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State of men's dress shoes in Canada - revisisted

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
How difficult is it to find well priced quality dress shoes in Canada? $305USD Allen Edmonds shoes (that have no import duties under NAFTA) are selling for $410CDN (~$387USD). Ecco, J&M and Cole Haan shoes @ approx. $300 are considered high end dress shoes. Some so called high end shoe stores carry only 1 or 2 bals among a sea of bluchers in the whole store. A "good deal" is considered finding a pair of J&M Optima Waverly shoes for $120. Even the local store that rebadges Cheney's under their own name sell the dullest of models.

With the strength of the Canadian dollar and the fact that it is only a few cents away from par with the US dollar, dress shoes that were already overpriced in Canada vis-a-vis the US are now even pricier. With high prices for Italian and American made shoes, and very limited selection of English made shoes, with a few exeptions, the only option for Canadians is to buy our shoes online.

All this to ask fellow Canadian members where they buy their dress shoes and tips for buying shoes online and bringing them into Canada. There is nothing worse than the delivery man showing up with a huge bill for its fees (e.g. delivery from Grapevinehill).
post #2 of 19
Gosh...and I though we had it bad in Australia. We too suffer from a surfite of Eccos and worse. J&M and Cole Haan would make almost anything you can find here look like the very epitome of luxury.

Take a look at this website and you will see that AEs sell for $359 AUD ($320 Canadian) here, on the other side of Planet Earth!

http://www.petersheppard.com.au/

As for delivery from GVH, well, anything under $800 USD or so is exempt from import duty. Time to get writing to your local politicians methinks.
post #3 of 19
With GVH using Fed-Ex there is almost no way to avoid the duty. My best shoe buying experiences have been from the B&S forum here as the seller will ship with whatever method requested. GVH hasn't had much in the way of RLPL lately anyway. And the shoes here in Vancouver are surely just as bad. Someone would think our national shoe is the square bicycle-toe Ecco slip on, even with a suit.
post #4 of 19
I'm lead to believe that Dack's are a good Canadian-ish option. I say "ish" because apparently they are no longer made here but are made by Church's and are just labelled with the Canadian brand.

In my experience, though, eBay is definitely the route to go. Find the right seller, as I apparently did for the PAs that I received today, and you'll be able to avoid the taxes and customs charge.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carruthers View Post
I'm lead to believe that Dack's are a good Canadian-ish option. I say "ish" because apparently they are no longer made here but are made by Church's and are just labelled with the Canadian brand.

In my experience, though, eBay is definitely the route to go. Find the right seller, as I apparently did for the PAs that I received today, and you'll be able to avoid the taxes and customs charge.

Dack's are rebranded Cheaneys (see my first post). I find the styles boring or double soled business casual. The ones in brown are more expensive. I do have one pair I purchased as seconds for business casual.
post #6 of 19
Wasn't Holt supposed to start carrying C&J this year?
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by persid View Post
Wasn't Holt supposed to start carrying C&J this year?

I don't think they are carrying C&J. Church's, RLPL, Barker Black, yes. I haven't made it to the new Vancouver store yet to see the offerings, though.

As for getting hit with the crazy duty and brokerage fees from FedEx and UPS, you're best to have the items shipped to a depot at the border and go pick them up. Wear your suit with a pair of old tennis shoes and dump them when you pick up your new kicks. There is a place in blaine, washington just accross the border from Vancover that will accept deliveries and only charge you $2-$5 pick-up fee. I hink it's called Security Mail Service, or something like that.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by long_knives View Post
I don't think they are carrying C&J. Church's, RLPL, Barker Black, yes. I haven't made it to the new Vancouver store yet to see the offerings, though.

I was there last weekend and I was totally underwhelmed. The women's floors had a huge improvement and the men got the short end. The shoe choice had barely expanded: I did see a few RL but I didn't check to see their provenance. Everything else seemed the same as before -- focusing on Prada, Ecco, Church's, etc.

I still prefer Harry Rosen; the last sale I caught a few months ago had much more interesting shoes.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHoff View Post
I was there last weekend and I was totally underwhelmed. The women's floors had a huge improvement and the men got the short end. The shoe choice had barely expanded: I did see a few RL but I didn't check to see their provenance. Everything else seemed the same as before -- focusing on Prada, Ecco, Church's, etc.

I still prefer Harry Rosen; the last sale I caught a few months ago had much more interesting shoes.

Holt's is horrible for men.

Having said that, I haven't purchased shoes in while. I keep putting it off (hopefully for Ugolini bespoke this winter). I can get get EGs here in montrela but for 13-1400 + tax instead of 900-1000 in the states. It's a complete rip-off.

Holt's doesn't carry the EG RLPLs though. The ones they have are C&J. I also didn't see any CJ-branded shoes.

HR now carries A.Testoni. They have some decent ones but I can't see myself spending 900-1000 bucks on shoes without a channeled sole. There's absolutely no excuse for that.

At the low-end, you're basically screwed. If you're paying retail your best bet is to try and get ferragamos at end-of-season sales. They're normally priced 500-700.

I think our best option, for those that dont' travel to major us cities, is PLAL.
post #10 of 19
Just in time...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holt Renfrew
THE DESIGNER SALE Save up to 40% on selected men's, women's and kids' designer spring fashions and accessories.* Sale starts today. *Excluding cosmetics, fragrances, Tiffany, fine jewellery, watches and selected departments. No price adjustments on prior purchases. Certain restrictions apply. Please ask a Sales Associate for details. Offer valid at all stores except Last Call.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by gj555 View Post
How difficult is it to find well priced quality dress shoes in Canada? $305USD Allen Edmonds shoes (that have no import duties under NAFTA) are selling for $410CDN (~$387USD). Ecco, J&M and Cole Haan shoes @ approx. $300 are considered high end dress shoes. Some so called high end shoe stores carry only 1 or 2 bals among a sea of bluchers in the whole store. A "good deal" is considered finding a pair of J&M Optima Waverly shoes for $120. Even the local store that rebadges Cheney's under their own name sell the dullest of models.

With the strength of the Canadian dollar and the fact that it is only a few cents away from par with the US dollar, dress shoes that were already overpriced in Canada vis-a-vis the US are now even pricier. With high prices for Italian and American made shoes, and very limited selection of English made shoes, with a few exeptions, the only option for Canadians is to buy our shoes online.

All this to ask fellow Canadian members where they buy their dress shoes and tips for buying shoes online and bringing them into Canada. There is nothing worse than the delivery man showing up with a huge bill for its fees (e.g. delivery from Grapevinehill).

If you know your AE size, and are averse to ebay (which is how I buy all of my shoes), you can purchase AEs directly from Allen Edmonds for less than retail here - even when factoring in all the shipping and taxes. The savings is not significant, but it is somewhat telling of the shoe buying situation here in Canada!

This is especially annoying because I attempted to purchase a pair of AE Byron's from Harry Rosen. They didn't have my exact size, so they told me to trust them and they'd order me a pair, but offered no refund if they did not fit, and required I pay up front.

Why not just buy them direct then?
post #12 of 19
A couple of years ago, when Susie Jones was with EG and on a US trunk show tour, I was able to talk her into coming to Vancouver (since she was planning to end her trip in San Francisco, and returning to the UK via Vancouver made sense). So she committed to come to Vancouver, and I contacted Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen, and Ingledew's to see whether they would be interested in hosting a trunk show. The cost would be negligible for them as Susie had already committed to come to Vancouver. All they had to do was let Susie bring in the shoes for a couple of hours, set up in their store, and take orders. Well...as you've probably already guessed, I got a collective yawn from them all--absolutely no interest, even though it would have cost them nothing. I spent some time with the Harry Rosen manager at the Oakridge store, and got him to call Larry Rosen in Toronto who proceeded to summarily blow me off.

It was clear from this experience that none of the possible so-called high-end men's stores in Vancouver thought that there would be a market here, and they continued to be content to sell the mid-level (at best) shoes they have for a long time. I took this, incidentally, as evidence that Larry Rosen would not be the dynamic and more innovative CEO that his father had been, and would basically cater to the dominant market in Vancouver, which is extremely undiscerning. I was disappointed in this as it meant that there would be no risk-taking (minimal as it would be) with really high-end clothing and shoes here. That has, unfortunately, been the case, and I find that I seldom hit Harry Rosen any more when I'm at Oakridge or Pacific Centre.

The one source that I know of for C&J in Vancouver is Sheppard's Direct.

http://sheppardsdirect.com/

This is the aftermath of a once-thriving high-end shoe store in Vancouver. Now they operate by measuring your foot and then ordering in the shoe from England--something you can do yourself much more cheaply via PLal or Pediwear. Sheppard's Direct also bring in a. testoni and Alden. But the prices are very high ($975 Cdn. plus tax for C&J Handgrades; $1200 Cdn. and up for a. Testoni; $725 Cdn. plus tax for Alden shell cordovan), particularly when you realize that you can have a pair of C&J Handgrades delivered to your door from PLal for under $500 Cdn. or a pair of shell cordovan Aldens from one of several suppliers for something on the order of $575.

It's particularly disappointing that both Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen seem to think that the designer lines of shoes--Prada, Gucci, Hugo Boss--represent really high quality--and that they have not the slightest clue about welted vs. Blake construction vs. Blake/Rapid, etc. It's also really deplorable that British shoes are so hard to get in Canada. The various routes available to us to good shoes have been identified in earlier posts in this thread: eBay, PLal, direct from EG or G&G, B&S Forum. Pay attention to the experiences of others with the various lines, particularly wrt size and fit. PLal, for example, will allow returns if the fit is poor. I don't know of anyone who has had a bad experience with them; so that takes care pretty well of C&J.

Oh, by the way, three of us on this forum did very well from Susie's visit to Vancouver. We got sized so that future purchases could be made directly, and each ended up with some terrific shoes. I got a pair of Ashbys in antique chestnut and a pair of Newburys with medallion in antique burgundy!
post #13 of 19
Quote:
THE DESIGNER SALE

Save up to 40% on selected men's, women's and kids' designer spring fashions and accessories.*

aka, crappy discounts on crappy items
post #14 of 19
I also contacted Larry Rosen about the shoe situation. Although I got a response, I was essentially blown-off. It boggles my mind that a store with bespoke tailors and $5k rtw thinks nobody would buy a pair of really stunning shoes. They routinely sell suits for over 15k to some customers. It kills me that a company with revenues over a hundred million couldn't invest 100k to see if they sold in their main store.

As I've gained education I find myself shopping there less often. At this point i still use their bespoke tailor, but he's no longer the "bargain" he used to be. Prices for bespoke, especially with the exchange, are basically the same as NYC now.
post #15 of 19
If they big players aren't playing, maybe one of the mid-range men's stores like Brascia's or Madison's would be interested in hosting a trunk show? Though they don't normally sell shoes, it would get the right kind of customer into the store.
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