Three stitch-holes wouldn't be thrilling to me for shoes at this money, but I mainly agree about the loose grain in the leather. They're casual shoes...
The only problem I would have with that is that Gustin's model implies you are backing and purchasing an item being made specifically for you. I'll have to do more research on their site policies to know if my assumptions are correct, but the whole 3 month wait and what not means that product has not yet been made. It's implied that it will be unworn and unused.
They have a stock store specifically for returns or overruns, which they mark-up for by the way. In my personal opinion, that's where the returned shoes should be sold. Sending a returned pair to someone who backs a product with a quoted lead time is deliberately misleading.
We design boutique-quality handmade menswear. We create a campaign for an item, you back it. Once the number of items backed reaches the campaign goal, the item is successfully funded and we start production."
-First question of how does it work. They explicitly state that they start production when it funds. That 100% means that your item hasn't been made.
No, sorry! We keep very limited inventory in our shop for returns, and don't offer them for sale."
-Returns are not offered for sale. This is all info directly from their site. I'm just reading what their stated policies are. You do bring up good points about how a crowdsourcing company ideally works to fulfill orders, from their perspective. Maybe a simple additional sentence on their how it works page could help them be more transparent. Gustin's my first crowdsourcing company so I'm learning as I go with them, and until you helped explain an ideal crowdsourcing model from the business's perspective, I had no other recourse than to take their stated policies as fact.
I'm not trying to stir the pot here, but it seems like folks are jumping hard to the extremes.
In any case, my net advice to the OP on this topic is to put the shoes on and look at your self in the mirror. Do they look good? Do they fit well? If yes, I'd move and an take some happiness from the fact you didn't have to wait so long. If they don't, I'd send Gustin a thoughtful e-mail and ask to be put back on the original list/timing you had before. Since the campaign was closed, they wouldn't have sold your spot, right?
To those who object to receiving a pair of shoes with a sign of having been tried on -- what do you think happens to the shoes or clothing that you tried on but didn't buy at Nordstroms, or Allen Edmonds, or any online or offline retailer? They're put back on the shelves for sale as new, regardless of the price of the item. If you insist on never getting an item that has been previously tried-on by anyone, the only likely result is that you'll force retailers to eliminate the "return" and "try before you buy" options.
On a positive note, I received a 2-pack of the heather grey t-shirts last week. Ordered from the 'stock' store. They're nice shirts, and I wouldn't have cared if there had been a sign of them having been tried on (but there wasn't).