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Barker

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by lowbudgetsnob, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. lowbudgetsnob

    lowbudgetsnob Active Member

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    What do you think of Barker shoes. Not Barker Black, please. I've heard the sizing is off; that they're not for every foot.
     
  2. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    Considering British shoes alone I've currently 4 pairs Barkers (2 Oxfords) and 2 pairs of Churches and as a direct comparison conclude Barkers are good value.

    The new Barker heals wear and need replacing quickly, but thereon 3 out of 4 have been hard wearing.

    I like Barkers Flex and for my feet are more comfortable than Churches, although don't look as good as classic Oxfords.

    I'd conclude 2 pairs Barkers is better value than 1 pair Churches, price-wise there're marginally more expensive.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    ^^ Re-think the above. I have just had a pair of Barkers returned from the cobblers (a new pair of Barkers Flex). The cobbler says the material building the gap between the heal and the leather uppers was 'condensed cardboard', and says the reason is it keeps the show lighter. The problem with the material is if the shoes become damaged the cardboard can get waterlogged. I am not sure whether this extends throughout the shoe.

    I have Barkers bought over several years and it is the first time this was ever said. I believe this is a recent change in shoe construction and I hope it can be corrected with a 'through sole and heal'.

    I cannot hide my disappointment and in the future will focus on Chenies (the British shoemaker now controlled by the old Churches company) and Churches (now controlled by Prada). I am told that Churches shoes are still made in the UK.

    At least the cobbler was an honest man.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  4. Pingson

    Pingson Senior member

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    I bought a couple of Barker Oxford from their Handgrade collection a few years ago (the model name is Lincoln). The were about £220 when I bought them and I would say that was a fair price. They have held up very well, and I would say that they represent good value for money. They are of course nowhere near the quality of my Edward Green's and are also noticeably different in quality from my Tricker's - then again these shoes are either 300% or 50% more expensive. The cheaper lines of Barker I have no idea about.

    Re: sizes - I wear 10.5 in most shoes but for my Barker I had to settle for 9.5, so the sizing does indeed seem a bit off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    ^^ Very glad to hear this: I pay £170 .. and suggests it is worth investing a few bucks more, although Russell and Bromley charge >£200 for the same thing.

    Good advice for the future, go for the handgrade quality.

    I've a pair of classic Oxfords in for repair and will ask about their construction.
     
  6. Pingson

    Pingson Senior member

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    I know Barker doesn't get a lot of love around here on SF, but I would say they are on par with other makes in the same price range - Loake 1880, Herring Classic etc - no worse, no better. With shoes you definitely get what you pay for......
     
  7. Macallan

    Macallan Senior member

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    My only experience with Barkers is a pair of Arnold purchased six years ago. The sole did last longer then I expected; however, not worth resoling.

    If on a tight budget or starting out, they are worth considering; however, I would rather spend a bit more on Cheaney.
     
  8. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    Historically I would strongly argue Barkers are better than Loakes. Loakes however currently saturate several cobblers shops in the central London area.

    The account of a pair of Barkers 'falling to pieces' is an experience I have had too.

    Cheaney is a very high quality shoe and now more than ever. There is no dispute here.

    Size issue: sizing is a bit odd, but just turn up to the store and see what fits.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  9. Journeyman

    Journeyman Senior member

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    I've owned two pairs of Barker's in the past.

    In my experience, they tend to have a bit of a wider fit as their standard fit, so they might not suit narrow feet. Leather quality is fairly mediocre, so the shoes show creasing a bit more than some others. I think that the quality of Loake's 1880 range is slightly higher but Barker are fine for someone who wants to start a shoe collection without parting with too much money.
     
  10. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    This is resolved in their 'Flex' range: They use a soft leather in an Oxford style shoe between the 'toe cap' and the 'heal cap'. The soft leather doesn't crease, i.e. where the ball of the foot pivots, and is highly durable. For black Oxfords it doesn't look as crisp as a formal business shoe, otherwise ok.
     
  11. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    Here's my Barker's Flex, with charcoal Armani pearl windowpane pants and Burlington socks.

    Point is the shiny front and rear 'caps' and the connecting matt soft leather minimising creasing. They are a perfect fit and its not a bad concept in shoe design.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  12. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    ^^^ Just a pity that a good all leather, easy wearing shoe is hollowed out with compressed cardboard!
     
  13. atia2

    atia2 Senior member

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    Never owned a pair, but I stopped by the Barker shop at the corner of Jermyn St / Princes Arcade and I must say their high-end collection (Heritage or Anniversary or some such word) was quite impressive. I would say on a par with the Cheaney Imperial range but a fraction cheaper. The standard-issue Barker shoes I would place a notch above Loake (also in Princes Arcade).
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. katastrofa

    katastrofa Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what type of leather they use in each collection? I tried asking in their Regent Street store, but the salespeople of course didn't know anything and told me "you should be working here", no joke.
     
  15. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    lol, you wear those things and call Tyrwhitt shirts poor. talk about cognitive dissonance.
     
  16. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    ^^ a high quality all leather through sole and heal by my cobbler will sort out the defect in the Barkers: no such luck with a Tyrwhitt shirt ;)

    You could rightly criticise my taste in socks.
     
  17. katastrofa

    katastrofa Well-Known Member

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    Is it just me, or do this shoes look a little big on your feet?
     
  18. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    There're a good fit (big feet). Good value? No, but its a really good thread.
     
  19. TomTom

    TomTom Well-Known Member

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    In my humble oppinnion I always had good experiences with Barker shoes. The quality actually went up in the last couple of years (for standard models) but as a rule I stay away from fashion forward lines like Barkeflex so I can't comment on their quality...
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. Hacking jacket

    Hacking jacket Senior member

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    I've a pair of Barkers which are also very well made indeed.

    However, I've just had a pair of black Oxfords returned from the cobblers (Barkers) with the same problem, compressed cardboard in the heal. Both pairs are less than 6 months old, likely a very recent development.

    A through sole and heal, with high quality German leather is £70 - 75 + £170 for the shoes = ~£250 per pair. Value?

    Here's Flex with (slightly) more acceptable socks (Thomas Pink):

    [​IMG]



    Here's the straight Oxfords for comparison:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

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