How do Weston shoes compare to, say C & J benchgrade or Grenson masterpieces? Are they complete cr$p for the money? The ones I've seen in the windows of the Madison Ave. store seem nice, but I've never gone inside to get a closer look.
I like each for different reasons---I prefer CJ's designs, in general, although Weston's iconic Demi Chasse is unto itself, and Weston's monkstrap shoes is the most elegant, sturdiest monk I've come across. I did have a bad experience a few years ago with a really uncomfortable pair of Weston monks, but was fitted recently for another pair and they're fine. Weston's monks are built like a tank but still are elegant. Some may say this is nonsense, however I do find that Weston's soles last almost forever, much longer than CJ's soles or those from any other brands I've owned. Weston attributes this to a proprietary aging process in their own tannery, which may or may not be puffery, but the reality is their soles seem indestructible. Have to say, though, that excepting these and a couple other designs, much of Weston's line up, especially the Berluti-inspired designs, leaves much to be desired for me. But, I know they feel a need to keep up with changing tastes. I can look through a CJ catalogue and like almost every shoe pictured. I certainly would not say Weston is cr*p for what they charge, just that they are way over-priced. I'd say that CJ is the more practical way to go. I own a few Weston shoes for special occasions, but wear CJ on a day-to-day basis. They do run sales a few times a year, which offers relief from the stratospheric prices, although not every model of shoe is discounted. Others can weigh in on any differences in grade of leather. Grayson