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Advantages of a $1000 Pair of Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by MCanavan6, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    this is a big factor, imo, which not many are aware of. this is also why the good bespoke workshops stocked up and still try to get their hands on older stocks from the tanneries. there are also auctions for the really good stuff.
     


  2. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    Fritzl: That doesn't surprise me, though the high-end bespoke that I see is still of great quality.

    I base that judgment on the following:

    - my one pair of largely unworn C&Js ("benchgrade" I think) are from circa 1998. Despite their age, the leather is markedly inferior to current EGs, and recent Churches. So if leather quality is not what it was, it is not yet a disaster (my oldest shoes are c. 1988 Churches with - shock horror - linen half-lining, but the leather is outstanding despite years of hard use).

    - I have and am curently wearing a pair of mid-1990s Fosters' bespoke shoes bought comparatively cheap 17-18 years ago as uncollected (they were made for a Mr Smilovic, and I suspect the Balkan wars may have had an influence on his inability to collect). The leather is clearly better than current high-end RTW.

    To the OP: if you want one pair, go for a classic stitchcap oxford like the EG Chelsea. But watch out. It gets addictive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012


  3. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

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    I would put black Vass down as an exception to the rule- Vass leather, esp if u ask for the 'Italian Polish', takes an incredible shine.







    The leather on hand-grade C&J can be very good -

    but the best leather I've see, by a country mile, is AS handgrade. That stuff is flawless, heavy, supple. In certain lights it even shimmers. (in my sample of one, lol).
     


  4. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    To each their own. But as I only own one pair of black cap toes and only wear them on the most important occasions I am taking the exact opposite approach. Planning on retiring my plain 'ol plain 'ol blacks with a pair of G&G decos. As with an all black cap toe about the only thing that is going to make it 'special' to those who see it 'on the hoof' is it's shape. And G&G lasts are nothing if not incredibly shaped. Since I'm not a young man anymore these will be the last pair of black cap toes I ever need in my life. No need to scrimp.

    Again - to each their own.

    As for leathers holding a polish. I will concur that the tannage used by the Northampton makers at the top end (G&G and AS are the only two that I own) requires a good many layers of polish before they take and hold a shine. I polish mine after every wearing until that deep hard shine develops.

    But oh - what a shine they hold once you get them there. :inlove:
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012


  5. forex

    forex Senior member

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    Polishing shoes after each wear seems extreme to me but maybe I am too lazy. That is why I only wear suede and cordovan nowadays.
     


  6. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    For me shoe polishing is a relaxing moment in my day.

    No need to polish after every wear once a deep rich finish has been developed.

    Although Vass recommends cream polish after every wear. Even I don't always accomplish this without fail.
     


  7. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    ad hoc(not timely): yes, of course. A friend of mine is a Lobb St. James client. He has an eye disease from an infection. He's not blind but almost. When he was at lobb they went to the leather room and he "saw" a walnut coloured hide, keep in mind his deficit. Mr. Lobb said, well this is from your country and we scored it at an auction. We have scouts out there to get our hands on gems like this. Story is around ten years old.
     


  8. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    maybe these tanneries need to buy more grass fed organic cow hides?
     


  9. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    it's the thickness. in the good old times you had 5 mm while you can get barely get 2 mm nowadays.
     


  10. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What are we talking about - upper or bottoming leather?

    A standard leather sole is about 6 mm (12 irons, 15 oz.) thick. You can get bottoming leather up to 8 mm (16 irons, 20 oz.)

    The thickest leather you would consider for an upper of a work- or mountain-type boot is about 2.4 mm (6 oz.). The average thickness for a (city-type) shoe would be between 1.2 and 1.6 mm ( 3 or 4 oz.).

    The main difference between modern and vintage leathers appears to be the yield of quality pieces that can be cut from a hide. The old books are full of drawings how virtually every bit of the hide can be utilized. Modern hides have far more defects like 'growth'. In the old days, a calf might have taken double the time to reach its slaughter size, now due to the use of growth hormones the beast grows much faster. Which, of course, has an impact on the quality of the leather. After all, leather (apart from some exotics) is a by-product of the meat industry. Nobody grows a bovine just for it's leather.
     


  11. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    This is a good general rule for all expensive purchases. If you're half-reluctant buying, you'll feel completely reluctant a few days later, especially if any problems arise.

    I went from $80 shoes to $1500 bespoke through a local shoemaker; on my second pair through him now. I know absolutely nothing about the brands people are mentioning on this thread, but I do know my shoemaker gets the fit down perfectly and is always available if something goes wrong in them. I know precisely the number of hours he works on my shoes and thus the cost is more than justified; in fact he should be charging more like $3000; the same can't be said for some OTR brand name shoe I'm left to my own devices with after purchase. I spend similar amounts on bespoke suits through another local guy... again, paying for labor will make you feel a lot better than some amorphous brand name.
     


  12. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Senior member

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    You also have to remember that $1000-ish is the starting price for most JL/EG. For example if the OP wanted to go all out and get JL prestige it would be closer to $1600-$1700k. Or if he really wanted to go all the way for a black captoe then buy it from Kiton for $3700! lol.
     


  13. stupendous

    stupendous Senior member

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    Agree. I have several pairs of shoes, and the quality ones...you can just TELL the difference - in craftsmanship, the little details, there is just so much difference!

    That being said, I agree with the advice given on maybe going from 100$ shoes to maybe 500$ shoes.

    Good luck!
     


  14. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    Who does bespoke shoes in the US and at what prices?
     


  15. bigasahouse

    bigasahouse Senior member

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    It was mentioned earlier that high quality shoes can last 20 years. I normally only wear dress shoes 2-3 times a week, so I'm not going to wear shoes down as quickly as someone who wears them twice as much as me. But will they last 40 years for me, or does the leather have a shelf life and eventually will start to breakdown after a certain amount of time no matter how infrequently I wear them?

    If they're going to last me almost the rest of my life, I can better justify paying more money.



    Also, another question about fit: is the crease in your shoe leather from where it bends when walking- is it supposed to be in a certain location? Does that have anything to do with good fit?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012


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