Originally Posted by Mr. Moo
They are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. No one is going to pay $1500 for Aldens, but they do pay $1500 for Lobbs.
Comparing the two shoes is like comparing a Ford to a Bentley. Source: I've owned multiple pairs of both.
Originally Posted by imolazhp_ci
to be fair.... i only own Alden's and Lobb's. to put Alden in the same sentence as Lobb from a construction quality perspective
, attention to detail, quality control is just absurd. All my Cordovan, Suede and CXL shoes are Alden, all my formal/calf shoes are Lobb. it's not even a comparison, nor should it be for double-triple the price, but to call Alden's a bargain is just dumb. Alden's are a fetish pure and simple. they are lovely, classic, etc. but the quality isn't that great. often buying alden's 100% feels like a fetish... like paying someone to spit in your face.
Originally Posted by mediahound
Not really. Aldens are a lot closer to John Lobbs than Fords are to Bentleys.
Originally Posted by Mr. Moo
Actually, I think my comparison is rather spot on.
Fords are purpose-built, with generally spotty quality control, a lack of attention to detail, while still commanding a decent premium over the truly cheap vehicles on the road.
Bentleys are rare, refined, hand made, with a meticulous finishing and every detail scrutinized and polished over several times. They are expensive, but people are willing to pay for them.
I am assuming that the Lobbs being referenced are JL Paris, and not the bespoke JL on St. James's street (which are in a completely untouchable league compared to either Alden or JL Paris). I agree that it goes without saying that there isn't much of a comparison between JL quality shoes (similar to EG, G&G, etc.) and Alden from an attention to detail and quality control perspective. However, from the construction quality standpoint, I have to say that people need to make sure they aren't letting these companies pull the wool over their eyes. That is, I interpret construction quality to be equitable to durability. From a durability standpoint, the law of diminishing returns pretty much kicks in at Allen Edmonds. Assuming you have a shoe that isn't structurally defective with faulty stitching, or leather defects that may surface after a few years of wear, then all of these shoes should last a similar period of time given equal wear and care. After all, we are talking about Goodyear-welted shoes constructed with gemming. To get above the durability threshold that a Goodyear-welted shoe with gemming offers, you have to move into hand-welted and bespoke shoes. These are the objective facts of the matter.
From a finishing perspective (QC and attention to detail), price moves into the subjective realm. As it was said, they are worth what people will pay for them. If you think that a JL shoe looks twice as nice as an Alden, then feel free to pay twice the price. Just don't expect it to last twice as long. If you are simply concerned about how many miles you will walk in your shoes, and if beauty of the shoe is secondary, then you shouldn't be spending more than what Allen Edmonds charges on a pair of shoes as long as you are stuck in the gemmed shoe game. Trying to compare shoes and justifying their prices using analogies like car makers is common in the forum, but problems with the analogies abound. If you are going to use cars as an analogy it probably makes more sense to compare makers that are more likely to compete. Ford isn't a competitor with Bentley. They are completely different markets, purposes, uses, etc. Perhaps calling JL a Bentley and Alden a Mercedes would make more sense. Then you can start nit-picking why one is more comfortable, better looking, smells better, feels better, whatever.
Whatever you do, don't buy into the belief that paying twice the price for a pair of Goodyear-welted gemmed JL's will get you twice the mileage than a pair of Goodyear-welted gemmed Aldens. Using the car analogy again.... there are probably alot more Honda's with a million miles on them driving around than Bentley's. To escape the law of diminishing returns, you have to go up in construction quality and look beyond the beauty of the shoe. Luckily, going up in quality of construction always retains beauty when it comes to shoes, so you get the best of both worlds there.