Sure - I guess what I was asking was whether there was something overt or tangible to understand in the difference of price; e.g. the materials with which either brand's shoe was constructed or the quality of the welting. I've been reading both the brand's websites but they don't tend to go into exhaustive detail about the specific leathers they are using. I guess I subscribe to the law of diminishing returns with this sort of stuff, so was curious as to whether there was something super-obvious that I was missing in looking at various shoes by Meermin or Carmina to attempt to 'justify' spending that extra dosh. I guess the first obvious thing between the 160 euro double monks and the Carmina ones would be bench-grade versus hand-grade construction. But even still something like this (http://meermin.es/ficha_articulo.php?id=2050) is also hand-grade, yet significantly cheaper than this (http://www.carmina.telemaco.es/articulo.asp?idarticulo=3640219), so I'm just trying to figure out if there's anything in the 'objective' category that would make me choose one over the other.
Having said that, I actually subjectively prefer the Carminas, and I suspect they probably use nicer leather (although their web-store is very uninformative in that regard).
Carmina's are, from what I was told, more known for their cordovans, than their leathers/suedes. I've only owned suede pairs from Carmina, so I can't personally vouch for how the leathers wear over time. But when I was in their Barca store, the hand on the leathers were very supple and the shoes felt generally well made. The soles wear very well with time, and yep, they get more comfortable as time passes.
I know this wasn't a comparison between Carmina and Meermin (because I don't own Meermins) - apologies for that.
Take what you read on the internet with a pinch of salt, but I vaguely recollect some chap on the blogosphere getting a complimentary pair of Meermins and after 6 months or so, the leather creasing wasn't great, and maybe even the sole was on the brink of coming off.
You could try Edwin from Ed et al. The hand on the new leather he's using for his shoes are supposed to be very good, and build/workmanship is, honestly, comparable to a lot of the big shoemakers. Not for one moment do I forget that you get what you pay for, you really get quite a bang for your buck at Ed's.
I'm in, would be nice to meet the folks around here.