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Shoe Dissection: Allen Edmonds, John Lobb, Bostonian and More!

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I was surfing the web (curious about the topic) and his the jackpot. Seems like a poster named Lordpoint is about the coolest person ever and chopped up a ton of shoes, including AEs, JLs, J&Ms, and a few others. I've aggregated his dissections below.

It'll take you a while to look through them all but it is really worthwhile. I've ordered the list roughly in the "SF quality hierarchy". Funny thing is, as you study Lordpoint's work, you'll really see the quality changes as you go down the list.

John Lobb
http://imgur.com/a/SeYXO

Allen Edmonds
http://imgur.com/a/iRQke

Alled Edmonds - Slice
http://imgur.com/a/itPx7

Johnston and Murphy (Goodyear Welt)
http://imgur.com/gallery/B46BJ/

Bostonian (Goodyear Welt)
http://imgur.com/a/sJQgY

Banana Republic (Cemented)
http://imgur.com/a/txNqx
post #2 of 45
Thread Starter 
Anybody look through these?
post #3 of 45
The Lobb's are bespoke shoes -- it looks like by Lobb Paris given the John Lobb signature on the sock liner. Very nice series of pictures in that tear down. I haven't looked at the others.
post #4 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoefan View Post

The Lobb's are bespoke shoes -- it looks like by Lobb Paris given the John Lobb signature on the sock liner. Very nice series of pictures in that tear down. I haven't looked at the others.

I looked at several others. The Lobbs is the best of the bunch and the most thorough.
post #5 of 45
Definitely a few interesting things in those Lobb shoes. The 3rd layer of leather from the facings back down the quarters is something I've not seen before; the uppers I've seen use leather reinforcement for the eyelets but not as large as those shown. Also, the strip around the holdfast, presumably to fill in the channel cut for the inseam stitching. Further, the white stuff (made from?) between the leather filling and the outsole. Perhaps to eliminate leather-on-leather squeaking, or to add water resistance?

Also, the angle of the awl holes through the holdfast, not perpendicular but (as DW's written elsewhere) more in line with the joint line of the foot. Fun also to see the outsole stitching thread through the underside of the welt; you can clearly see the rectangular shape of the holes created by the square awl and fully filled by the thread.
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoefan View Post

Definitely a few interesting things in those Lobb shoes. The 3rd layer of leather from the facings back down the quarters is something I've not seen before; the uppers I've seen use leather reinforcement for the eyelets but not as large as those shown. Also, the strip around the holdfast, presumably to fill in the channel cut for the inseam stitching. Further, the white stuff (made from?) between the leather filling and the outsole. Perhaps to eliminate leather-on-leather squeaking, or to add water resistance?

Also, the angle of the awl holes through the holdfast, not perpendicular but (as DW's written elsewhere) more in line with the joint line of the foot. Fun also to see the outsole stitching thread through the underside of the welt; you can clearly see the rectangular shape of the holes created by the square awl and fully filled by the thread.

Yes, it is very interesting. I too have never seen the facing backer extent into the topline area. I have done the holdfast /channel filler, but I finally just decided that, for me, it was amateur hour stuff (no offense to the maker). I can cut, what is fundamentally, a vertical channel in the insole and sew my inseam just fine, without removing any leather. Then I can close it back up and virtually hide the stitches completely. As a bonus nothing is removed and the insole stays level and no filler is needed.

I don't know what that white layer is...he says it's rubber. Mmphm. And I wasn't impressed with all the nails in the heel stack heel seat. But I'm a peg fanboy.

Otherwise quite a nice shoe and a good dissection. That said, I don't agree with many of his concluding remarks. On the other hand,he's not a shoemaker, he doesn't really know what goes into a high end shoe...bespoke or RTW...in terms of labour or technique / skill, so it's to be expected I suppose.
post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 
Those JLs are out of my range and those Banana Republics are below my range. I was very interested in the dissection between the AE's, J&Ms, and Bostonians.

What I found most interested was the corners J&M and Bostonian cut with their goodyear welt models, such as:
1. Excessive use of paper/cardboard or cellulose board
2. Rubber welts!
3. Lots of foam, eww
4. canvas lining

Now, I recognize to a elite bespoke shoe-maker, GY welt with non-feather insoles (is that the right term?) using linen plyrib tape is an atrocity, but what J&M and Bostonian did seem much worse. Heck...I'm pretty sure I've seen in vids Edward green, C&J, etc using linen plyrib tape on the insole.
post #8 of 45

Very cool, OP. I'm a big fan of this stuff.

 

Re. the Allen Edmonds. In another thread, there was some kind of heel insert that had a protruding part that looks like a jigsaw piece sticking out. It sat on top of the cork. Some were opining that this was AE's version of the shank.  Yours didn't have it. Maybe they did it in the old days or just some models.

 

I agree with your conclusion of diminishing returns once you get to a certain price point.  If you look at 2 assembly lines with one being all or mostly human manufacturing and one with most of the manufacturing done by machines/computer-aided (robots!) with minimal human supervision. The 1st will have more mistakes to the final product.  2nd one will have less errors and be cheaper.  Again, this is for average sized feet.  If you have non-standard feet, it may make sense for you to go with bespoke.

 

Thanks, again.

post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolarrow View Post

I agree with your conclusion of diminishing returns once you get to a certain price point.  If you look at 2 assembly lines with one being all or mostly human manufacturing and one with most of the manufacturing done by machines/computer-aided (robots!) with minimal human supervision. The 1st will have more mistakes to the final product.  2nd one will have less errors and be cheaper. 

Thanks, again.

Two things to say about that:

Men's shoes reached their zenith in the mid to late 19th century...before assembly lines and machines were widespread or the default for shoe-manufacturing. Nothing since...even computer aided...has come close. Show me a machine that can do 50 stitches to the inch (much less the legendary 64).

Second, the vast majority of complaints on this forum...I would guess 90%....about defects in shoes are related to factory made, machine-made shoes. Many of those defects are major. And many don't get reported at all, simply because there's no one person who can be held responsible...and so consumers who "discover" them just bend over.

And esp. in manufacturing, most "aesthetic" problems are fundamentally structural problems. Whether in the shoe itself or in the process...and because they're all "stamped out" copies, the problems tend to get duplicated over and over again. Sometimes to the point where consumers are forced to embrace and defend those problems as "features"...or lose face.

There's an ongoing discussion about one such problem in the Official Shoe Care Thread right now. Shouldn't have happened. Probably wouldn't have happened even with the most inexperienced bespoke maker.

Finally, all manufactured shoes are essentially clones of each other. And made with, relatively speaking, dumbed down techniques and poor materials. They are all...as Pete Seeger once sang..."ticky-tacky and they all look the same."

There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one...



--
Edited by DWFII - 9/2/14 at 7:47am
post #10 of 45

I haven't looked at all of it yet but I find it pretty interesting so far. Thanks for sharing.

post #11 of 45
One thing that needs to be said...for the sake of "full disclosure," if nothing else....except for the Lobb, none of these are high end shoes. Not even for manufactured shoes...although they probably represent a "trend" that I have noted before. Most have paperboard insoles and paperboard heel stacks. Unfortunately, the person doing the dissection isn't entirely conversant with shoe manufacturing methods or materials and his observations and conclusions are often suspect or just plain wrong.

FWIW....
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

One thing that needs to be said...for the sake of "full disclosure," if nothing else....except for the Lobb, none of these are high end shoes. Not even for manufactured shoes...although they probably represent a "trend" that I have noted before. Most have paperboard insoles and paperboard heel stacks. Unfortunately, the person doing the dissection isn't entirely conversant with shoe manufacturing methods or materials and his observations and conclusions are often suspect or just plain wrong.

FWIW....

 

I find that very true.

 

John Lobb Paris does very nice and clean work all around.  Here's another pair at resoling

 

Sole and heel seperated from welt/insole.

 

Leather shank.

 

Insole.

post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patek14 View Post

Those JLs are out of my range and those Banana Republics are below my range. I was very interested in the dissection between the AE's, J&Ms, and Bostonians.

What I found most interested was the corners J&M and Bostonian cut with their goodyear welt models, such as:
1. Excessive use of paper/cardboard or cellulose board
2. Rubber welts!
3. Lots of foam, eww
4. canvas lining

Now, I recognize to a elite bespoke shoe-maker, GY welt with non-feather insoles (is that the right term?) using linen plyrib tape is an atrocity, but what J&M and Bostonian did seem much worse. Heck...I'm pretty sure I've seen in vids Edward green, C&J, etc using linen plyrib tape on the insole.

 

Nope.  EG, C&J, JL, etc, all uses real leather insoles. 

 

C&J does use linen for lining and both EG and C&J do use celestica for toe stiffeners, but that's another story.

post #14 of 45
Quote:
I'm pretty sure I've seen in vids Edward green, C&J, etc using linen plyrib tape on the insole.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Nope.  EG, C&J, JL, etc, all uses real leather insoles. 

C&J does use linen for lining and both EG and C&J do use celestica for toe stiffeners, but that's another story.

I think he was talking about gemming...could be mistaken but the word "rib tape" would suggest it.
post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


I think he was talking about gemming...could be mistaken but the word "rib tape" would suggest it.

DWFII is correct. I am not talking about hybrid material insoles, toe support, or partial canvas liners. I'm talking about applying plyrib tape around the insole, rather than thinning the sides of the insole and direct sticking to the insole.

Any usage of canvas/flax on the interior lining would be very bad for rotting. I don't have any C&Js, but would assume any linen in the lining is wedged between leather layers only for stiffness?
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