In my experience buying shoes online, quality control is superior for Herring branded shoes compared to Barker, which I've also purchased from Herring. From what I've seen, Barker's finishing standards can be a little sloppy. While Herring isn't perfect, they'll usually bend over backwards to ensure you're happy with Herring branded shoes, providing of course your expectations are comparable with money paid. Personally, I don't risk buying Barker shoes online anymore, since I've not yet seen a pair I'm happy with (have had to return twice in the past). If I could buy in a store, where it is possible to see a pair prior to the purchase, I wouldn't necessarily have the need to avoid Barker.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I was leaning slightly towards them for their looks already, but this is the type of feedback I was hoping for. Sounds like you have confirmed my choice.
From what I've read, those shoes are made for Herring by Loake anyway, so import ban, eat your heart out.