I'm not a lifer, but I have a fair bit of experience w/ high-priced MIJ denim. It's just two different beasts. The Wilshires are solid mid-weight denim that's been washed, so for one thing the hand is quite soft from the start, even more so than any one-wash models of from somewhere like BiG. They are super solid, well made, and easy to wear. It's mostly a cut thing. If the cut works, and you're in the market for a basic jean, these are great. Spoiler: Warning: very short denim digression! Higher end denim turns a corner beyond the mere sum of fabric and fabrication into the subtleties of cut, weight, details, brand provenance etc. Wether that's worth the cost is utterly subjective, and a whole thread of its own. To those who might literally wear trousers like a wool Walt a few times a year, paying nearly $300 for them would seem absurd, no matter how well made they are etc. To those who can't fathom why a pair of jeans should cost that much, well, if you wear them 3-5 days/week, perhaps they take on a different value metric etc.