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Shoe prices

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mystic-poot, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. Mystic-poot

    Mystic-poot Active Member

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    I've been looking at Herring Shoes, showed a couple to dad and he's told me that anything above £140 is unreasonable for shoes. I'm going to be wearing them with a £300-£400 suit. Is this true?
     
  2. entrero

    entrero Well-Known Member

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    That was true last year. Sadly those £140 shoes are now £180
     
  3. Sanguis Mortuum

    Sanguis Mortuum Well-Known Member

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  4. Cary Grant

    Cary Grant Well-Known Member

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    Is dad paying? All depends on dad's budget.
     
  5. yesssir

    yesssir Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing your dad is telling you to buy Cole Haans or Kenneth Cole too.
     
  6. ShaneB

    ShaneB Well-Known Member

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    I've been looking at Herring Shoes, showed a couple to dad and he's told me that anything above £140 is unreasonable for shoes. I'm going to be wearing them with a £300-£400 suit. Is this true?

    You have to determine what proportion you're paying for the brand, craftsmanship, and the materials used. In some instances your dad is right, in others he isn't.
     
  7. tom_s252

    tom_s252 Active Member

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    Like anything else, shoes are subject to the law of diminishing returns.

    £140 gets you to the bottom rung of high quality dress shoes; Loakes and their ilk. I expect your Dad's point is that beyond there, the improvements to be gained are relatively small and expensive from the point of view of the average person. You can, should you so wish, spend two or three times that amount and ascend to the ranks of truly handmade English shoes, but you may be the only person you know who can tell the difference, especially given that no-one is ever likely to get down on their hands and knees and examine the fine detail of the stiching, edging, leather grain etc.

    My dad, for instance, has gone through life with a pair of black Loake captoe Oxfords as his only black shoes for ever. He takes care of them, keeps them out of the rain and polishes with Kiwi paste. Once every ten years or so he replaces them, and for a while he also had a half brogue to alternate with. By the standards of his friends and colleagues, he remains a man who wears good shoes.

    Like anything else, if you have the money to spend and the discernment to know when you're getting more bang for your additional bucks, there are benefits to be had in quality of materials and craftsmanship. Your £140 will get you a better pair of shoes than most of your friends/colleagues, simply because most of them are now buying £70 square/pointy monstrosities from Office or Jones Bootmaker that will never take a proper shine and are glued together. Does that mean that you shouldn't spring £280 for a pair of Cheaney/Church's/Trickers? Your call!
     
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Like anything else, shoes are subject to the law of diminishing returns.
    Sorry, not true. If you look objectively at the history, traditions, and the processes that have been associated with shoemaking, there is one fundamental standard of quality. That standard has evolved over literally thousands of years. Currently the best representation, and the exemplar of quality for the last several hundred years, is the hand-welted bespoke shoe. Everything else is a diminution of quality. Everything else is an attempt to emulate that standard with cheaper materials, less skill intensive, less time consuming techniques. But emulation, almost by definition, always falls short of the mark. There are very good shoes out there at various price levels, but they are all, to varying degrees, emulations of something else--that one standard of quality. It is not diminishing returns, it is diminishing credibility.
     
  9. Samovar McGee

    Samovar McGee Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, not true. If you look objectively at the history, traditions, and the processes that have been associated with shoemaking, there is one fundamental standard of quality. That standard has evolved over literally thousands of years.

    Currently the best representation, and the exemplar of quality for the last several hundred years, is the hand-welted bespoke shoe.

    Everything else is a diminution of quality. Everything else is an attempt to emulate that standard with cheaper materials, less skill intensive, less time consuming techniques.

    But emulation, almost by definition, always falls short of the mark.

    There are very good shoes out there at various price levels, but they are all, to varying degrees, emulations of something else--that one standard of quality.

    It is not diminishing returns, it is diminishing credibility.


    I agree with what you're saying, DWFII. But the fact is, the vast majority of people are no longer literate in these details. My father was a manufacturer of coats for a very long time, now he makes canvas boat roofing and upholstery. Time and again, people have shown him that they are not interested in precise and quality craftsmanship and the rate it garnishes; they are looking for 'good enough' at a lower price.

    I would argue that people know what nice things are. But to many, an emulation that comes close is just fine. Credibility will finish last in this sphere. If you want credibility, there will always be those that want it, and those that don't care.
     
  10. Patek

    Patek Well-Known Member

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    Very high quality shoes start about $1,000 at retail.

    Obviously quality shoes start much lower than that.
     
  11. tom_s252

    tom_s252 Active Member

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    Sorry, not true. If you look objectively at the history, traditions, and the processes that have been associated with shoemaking, there is one fundamental standard of quality. That standard has evolved over literally thousands of years.

    Currently the best representation, and the exemplar of quality for the last several hundred years, is the hand-welted bespoke shoe.

    Everything else is a diminution of quality. Everything else is an attempt to emulate that standard with cheaper materials, less skill intensive, less time consuming techniques.

    But emulation, almost by definition, always falls short of the mark.

    There are very good shoes out there at various price levels, but they are all, to varying degrees, emulations of something else--that one standard of quality.

    It is not diminishing returns, it is diminishing credibility.


    I agree with what you're saying, DWFII. But the fact is, the vast majority of people are no longer literate in these details. My father was a manufacturer of coats for a very long time, now he makes canvas boat roofing and upholstery. Time and again, people have shown him that they are not interested in precise and quality craftsmanship and the rate it garnishes; they are looking for 'good enough' at a lower price.

    I would argue that people know what nice things are. But to many, an emulation that comes close is just fine. Credibility will finish last in this sphere. If you want credibility, there will always be those that want it, and those that don't care.


    I think Mr DWFII and I are looking at the same scale from two opposite ends. I was describing one cash-limited individual's attempt to pick the best point on a scale of price and quality; I would maintain that that scale, like most other goods, is subject to the law of diminishing returns.

    Mr DWF on the other hand began from the top of that scale and looked down from there. In essence, we agree with one another, it's just that he and I hold different views on what should be considered acceptable.
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I think Mr DWFII and I are looking at the same scale from two opposite ends. I was describing one cash-limited individual's attempt to pick the best point on a scale of price and quality; I would maintain that that scale, like most other goods, is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Mr DWF on the other hand began from the top of that scale and looked down from there. In essence, we agree with one another, it's just that he and I hold different views on what should be considered acceptable.
    Just call me DW... In one sense of course you're correct. That said, which direction you look from is crucial. Looking at it from the perspective of "diminishing returns" creates a situation in which the consumer is always prepared to accept less, never cultivates the knowledge or understanding which, in turn, leads to judgement, appreciation, discrimination, good taste, or wisdom (all of which speaks to Samovar's point...with which I also agree). Looking at it from the top down, with all the "unrealistic" implications that may have for some, at least allows the consumer to understand where the realistic trade-offs are. And yes, better quality will cost more. In one sense, however, distinguishing between levels of quality is misleading. We (myself included) do it all the time. But realistically it is like 'gilding the lily'. Something is either quality or it is not. Implying that a product which falls short of a widely respected standard is somehow equivalent is fundamentally deceptive. But then all advertising depends on it. All business depends on it.
     
  13. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Well-Known Member

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    Just call me DW...

    In one sense of course you're correct. That said, which direction you look from is crucial.

    Looking at it from the perspective of "diminishing returns" creates a situation in which the consumer is always prepared to accept less, never cultivates the knowledge or understanding which, in turn, leads to judgement, appreciation, discrimination, good taste, or wisdom (all of which speaks to Samovar's point...with which I also agree).

    Looking at it from the top down, with all the "unrealistic" implications that may have for some, at least allows the consumer to understand where the realistic trade-offs are. And yes, better quality will cost more.

    In one sense, however, distinguishing between levels of quality is misleading. We (myself included) do it all the time. But realistically it is like 'gilding the lily'. Something is either quality or it is not. Implying that a product which falls short of a widely respected standard is somehow equivalent is fundamentally deceptive.

    But then all advertising depends on it. All business depends on it.


    I think we are all in agreement that the more you pay, the better quality shoe you get.

    Whether you say that a hand welted bespoke shoe is the only "acceptable" option or whether you start at the bottom and say that a C&J benchgrade is a big step up from say a Loake Design product doesn't really matter.

    In terms of tangible benefits that the end consumer will see and feel, there are diminishing marginal returns from moving from a solid goodyear welted non-CG shoe (such as lets say the aforementioned C&J benchgrade) to something like a $1,200 pair of Gaziano Girlings.

    In your terms, I'd argue going from aforementioned GG to the C&J, there are increasing marginal losses.
     
  14. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Well-Known Member

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    Just call me DW...

    In one sense of course you're correct. That said, which direction you look from is crucial.

    Looking at it from the perspective of "diminishing returns" creates a situation in which the consumer is always prepared to accept less, never cultivates the knowledge or understanding which, in turn, leads to judgement, appreciation, discrimination, good taste, or wisdom (all of which speaks to Samovar's point...with which I also agree).

    Looking at it from the top down, with all the "unrealistic" implications that may have for some, at least allows the consumer to understand where the realistic trade-offs are. And yes, better quality will cost more.

    In one sense, however, distinguishing between levels of quality is misleading. We (myself included) do it all the time. But realistically it is like 'gilding the lily'. Something is either quality or it is not. Implying that a product which falls short of a widely respected standard is somehow equivalent is fundamentally deceptive.

    But then all advertising depends on it. All business depends on it.


    Furthermore, as far as I know, even the GG and EG RTW models are machine welted. As such, both are "lower quality emulations" compared to this bespoke hand welted product. And therefore, that puts them in the same universe as the "lower quality emulations" produced by C&J, Trickers, Church, etc.
     
  15. Leather man

    Leather man Well-Known Member

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    I hate to disagree with your dad - he is your dad after all , but in my opinion he is quite wrong. In fact the ratio of the cost of your shoes to your suit should be the other way around IMHO. You can get away with a reasonably priced suit if it fits well but "reasonably priced shoes" will always look just that - reasonably priced. Moreover you will get much more comfort and longevity from shoes costing £350 plus - the law of diminishing returns kicks in at a much higher price tag than your £140 IME
     
  16. idfnl

    idfnl Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, not true. If you look objectively at the history, traditions, and the processes that have been associated with shoemaking, there is one fundamental standard of quality. That standard has evolved over literally thousands of years.

    Currently the best representation, and the exemplar of quality for the last several hundred years, is the hand-welted bespoke shoe.

    Everything else is a diminution of quality. Everything else is an attempt to emulate that standard with cheaper materials, less skill intensive, less time consuming techniques.

    But emulation, almost by definition, always falls short of the mark.

    There are very good shoes out there at various price levels, but they are all, to varying degrees, emulations of something else--that one standard of quality.

    It is not diminishing returns, it is diminishing credibility.



    Also the law of diminishing wait times. I'd like to wear the shit before I die.
     
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    In your terms, I'd argue going from aforementioned GG to the C&J, there are increasing marginal losses.
    I don't know how "increasing" and "marginal" makes sense in the same sentence, esp. in this context. If you meant to say "increasingly marginal" well, I would disagree but then I have this "penultimate" standard to fall back on. What's more, I suspect that even someone who doesn't have any particular standard, inevitably is forced to admit that the more a shoe falls off from an accepted standard (such as those touted on SF as "high" quality) the more functionality and longevity and even aesthetics--all the elements of quality, IOW---will be compromised. Some (apparently many) may not see that the fall-off from a leather insole to a leatherboard insole as particularly disturbing but it is hardly marginal. And that in itself only underscores my contention that the average, and even the somewhat educated consumer is in a death-spiral of "diminishing expectations." I have seen many comments here, on this very forum, that suggest that for some people Goodyear welted is the new apex of quality and that anything else is criminal extravagance. And even hints that for others leatherboard is becoming the de facto standard for which they will pay top dollar...if not now then within their lifetimes.
     
  18. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Also the law of diminishing wait times. I'd like to wear the shit before I die.
    There is less time waiting for the slowest maker than there is in a good bottle of whisky or wine. Or some cheeses violins and shotguns. Of course if you're really in a hurry there's always Walmart--that's their raison d'etre. [​IMG]
     
  19. Samovar McGee

    Samovar McGee Well-Known Member

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    I hate to disagree with your dad - he is your dad after all , but in my opinion he is quite wrong. In fact the ratio of the cost of your shoes to your suit should be the other way around IMHO. You can get away with a reasonably priced suit if it fits well but "reasonably priced shoes" will always look just that - reasonably priced. Moreover you will get much more comfort and longevity from shoes costing £350 plus - the law of diminishing returns kicks in at a much higher price tag than your £140 IME

    Well, what is his dad wearing? Chances are, they ain't C&J benchgrade. Would you buy your son the top of the line in footwear, or would you rather pay the mortgage et al. His priorities are probably different, even if he is incorrect in saying that the shoes won't be worth it.
     
  20. Leather man

    Leather man Well-Known Member

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    Well, what is his dad wearing? Chances are, they ain't C&J benchgrade. Would you buy your son the top of the line in footwear, or would you rather pay the mortgage et al. His priorities are probably different, even if he is incorrect in saying that the shoes won't be worth it.

    I'm trying to answer his question. You are raising another one he hasn't asked and you are making assumptions which the OP hasn't given you any info to base them on.
    You are right that if its the mortgage or the shoes then of course the mortgage comes first - but how do you know that is their issue?
     

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