I want to buy a pair of plain toe brown shoes. I have seen some by To boot NY, Gravati or AE. 1) Does anybody know of To boot New York?
As far as I know, To Boot contracts with a number of different Italian manufacturers to produce shoes at a number of different price points. Some are good, some are not. You have to take them on a shoe-by-shoe basis.
1) Gravati is about 50 % more expensive then AE. Worth it?
Gravati uses better materials than does AE, and they pay a lot more attention to detail than does AE. The thing about Gravati, though is that they are more than happy to let buyers do almost anything they want. Gravati has an absurd number of patterns, a large number of lasts, a huge number of leathers, and a virtually infinite number of sole and other details available. It's up to the individual buyers to put all of these options together into an attractive line of shoes, and some just don't do a good job. The Gravati offerings at Bergdorf Goodman come to mind -- nothing truly awful, but only one or two shoes that I'd actually want. Others do a wonderful job -- two that come to mind are Ron Rider at Franco's and Jim Pierce at Harold's in the Heights. This is a long-winded way of saying that I think that Gravati quality is excellent but that the taste of the shoes produced will vary from store to store and buyer to buyer.