Went to another Bennie's, a suburban branch. They have the Grensons at all three of their stores. Apparently, Bennie's bought 540 pairs of Grensons. They sent back 110 pairs, because they were sizes 5-6. Â From looking through the boxes in the back, I would guess that 90% of what they still have left is Masterpieces. The sizing is American; not UK. Of all I tried on, the sizing seems to run very true, like that of Alden and AE, except that the Stowe, apparently on a very different last, was narrower. Their pricing is a bit weird for the Masterpieces ($150, $175 or $250), but so is the pricing of P**l S****t, which charges $625 for the "finest calfskin" models and $575.00 for the "French alpine calfskin" shoes. Actually, I can barely tell them apart, if at all. Although Bennie's also sells the regular grade (avoid them; they are only average) Grensons for $150.00, I would say that it is also selling 90% of the Masterpieces for the same $150. I looked long and hard at the rather plain Masterpiece cap toe that Bennie's is selling for $250 and which P**l S****t has for $625 and can't really tell any significant difference between it and the Masterpieces that both stores are selling for less. I caressed both the $250 and $150 models simultaneously, and although I might be fanaticizing that I could feel some difference, I would say that maybe on a 1-10 scale, the leather quality is a 9.8 for the $250 shoe and a 9.6 for the $150 one. That makes the $150 one an unbelievable bargain; it is only going for 1/4 of its true value. The bargain is nearly equal to Bennie's selling the discontinued $1,000 (really worth $1,200-$1,300 at today's prices) J& M hand-mades for $250, a few weeks back. Bennie's seems to have over a dozen styles (more than P**l S****t has); about 1/2 oxfords and 1/2 loafers. I even saw some tan/white spectators, both in an oxford and a tassel loafer. If anyone can wear a 10.5D, they have a spectacular double sole shell cordovan penny loafer, the same shoe I saw selling at the Grenson store in Brussels last Christmas for 750 Euros; Bennie's wants $200 for it. Other than that, I particularly recommend the cognac models and other lighter shades of brown if you are into antiqued shoes; the work was absolutely superb. There was nothing wrong with the burgundy or black ones, either, however.
post #16 of 80
8/28/04 at 4:32pm