Here is a comparison review between Loake 1880 Strand and Alfred Sargent Exclusive Moore, priced at £198.95 and £395 respectively. I used the same format as Gentlemansgazette's shoe reviews. Warning: Spoiler!(Click to show)
Both are Adelaide semi brogues, whereas the Loake Strand has medallion toe caps.
Adelaide brogues are a variant of oxfords with broguing in a "U" shape around the laces and it does not intersect any other seams on the vamp, also called an "U Throat" oxford.
Normally, an oxford shoe has two separate pieces of leather for the vamp and the quarter that are sewed together. An Adelaide brogue has just one piece of leather for the vamp with no quarters, like a whole cut but with a separate piece for the facing.
THE LAST & FIT
Both are F width, very true to size. The AS 724 has a slightly more square chisel toe and a much narrower waist and heel, but never feels tight when wearing them. The Loake Capital last has about the same room at the ball of the foot as the AS, so the 2 lasts are very similar in fit and feel. I am normally a US E fitting in AE sizing.
The heel of the Loakes are lower than ASs.
I am happy with the overall finish on both pairs, but there are areas where you can tell that AS Exclusive Line makes one of the top quality RTW shoes in the market.
AS goodyear welt is channeled, compared to Loake's stitched aloft, a finer touch but not necessary more durable. Both have nice and neat brogueing, seams are stitched up nicely and so are the inside lining.
The finishing on the ends of the leather welt on the AS is much more neater and flush compare to the Loake. The burnishing of the Loake is inferior to the other AS burnished shoes, mainly in there are some very dark burnished patches where the leathers overlap, and where there is an uneven surface/indent on the leather upper, there is a lighter stripe not burnished.
The balance between the heel and last is better with AS, meaning that the sole will touch the floor in the area of the front arch when the heel stands flat on the ground, this means a more comfortable walk. The Loake does not have this balance, the sole is in the air when the heel is flat.
AS has a fiddle back waist compare to the straight waist of the Loake, it gives a more elegant touch, and looks better from all angles.
There are no odd loose ends and finishes in the full leather interior lining for both pairs, which can lead to a very uncomfortable break in period for some lower end shoes.
Both leather uppers and interiors are rather supple, no excess creasing from wearing and very comfortable from the first wearing. The Loake Strand has suede inside heel counter to prevent heel slippage, which is a nice touch while the Alfred Sargent Moore uses calf leather for inside heel counter.
However, one can tell the difference in leather by touch and feel.
The Loake 1880 line does have full grain leather uppers, however, when comparing to AS Exclusive line's full grain leather, here are the differences:
- Leather is very smooth and a lot less porous, feels like a heavy coating on the top, makes polishing very easy. This in a way confirms what some SF member's comment about lower end brand's full grain is somewhere between true full grain and corrected grain, perfectly acceptable at this price point.
- Leather is not as taut and thick as AS leather
While one can clearly see that AS Exclusive line is better than Loake 1880s, one must keep in mind there is a doubling of price. Both shoes fit me very well, so my feet can't feel the difference of the two yet, this may change if the Loake wears down quicker due to a lower grade leather, but I don't think it will since I only wear each pair once a fortnight as a part of my shoe rotation. From a practicality standpoint, better burnishing and detailing doesn't make the shoe last longer, nor can anyone tell the difference when they standing 1 m away. But since we are on the SF, detailing are looks are generally more important in the mind of the shoe owner and this is why we pay double or more for a pair of higher grade shoes.
The Loake 1880s, from my experience, are one of the best goodyear welt shoes in terms of fit, style, leather and workmanship in the sub 200 pound price point.
Great comparision, Strand looks very nice in these pictures.
My only pair of Loake shoes, tan grain boots for C.T, always impressed with the overall quality and look, especially after a good polishing.
The black cap toe oxford is one of the most versatile shoes a man can own, suitable for nearly all formal occasions from office to weddings. The Aldwych is Loake's best seller in the 1880 range and also the most elegant English men's shoe to be recognised by its closed lacing, and its only decoration is the double seam along the straight toe cap and the join between the vamp and the quarters. On a closed lacing shoe, the quarters are sewn under the vamp and fasten together by laces over the tongue, which is sewn onto the vamp.
THE LAST & FIT
The Aldwych is on the Capital last, Loake's most straightforward last, designed to fit standard average feet, true to size. I purchased my normal UK 6.5F which had the right length, sufficient width, comfortable toe box and a snug heel. The Capital F last is similar to Alfred Sargent 724 F last, Tricker's 4537 fitting 5 last, which I also wear in UK 6.5. For reference, I wear a US 7 E in Allen Edmonds Park Avenue and Kenilworth.
The double stitching on the uppers is neat, same goes for the inside lining. Goodwear welt is stitched aloft, standard for shoes at the 200 pound price point. The soles have nice patterned grooves, which my cobbler applied topy to. There is a slight imbalance between the sole and heel, when the heel stands flat on the ground, there is a small gap between the sole and ground, again, quite common in shoes at this price range with pre-made leather heel blocks.
The heel is 2.5 cm/1 inch tall on a flat sole, common for most dress shoes; while the higher grade shoes from Gaziano Girling and Alfred Sargent have fiddle waist with a smaller but taller heel at close to 3cm/1.2 inch. In my opinion, a narrow waist with a small tall heel is more pleasing to the eye and more elegant.
If I look hard enough, I will find some imperfections in finishing and welt edge dressings, but none of these will take anything away from the quality of the shoe.
Both leather uppers and interiors are rather supple, no excess creasing from wearing and very comfortable from the first wearing. There is no suede inside heel counter to help with heel slippage, but that feature seem to be only available on brogue shoes. The upper is not very porous, thus relatively smooth, makes polishing very easy and produces very good shine.
Considering its relatively low price of 200 pounds, and been Loake's premiere line, it offers a pair of good quality goodyear welted shoes at a very affordable price, especially for people that doesn't live in UK or the US. Comparing to the my other higher grade English made shoes, there are differences when taking a really close look and feel the leather by hand, but then they do cost around twice as much as the Loakes.
The Loake 1880s, from my experience, are one of the best goodyear welt shoes in terms of fit, style, leather and workmanship in the sub 200 pound price point. Edited by wurger - 8/3/13 at 4:02pm