Originally Posted by John Ellis
I've been buying Church's custom grade for 45 years. I have pairs over 30 years old that have been factory repaired several times and look excellent. I think the last shape was 73 and in all I must have about 15 pairs of different models. I never liked their Monkstrap-the buckle is to prominent. When they were acquired by the Italian handbag company and then subsequently sold to a private equity firm I feared the worst but although I haven't bought a pair for probably five years the quality looks pretty good to me. They are still made at the Church's factory in Northampton so why shouldn't it be. They seem to have put all my old favorites like the Diplomat, Cromwell and Balmoral on a new square toed last and it gives the shoe a more modern look but which still looks very classic. I've noticed the prices creeping up, well you've got to repay all that debt somehow, and I think a pair in NYC is now around $750 which is approaching EG prices but I hear RL are soon going to be charging $1300 for their EG sourced product and this still makes the Church's something of a bargain. In fact I'd argue they've probably been somewhat underpriced relative to their quality. They get mixed notices here but I'm a fan as you can tell. They don't have quite the finish of the EG's and when I could afford it started buying some of his shoes but I'm very fond of my Church's.
I think there is much truth to this. The Church's bashing that goes on is mostly a product of forum group think, fuelled by our (rightful) collective hatred of Prada. I think Church's make some very fine shoes indeed and are severely underrated. The leather quality and construction of their top of the range shoes (with the oak bark soles) is far superior to any C&J Benchgrade and even surpass their Handgrades. The 002 last is also a very elegant last.