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Archibald London Hand Welted Shoes - preorder issues, discussion,and resolution.

Verrihappy

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Posted for posterity, Professor Dr. JFWR'S review in question. Highlights in bold are mine.


I now have the distinct pleasure of owning a pair of tan anticato cap-toed oxfords on the 001 last in size 45 from Archibald London. I'd like to share my thoughts with all of you.

First, some background. I am a lover of fine, well-made shoes, that look and fit beautifully, and have over the last year and a half of serious interest in amassing a good shoe collection, and have collected over 25 pairs from Allen Edmonds, Alden, Crockett and Jones, Edward Green, CNES shoe makers (MTO), vintage Hanover, and vintage Florsheim. I have also purchased a pair of Carminas for someone else. I am by no means the greatest expert on shoes, but I consider myself well versed enough to comment on the quality of shoes based on my experience.

Secondly, a caveat: @ArchibaldRoh provided me with these shoes for review. He asked only for my honest appraisal—nothing more, nothing less. I will not be biased in any way towards these shoes because they were offered to me so generously.

Now, the review--

Packaging: I was remarkably impressed with the care and attention given to the packaging and accoutrements provided. Clearly, Archibald London values its customers and cares about the little details that make a difference. Not only was I given two shoe bags, but also a pair of extra laces and an animal shoe horn. This far exceeds the norm from other shoe makers. Allen Edmonds usually provides just one shoe bag (exception: anything Ashley touches, she’s amazing), Carmina only provided one shoe bag, and both CNES and Crockett and Jones provide two bags with no other accoutrements.

Now on to the shoes themselves.

Style: What I look for in a shoe is timeless elegance. I do not want a fad shoe, something that I think would look ridiculous in a few years. Even if I am going to go with an untraditional colour, like green or blue, I want the fundamental design of the shoe to be such that I can imagine wearing these shoes for the rest of my life, and never thinking that these belong only to a certain time and place. In effect, if I can't imagine myself wearing these in the 1920s, 2020s, or 2120s, I usually don't go for the shoe (with exceptions). To this end, these shoes match my aesthetic sensibility. The toe is neither too almond, nor too round, and though it has a rather long cap, the shoes are well proportioned and classically designed. Of note is the detail of the five eyelets being placed further apart towards the toe, narrower near the top of the tongue. Moreover, the stitching work is beautiful across the whole of the shoe, with not a single stitch out of place or loose. These shoes can stand toe-to-toe with any of the best of men's shoes on the market in terms of style, and I’d say these belong in competition with Crockett and Jones handgrade and Edward Green on this front.

Hand welting: These are my first pair of hand welted shoes and I must say: I am in love. The detail I would like to most point out is something which is rarely ever found anymore: the stitching matches the fudging on the welt. That is to say, the stitches actually fit into the grooves, which is more or less an impossible task for most modern, goodyear welted shoes. This detail provides no structural benefit, but my God is it beautiful. Otherwise, the welting is 270 degrees, which befits a superior elegant design, and the stitch density of 10 per inch--excellent. Once again, I'd say Archibald stands toe to toe with the best of quality, and in respect the details of the welt, I'd say they have Crockett and Jones and Edward Green beat, at least in their RTW lines.

The soles: Closed channeled stitching is a mark of superior elegance, and the work done on these single-oak soles with quarter heels is impeccable. The heels are nailed beautifully in groups of three triangles of three nails each on three of the corners, with one corner taken up by the rubber of the quarter heel; however the waist is flat, not fiddle backed. With the exception of the waist not being fiddle backed, these features are such as one would expect from only the top end of men's shoes. I'd rank these as superior to that of Allen Edmonds, Alden, Carmina, and mainline Crockett and Jones, on par with Crockett and Jones handgrade, and below that of Edward Green and CNES MTO. My only marginal gripe is that I think a bit of brown dying on the sole edge might have been nicer than just a black, but this is marginal.

The leather: The shoes are constructed of beautiful, full grained, high quality calfskin that has been vegetable tanned. The leather is of superior quality. Only my Edward Greens and CNES shoe makers MTO have obviously finer quality calf skin. I'd place these on par with Crockett and Jones mainline, which I take to be slightly superior to Allen Edmonds and Alden's best calf.

The colour: Though called "anticato tan", these shoes are really a deep, rich brown. I absolutely love the colouring on these shoes, and I find them amongst the most handsome of brown shoes I have. The colour is rich with subtle variations across the shoe. These are certainly my favourite brown colour I've ever purchased, even moreso than Edward Green's dark oak, or the vegano brown I have from Allen Edmonds. Nevertheless, I would suggest changing the name to some form of “brown”, as there is nothing tan about these shoes at all. Admittedly, “tan” has a lot of variants in the shoe world, but this is clearly a brown shade.

The insides: Full leather interior in a tasteful (actual) tan. I especially love the detail of using a rougher leather for the inner heel to give more immediate grip. I believe this will help me greatly, as I tend to get blisters on my heel from breaking in new shoes. I will report back on this detail in the next review, to tell you if it did indeed help. Anyway, the insides comfortable and well made.

Fit: Despite having wide American feet, with help from @ArchibaldRoh, we determined that my best fitting would be 45, which is a UK 11. I generally wear 11.5 EEE US, and my Edward Greens are 11.5/12 e, and my Crockett and Jones are 11.5 E. These shoes fit wonderfully and are very comfortable, although I have not walked or stood in them for very long. I have plenty of room in my problem area (the toes) and my heels fit snugly without much in the way of slippage, all of which should disappear in time. They are already very comfortable, although of course I will have to break them in, and I anticipate that comfort will increase once I do so. I can't foresee these causing me serious problems, but I will return with more discussion of how they feel after I've worn them regularly.

Flaws: My one and only major complaint about these shoes is the unfortunate side effect of the toe cap being so big: there is simply no way one will avoid getting creasing in the toe cap. I tried setting the crease myself, but to no avail: there is no way my feet can bend without causing creasing in the toe. This is the downside to the design. It is by no means a deal breaker to me, as I have substantial real estate to mirror shine anyway, but I do like a flawless cap-toe and prefer it. Likewise, I did notice a very slight flaw in the leather on the right shoe, but this is so minor as to go unnoticed. Again, my only real gripe is that given the design of the toe cap, it is impossible that there shall not be creasing along the bottom edge of that cap toe, and given this would not be resolved by longer toe stiffeners (as is the problem with Allen Edmonds sometimes), I'd chock this up to simply a consequence of choosing the longer cap toe.

Personally, I’d recommend Archibald consider a shorter cap toe so this isn’t a problem in future models/designs.

Overall: These shoes are truly high-end, high quality men's dress shoes which I believe to approach Edward Green in quality. They are timelessly elegant, and not at all too continental or fashion-focused, which so many shoes are. From what I gather from the website, the intent was to merge the best of Italian and English shoe making traditions, and my immediate impression is that they have truly succeeded in this respect. What makes these truly exceptional, though, is the pricing. If you buy these at the normal, 440 GBP ($607.00) price (which I believe is with VAT included), I'd say you're getting a great deal. You're getting Crockett and Jones handgrade quality at slightly less than main collection prices. At the Naked cost of 279 GBP ($385.00), you are almost robbing them. Crockett and Jones handgrade costs $840, Edward Green costs $1,285. You are getting a comparable shoe for quite literally half or a third of the price. I actually am concerned that the company is charging too little for their shoes. This is an insane value —I mean, absolutely absurd level of value. I can unequivocally state at this point, that my first impression of these shoes lead me to suspect this is the greatest value in men's shoes world-wide in terms of cost/quality comparison. Their only competition in this respect is CNES MTO.

First impression ranking: 9/10. Exceptional.

I will return with a report once I have worn these outside several times and broken them in. Sadly, this may take till the spring, as Illinois is a frozen tundra, and there ain't no way I am wearing these shoes on ice as I am neither suicidal, nor do I want to wreck these great shoes with salt, snow, and ice. I'll wait till I have solid ground to walk on, as much as I am tempted to show these beauties off.

Still, if my first impression can be judged, I'd say this:

Gentlemen, buy these shoes. Buy. These. Shoes.

I'll be ordering another pair for certain. At this price, there is absolutely no reason not to do so. If you like a more conservative, English style look, that is classically elegant and timeless, with almost all the features of the highest of the highest end shoes, than these are the shoes for you.

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Verrihappy

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On the other thread the guy from AOL stated that JL Prestige shoes are overpriced shit and that AOL is „trouncing” JL... He based his claims on the opinion of his Italian craftsman (or „craftsman”?) and the fact that he himself ordered a couple of shoes from Mr Porter, compared them to AoL shoes and decided that AoL are just much better (don’t ask how - he admitted that he has no knowledge of shoes)...
Apparently the AOL guy ordered £5,000 worth of shoes from Mr. Porter, tried them on and returned the whole lot. Their holier than thou crap about integrity and ethics are laughable and execrable.
 

JustPullHarder

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I mean, the stitching looks to match the fudging very well. I don't know if that is apparent to you, but it looks that way as I'm staring at the shoes in my hand at home. I've tried to zoom in as much as possible, but I don't think my phone is gonna give any better resolution.

Before wearing the soles looked nice to me.

Where do you think the lining edge looked rough? At the neck of the shoe?
Fudging over the stitches makes it look like it matches exactly regardless of whether it does or not actually exactly match. You can fudge over a lower spi with a higher spi wheel.

Yes. The neck.
 

TokenMao

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Bro, my pair or egs were brand fucking new when I bought them.

Proof:

View attachment 1590586View attachment 1590587

Now be a man and apologize.
People are trolling you because you have a different opinion than most people. First of all, I want to say it sucks that you're getting so much shit, like you said you admitted on where you were wrong. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, we don't all have to agree.

The thing people are pointing out is the contrast between how you presented yourself in that review (extensive knowledge and experience, 25+ pairs of shoes, various brands including EG) vs. actual experience. The quality of a shoe really comes out over repeated wear, and to be frank you only have one pair of EGs, which you bought very recently and aren't even sized correctly IIRC. If you want to make statements of EG as a whole based on that very limited experience you're entitled to, but that's low hanging fruit for people to give you shit whenever you say stuff like C&J and EG are in the same tier.
 

JFWR

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People are trolling you because you have a different opinion than most people. First of all, I want to say it sucks that you're getting so much shit, like you said you admitted on where you were wrong. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, we don't all have to agree.

The thing people are pointing out is the contrast between how you presented yourself in that review (extensive knowledge and experience, 25+ pairs of shoes, various brands including EG) vs. actual experience. The quality of a shoe really comes out over repeated wear, and to be frank you only have one pair of EGs, which you bought very recently and aren't even sized correctly IIRC. If you want to make statements of EG as a whole based on that very limited experience you're entitled to, but that's low hanging fruit for people to give you shit whenever you say stuff like C&J and EG are in the same tier.
Fair points.

Re: EG, I was fitted by the folks at leffot and I'm satisfied. I'd prefer to have gotten a wider fit, but eg is difficult to get in those fits for style. So I rely on my sizing that best suits my feet in a standard fit. The result is a comfortable, good sizing for me.

But fair points all around.
 

Jmr928

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Not saying the optics weren't poor, but the shoes looked good to me.

The leather felt and looked nice.

The fudging was a nice touch. It's a mark of quality that can be attributed to aol. They might be shit otherwise, but the detail was excellent.

The finishing to me also looked good. Perhaps you disagree. That's fine, what precisely did you find objectionable? The stitching was nice. The fudging was superb. The welt was 270. The sole was closed channelled.

I pointed out the concern with the captoes. To me that's not a deal breaker; it became so when it was worn outside and I walked about half a mile around town in them.

Look, I admit: I was fooled. Whatcha want from me here besides that admission?
Don't take this as an insult as it isn't meant to be - I'm genuinely curious. Did you learn a lot of what you know and knew to look for from watching Kirby's youtube videos about shoes? I'm mainly asking because a few things you've said over the course of your replies and your review that sound like they're straight out of a couple of videos I know are on there. Things about fudging and a closed channel sole and a mark of exceptional quality, etc.
 

JFWR

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Don't take this as an insult as it isn't meant to be - I'm genuinely curious. Did you learn a lot of what you know and knew to look for from watching Kirby's youtube videos about shoes? I'm mainly asking because a few things you've said over the course of your replies and your review that sound like they're straight out of a couple of videos I know are on there. Things about fudging and a closed channel sole and a mark of exceptional quality, etc.
I mean, I've seen those videos? Not my only source, though, no. I mostly watch Kirby for shoe shining techniques and sometimes his interviews with shoe makers.

I don't take this as insulting at all.
 

PipersSon

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Posted for posterity, Professor Dr. JFWR'S review in question. Highlights in bold are mine.
..........
Get off it. The guy's accepted that he was wrong.

And you've made your point a long time ago. Now you're just plain and simple trolling, without the saving virtue of being funny or readable.

In the process you've managing to come across as the biggest jerk in this thread. So pipe down.
 

JustPullHarder

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Don't take this as an insult as it isn't meant to be - I'm genuinely curious. Did you learn a lot of what you know and knew to look for from watching Kirby's youtube videos about shoes? I'm mainly asking because a few things you've said over the course of your replies and your review that sound like they're straight out of a couple of videos I know are on there. Things about fudging and a closed channel sole and a mark of exceptional quality, etc.
You forgot about last definition! I'm surprised nobody has taught Kirby about putting toe plates on his bespoke shoes though, some of them are rough.
 

JustPullHarder

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20210411_000052.jpg

@JFWR an example of an Oxford with a very long toe cap but next to no creasing on the actual cap.

Also, as an aside extremely fine leather. These are modern Nettletons if anyone is wondering. Got them for $170 off of Saks
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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I make comments on how shoes are perceived all the time, but I'm always clearly stating if I base that on just looking at photos, if I've also handled them in person, or if I've also owned and worn them (and in cases I also state opinions on shoes that I've gathered from others, but always explain what things are basedon). If it's only photos, if you know shoes you can judge quite a lot, but certainly not all, which I've always been clear about. If you've handled them in person you can judge more. And if you've worn them especially for some time you can judge even more. It's not really complicated, and actually this is only in this case that this has ever been questioned (if anything I'm called out by readers for not stating opinion on how I perceive shoes if I don't comment on it at all, which is why I normally have some short sentiment in the same manners as done here when new unknown brands are covered). In this case, the article was clearly seen as a positive highlight of them by almost all who read the article (and not just read AoE's statements of what it was), I know for a fact several bought shoes from them after reading it.
I based my opinion about the shoes only on the pictures as well. I'm thinking we are seeing the same things. 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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As I said, I got duped. I've been transparent I got snookered. Don't know what you or anyone else wants me to do further than this.

I've fessed up that archibald fucked me.
Not sure anyone is asking anything at this point.

Well I guess I am or did.
Unfortunately, one of those questions wouldn't be relevant at this point because of the construction of the shoes.

One question was if you requested a refund or remake. The boys on here said you received a refund, so that answered that.

The other question was how the shoes compared to Meermin, if you had them that is. But because these AoLs are not HW'd, the question really is not appropriate.
 

JustPullHarder

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Not sure anyone is asking anything at this point.

Well I guess I am or did.
Unfortunately, one of those questions wouldn't be relevant at this point because of the construction of the shoes.

One question was if you requested a refund or remake. The boys on here said you received a refund, so that answered that.

The other question was how the shoes compared to Meermin, if you had them that is. But because these AoLs are not HW'd, the question really is not appropriate.
I think the issue is that he indicated they were somewhere between C&J handgrade and EG level.

With all that said, sample size of 1 is perhaps not that useful. My only pair of GGs has some pretty poor creasing (it's Horween hatch) but the leather still has great feel 🤷
 

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