Vass uses a very high grade of calf, as good as anyone. The weakness, if any, lies in the depth of the selection. We are looking into some additional suppliers so that we can offer a greater range of colors, and of grained leathers. As shoefan mentioned, Vass shoes are not antiqued in the way an Edward Green, or even a C&J handgrade are. In the polishing phase, they highlight the leather with darker polish, but it is very subtle. We are working on some antiqued shoes, in fact I have what is perhaps the first antiqued prototype sitting next to me here. So in the future, that may be an option. As shoefan said, the U last and the Banana last are very different. The U is very long and slim, with a fairly pointed chisel toe, and fits appx. between an English C and D width. The banana is shorter, wider, and heavier in scale, with a pronounced asymmetrical shape (curved on the outside, straight on the inside.) You might also look at the P2 last which is a slimmer and more elegant version of the banana.