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at what point do you think diminishing returns are reached for shoe leather quality?

random512

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At what point do you think diminishing returns are reached for leather quality? Some shoes you can look at and tell the quality of leather is not very good like Joseph Aboud, Kenneth Cole, etc. Some shoes you can look at and tell the leather is decent quality like AE. But then if you give a proper Saphir waxing to a pair of AE shoes then the leather looks very good quality. So do you think that AE leather + Saphir is the sweet spot for cost/quality or do you have a different opinion?
 

Oshare

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I believe you're correct in your thinking. Once you are paying for Goodyear welted construction by competent manufacturers (I wouldn't put Joseph Aboud or Kenneth Cole in this category), then diminishing returns kicks in almost right away on leather quality.

AE, Crockett & Jones, Church's, Carmina, Vass, etc. etc. all produce good shoes with good leather. You would be wearing better shoes than 98% of the people out there. If cost performance is a priority, that is probably the sweet spot.

When you go beyond that price point you can start paying significantly more money for only incrementally better leather and attention to details. That's when cost performance becomes less of an issue and you are talking to people who are willing to pay more because they are passionate about their shoes (or just very wealthy).
 

atia2

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Agreed. I've worn shoes from all the well-known UK makers. Lobb's and EG's leathers aren't that much better than Loake's. Far greater differences exist in last, design, and detail.

I decided a while ago that next time I need a new pair, it will be Loake or bespoke.
 

Patek14

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AE, Crockett & Jones, Church's, Carmina, Vass, etc. etc. all produce good shoes with good leather. You would be wearing better shoes than 98% of the people out there. If cost performance is a priority, that is probably the sweet spot.
I don't think I agree with this statement as of 2018. At least 2 of the manufacturers listed are known to use crappy [too many shoe models with corrected gain, but it is disclosed before buying] or highly inconsistent leather on their uppers. One of the makers in particular has really inconsistent quality control and the uppers will be highly hit or miss.

I think the better question is, at what price point do you generally get consistency in leather quality control?
 

Oshare

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I don't think I agree with this statement as of 2018. At least 2 of the manufacturers listed are known to use crappy [too many shoe models with corrected gain, but it is disclosed before buying] or highly inconsistent leather on their uppers. One of the makers in particular has really inconsistent quality control and the uppers will be highly hit or miss.

I think the better question is, at what price point do you generally get consistency in leather quality control?
Admittedly, I don't own multiple pairs from all the manufacturers I listed. I was going on a combinations of reputation and personal experience in terms of leather quality.

Perhaps one of the makers in question is Church's? True, they have undergone changes over the years and some of their current shoes are just plain awful. I should have noted that I was speaking more from the viewpoint of sticking to their traditional shoes in calf leather such as Consul, which is one of my favorite pairs.

For the sake of discussion, which is the second manufacturer you think has inconsistent QC?
 

Caustic Man

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By "returns" I suspect you mean what you can get for your money. You aren't just paying for leather quality, though. You're paying for construction, aesthetics, possibly brand recognition if you're into that, and probably variety as well. You have to take all these things into consideration because it all goes into determining the "return." Suffice it to say that companies like AE produce good shoes made from good leather. Barring a desire for some kind of "exotic" I think that's good enough.
 

random512

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yeah the qc of ae can be spotty and it can take a few tries to get it right. they have a whole "seconds" business built around defective merchandise. but eventually I do get quality, modern merchandise and I don't know of a better alternative at that price point.
 

Caustic Man

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I actually think the AE seconds are a testament to their QC. Their seconds are often almost unnoticeably flawed but they still won't sell them at full price. I'm sure some of them are returns but IIRC most of them are QC inspected at the factory and not passed.
 

random512

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I had to return 3 pairs of defective dark chili Dalton's last year. pair #4 was good.
 

random512

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nah I'm just saying that ae is a pretty good sweet spot but not without some challenges. can anyone here recommend a good alternative? or has ae done a pretty good job of basically cornering this niche?
 

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