I actually ended up buying a pair of Loakes as I managed to try a few on at DJs (I ordered from HerringShoes in the UK eventually, however) and the Loakes fit and felt a lot better for my narrower feet than the equivalents I could find in Florsheim's Royal Imperial line. That's not to say the Royal Imperials were shabbily constructed for the price point - the Royal Imperial brogues I saw were only 190 dollars on sale, and were hefty and seemingly well made. I think at that kind of price point it's hard to be too harsh on a fully goodyear welted shoe. The normal Imperials though, seem to have glued rather than welted construction (as far as I can tell). The stitching seems decorative, so to speak, in comparison to the Royal Imperials.
Analogous to the relative scarcity of quality shoe establishments in Australia at a reasonable pricepoint (ordering things online aside) - I've found it almost impossible to find a decent briefcase locally, and I've been searching for a month now. I've very tempted to just give up and order a briefcase through Saddleback Leather, as everywhere else seems to offer horrendously made/corrected-grain/nylon-lined crap at ridiculous prices (see Marcs, Calibre, CK, Oroton, Coach etc). Anyone know of decent options at the sub $500 price point?
I can't believe I am saying this but a point my cobbler makes is that modern glues are very strong and keep a shoe together. Lloyds have been glued (cemented) for years and sell allover for top dollar.
Those Indian Goodyear Florsheims will give a lot of wear for the price.
Re briefcases try Cardini in the Strand. When you say briefcase do you mean the traditional "off to Number 10 Downing St" variety or a "document bag" or a satchel?