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Best dress shoes

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I think it might be helpful for newer viewers to see the taste of the regular posters here. Who do you think makes the best shoes in the following categories? Custom made shoes Ready to wear shoes
post #2 of 32
I think most of the forum is unanimous regarding RTW shoes: Edward Green. Jon.
post #3 of 32
E. Green is a little pricey for my budget, so I'm almost solely (heh) a Johnston and Murphy man, with occasional on-sale grabs of Cole Haan. J&M has a wide selection, online ordering is very easy, and they have periodic sales (2-3 times annually), of which they notify people via email, that are great. Last sale they had, I picked up a pair of black monkstraps, a pair of brown captoes and some end-of-season leather sandals for less than $400.
post #4 of 32
Quote:
I think most of the forum is unanimous regarding RTW shoes: Edward Green.
At the discounts many here have been able to find, a great shoe. The custom program, great shoe. RTW NYC prices, I'm not so sure. IMO, the best price/quality ratio for British shoes belongs to Cheaney. In America, Alden. As for the Italians, the best Blake factory is Gravati, I love the Blake/Rapid shoes from Martegani (I'm biased as my previous posts make apparent) and the best Norwegians come from Mantellassi, although Borgioli and Harris make almost as well for much less. Alexander Nicolette, Speroni, Lidfort, Nipmar and Peluso all make very nice shoes for the money, if you can find them. A couple of Spanish fatories are worth noting as well; Igmapa (Pertini brand - excellent welted shoes, mocs and others are decent) and Yanko.
post #5 of 32
While I love EG, I wonder about the price/quality ratio. Not long ago, someone asked forum members to rate all brands of dress shoes as to quality, with the benchmark being the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue assumed to have a 100 score. I wonder what the ratings would be if the forum member's beliefs about comparative value was also thrown in. Assume that one shops around and can find the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue at $250; about the price that you can get a pair at Bennie's. What are other brands really worth in comparison, with that being the benchmark. My own ratings: Edward Green-$400 John Lobb-Paris-no experience Grenson Masterpiece-$350 C&J Handgrades-$350 J. M. Weston-$300 Alden-$275 C&J regular grade (some BB Peal)-$275 Alfred Sargeant (some BB Peal)-$225 I do not have any experience with Cheany, Italian makes or Berluti, so I will not list them. On studying my own ratings, it appears that the pound is probably generally too high versus the dollar, since you can actually get AE, Alden and Peal (when they are on sale at Brooks) for about these prices, but you will be hard-pressed to find the others at the quality to value price ratios I have given. It comes down to this for me; I do not have unlimited funds. Therefore, the decision to buy EG, for example, all depends on how much of a perfectionist I am and how highly I value wearing what I consider to be the top shoes, regardless of the cost. Ken Pollock
post #6 of 32
Everyone knows I am an AS partisan. Nevertheless, for AS Knightsbridge, Country, Veldtschoen and Premier lines (everything but Classic), the quality is above Allen Edmonds and equal to CJ's (not including handgrades). I think AS is on a par with Aldens, except that Aldens regular designs are stodgy by comparison. I know of the Alden Fan shoes, and these designs appear to be as good as anything AS makes. AS Classic seem on a par with the Allen Edmonds I have seen, all things considered. Of the 6 pairs I have bought now, the ones I would "write home about" are the Dartmouth, the Yardley, and the Veldtschoen with leather sole (this last perhaps an acquired taste). Were I in a good mood, I might add the whole cut except I would have appreciated a more chiseled toe and elongated silhouette.
post #7 of 32
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post #8 of 32
Quote:
I think most of the forum is unanimous regarding RTW shoes: Edward Green.
I think we are unanimous in that we all love Edward Green shoes. But "best" is a subjective term - it means different things to different people. I could never pick a "best" brand myself, I like lots of different shoes, from different makers, and for different reasons.
post #9 of 32
Quote:
While I love EG, I wonder about the price/quality ratio.
It's been observed in other contexts that there's not a linear relationship between quality and price for shoes (or for much else, for that matter). An Edward Green shoe costs 2.5 to 3 times as much as an Alden shoe at retail. Is it 2.5 or 3 times as good a product? Of course not. Is it demonstrably superior? Certainly. Whether the differences are worth the money is a question that everyone will have to answer for himself. As to the original question, it really is impossible to identify the best RTW shoes. There are a number of excellent RTW shoe brands, and which you select on a particular day is dictated by your individual tastes, your moods, and what you're wearing.
post #10 of 32
My only nice shoes are Allen Edmonds. I had some Pradas, but they sucked. The AE's are great. Green doesn't make an RTW that fits me. -Tom
post #11 of 32
And what about Church's?
post #12 of 32
Anyway, Alden is my number one for cordovan shoes.
post #13 of 32
Quote:
And what about Church's?
It seems they have many new models which looks not to bad, at least better than what they made these 3 last years. The upscale range, "masterclass" looks nice.
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Quote:
(Giona Granata @ 06 Oct. 2004, 09:21) And what about Church's?
It seems they have many new models which looks not to bad,  at least better than what they made these 3 last years. The upscale range, "masterclass" looks nice.
Right, but at around $500 including tax (and some models breaking 500 euro) the shoes simply are grossly overpriced. I haven't looked at the new ones up close enough to see if they're corrected grain, but stitched aloft, with clunky lasts, the shoes really don't deliver for that price. Go for Tricker's (lasts might be similarly clunky but very, very well made) or Crockett and Jones. Alfred Sargent Premier Exclusives deliver a much better shoe at a much lower price. That said, "Tootsie Plohound" is a dumbass name for a retailer (cf AAAC). I think Green makes a fantastic RTW shoe; I've had nothing but phenomenal service from the Green personnel and the Green corner at Old England. To the RTW shoe best of list I suppose we should add Silvano Lattanzi/Borrelli (made by Lattanzi?) as well as Kiton. Fantastic shoes but only when judged when price is no object. $2000 for ready-to-wear shoes is certifiably insane. The Lobb bootmaker soles are nice, but $1200 for them? I've got some Green special orders down the pike and have specified (very) bevelled waists for them: they're quite accomodating for much less. Watch this space. In terms of shoe value for money, I suppose Trickers and Alfred Sargent Premier stand out. I've seen a French brand called Loding at ludicrously low prices for quality shoes (channelled soles, antiqued leather, decent construction for 150 euros). I'm curious if anyone else knows it. And of course, Vass ready-to-wear, which is constructed in the same way as Vass bespoke, is another contender for best RTW shoe. Fantastically well made, although it appears that there is no bevelling except on the chisel-toed U last (A Harris, correct me). Also no antiquing -- I suppose avoiding the ersatz-antiquing charges levelled against Berluti, Aubercy and Corthay.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
And of course, Vass ready-to-wear, which is constructed in the same way as Vass bespoke, is another contender for best RTW shoe. Fantastically well made, although it appears that there is no bevelling except on the chisel-toed U last (A Harris, correct me). Also no antiquing -- I suppose avoiding the ersatz-antiquing charges levelled against Berluti, Aubercy and Corthay.
Bevelling can also be done on the P2 last: In any event, a Budapest would look more than a little silly with a bevelled waist.
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