company called Pebody (maybe spelled Peabody). They have much nicer looking leathers in their swatch book, but those would not have been appropriate for this shoe. The sole seems soft, which I'm led to believe is an indication of poor quality though it certainly enhances immediate comfort. I was expecting the stitching on the sole to be completely exposed as it is on some of their sample shoes, but it seems like they've made some attempt at channeling, though the end-result is not very attractive. See pics for more detail. Service: I'm going to rate the service as very good so far. They suffered through 3 visits from me, and answered all my questions before I placed an order. However there was a delay in delivering the shoes: it took 16 weeks instead of the promised 12 weeks. The ultimate test will be how they handle things when or if I request any alterations. Aesthetics: Laces are too short Gap between laces is somewhat wide, though I didn't specify any requirements for this. Shoe trees are excellent but are an additional $55. As RIDER has mentioned previously they are from Dunkelman/Dasco - specifically the model 640. No shoe bags or branded box. They came in a shipping box wrapped with lots of paper. My name and order date is printed on the inside of the tongue More pics to follow.
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6/20/04 at 11:08am