You ever handled an $800 shoe from another maker? You clearly don't know enough to be making an informed comment. What does being locally sourced mean? Are you making excuses for the crap leather he uses?
Andrew McDonald's shoes look and feel second-rate. That's generous. They are horrendously over-priced. Just because you made it with your hands, doesn't mean it is any better than something made by machine.
Look, I'm Australian too. As much as I'd love to support a local operation, I'm going to call an orange an orange. His shoes are over-priced and poor quality relative to that price. You'd be extremely better off spending your money on mid-tier English shoes, such as Crockett & Jones.
Why don't you post pictures of your elite shoes detailing the differences? Better yet, seeing as you're such the big spender you imply cut them in half and provide a breakdown of both.
Although you can't structure a question, I'll answer what you implied - I do have 800+ shoes; A testoni black label and JL, but hey, these are probably poorly hand crafted shoes in Bologna and the UK.
Seeing as you know more about AM than I, please do tell when you visited the workshop, felt his shoes and watched them being crafted. I'm all ears and it will save me the trouble.
EDIT: if you were bright enough to read my post, you would have noticed I said I would go into the store and confirm. So, no, I'm not making excuses for the "crappy" leather as I have no idea what he uses, or who his suppliers are.
Edited by elvish - 11/22/12 at 2:37pm