• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear and fashion.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Foster & Sons ready made shoes thread

AWu

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
235
Reaction score
160
Good to hear @sforum1 actually got 2 pairs of them, though I out numbered you by 3, incl. a pair I got in London in 2019 when the new FS RTW came to the market. :box:

Afaik the cause to FS RTW to fail is multiple: 1. poor online marketing; 2. chaos behind the scene as @dieworkwear mentioned; 3. indifferent product to layman; 4. wrong timing for expansion (with hindsight) etc

If FS could manage continue its business, one could foresee G&G and perhaps EG/CJ will have a hard time to compete - yes, the basic range is underpriced while the premium range offers higher quality or at least head to head to EG TD (and comes with lasted tree!)

Note: I admire the lasted trees from FS rather than those from EG a lot :bigstar:
 

AWu

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
235
Reaction score
160
I could feel the difference of the leather stiffeners vs. the pre-formed ones - simply shapes better and more comfy.

While I dun see every pair are running at 13spi - it looks like 8 to me...?


On one of the topics discussed the previous pages, I think few brands were so clear in writing out many of their specifications as F&S with their RTW. This is the list of the basic range, found on all product descriptions:
  • Oak bark tanned leather sole (tanned for 12 months)
  • Upper cut by hand from best area of hide
  • Upper reinforced with leather side lining
  • Leather stiffeners
  • Upper sewing at 13spi
  • all upper sewing performed on a single needle machine
  • Insole and stiffeners cut from the best quality shoulder
  • Lasted by hand
  • Cork filling with Beech wood shank
  • Channel opened by hand
  • Heels built up on shoe by hand (outside attached)
  • Edges of sole and heel hand stained and polished
  • Hand seat wheeled
  • Hand top-ironed
  • Upper hand burnished and dressed
  • Finger polished by hand
And there several things were real "usps" compared to other premium brands (EG, G&G, JLP), marked with bold, since none of the others for exempel also have toe stiffeners in leather, and all use pre-built heels.

Problem here is, for almost everyone this doesn't mean anything, they don't understand that it is something that set F&S apart (I believe few SFers know, bear in mind the "general" "high-end office worker"/menswear/shoe guy who looked at buying their shoes). They would have to not only state what they did, but also that some of it their competitors didn't and what these things mean for the final shoe, and then that you'd get it at a lower price (for basic range).

I agree with the statement that basic range was underpriced, the plan would likely have been to put them there to attract some of the C&J HG, EG, JLP classic etc customers and have them try this now when new, and understand how good they were and spread the word, while the F&S top range was priced as should, hence the steap leap in price between the two ranges.
 

AWu

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
235
Reaction score
160
Whats special about Alden for Brooks Brothers vs oridinary Alden? Didnt study Alden very much.. :p

I thought their tassel loafer was also really nice. Really nice design on the vamp.


View attachment 1560708View attachment 1560709


Personally not into this G&G tassel. Just a bit too stylized for my taste.

View attachment 1560711



EG's Belgravia is one of the few shoes from them I don't care for, although I think it's still a nice shoe. I just don't personally like that braid.


View attachment 1560713


I have two pairs of C&J's Canvendish. I dig em. But the Foster is seemingly slightly better made.

View attachment 1560714


Personal favorites are Alden for Brooks Brothers, but they are now discontinued


View attachment 1560715


Personally think the F&S black tassel loafer would go really well with Patrik's outfit here. Worn just like this:


 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,153
Reaction score
3,117
I could feel the difference of the leather stiffeners vs. the pre-formed ones - simply shapes better and more comfy.

While I dun see every pair are running at 13spi - it looks like 8 to me...?
I also find leather stiffeners more comfortable than leather board, in general, and since I have sensitive heels I can't really wear celastic stiffeners. On this regard though, all premium brands mentioned before use real leather heel stiffeners, it's the toe that differed here.
Only upper stitching that is 13 spi.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AWu

AWu

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2017
Messages
235
Reaction score
160
Obviously mis read the spi for sole stitching...

I also find leather stiffeners more comfortable than leather board, in general, and since I have sensitive heels I can't really wear celastic stiffeners. On this regard though, all premium brands mentioned before use real leather heel stiffeners, it's the toe that differed here.
Only upper stitching that is 13 spi.
 

oldworldelegance

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
64
I also find leather stiffeners more comfortable than leather board, in general, and since I have sensitive heels I can't really wear celastic stiffeners. On this regard though, all premium brands mentioned before use real leather heel stiffeners, it's the toe that differed here.
Only upper stitching that is 13 spi.
I'm not sure I can feel the difference between leather board and leather to be honest (I have two pairs of EG and one handwelted from Yeossal that should have them, the rest lower priced), but my experience is limited. However I used to get blisters on my heels with lower priced shoes (i.e. Loake / Barker) at least for a while and didn't understand why until I learnt about the use of celastic.

Besides EG G&G and Foster, are there any other users of leather stiffeners further down the price range among Northhamtomshire shoemakers?
Does C&J Handgrade use leather stiffeners or is it leather board like their mainline?
 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,153
Reaction score
3,117
I'm not sure I can feel the difference between leather board and leather to be honest (I have two pairs of EG and one handwelted from Yeossal that should have them, the rest lower priced), but my experience is limited. However I used to get blisters on my heels with lower priced shoes (i.e. Loake / Barker) at least for a while and didn't understand why until I learnt about the use of celastic.

Besides EG G&G and Foster, are there any other users of leather stiffeners further down the price range among Northhamtomshire shoemakers?
Does C&J Handgrade use leather stiffeners or is it leather board like their mainline?
It varies a lot down to how sensitive you are and how well the lasts fit from the beginning, some can wear celastic without a problem at all, some more like me. But yeah, celastic moulds to the feet very little, leather board moulds a bit, real leather quite a lot (if necessary).

To my knowledge F&S main range were cheapest with real leather heel stiffeners in Northampton. I believe C&J HG, AS exclusive etc all have leather board heel stiffeners.

In general it's otherwise a bit lower priced hand welted shoes that have real leather, like Vass and other Hungarian brands, Enzo Bonafe etc. in the midrange/upper midrange segment. TLB Mallorca Artista is probably the cheapest I know, at €425 incl VAT.
 

taxgenius

Distinguished Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2007
Messages
5,325
Reaction score
576
Is real leather stiffeners that much more expensive for the manufacturer or is it the labor that drives them to use celastic?
 

j ingevaldsson

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
2,153
Reaction score
3,117
Is real leather stiffeners that much more expensive for the manufacturer or is it the labor that drives them to use celastic?
Labour, mainly, although material cost also differs. Then there's different degrees of how prepped real leather stiffeners are as well, all the way from pre-formed up to when you cut and skive out your own from a bend.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AWu

aristoi bcn

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2015
Messages
990
Reaction score
829
How many EG clients would switch to FS looking for leather toe stiffeners when they have a wider range of models, lasts and leathers at EG where they already know their size?

Imo FS entered into an already saturated market where brand reputation is the selling point.
 

laufer

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Messages
4,326
Reaction score
794
How many EG clients would switch to FS looking for leather toe stiffeners when they have a wider range of models, lasts and leathers at EG where they already know their size?
Imo FS entered into an already saturated market where brand reputation is the selling point.
Yes, this was it and COVID came. It's always difficult to fight an uphill battle. Not impossible, but difficult.
 

oldworldelegance

Active Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
38
Reaction score
64
How many EG clients would switch to FS looking for leather toe stiffeners when they have a wider range of models, lasts and leathers at EG where they already know their size?

Imo FS entered into an already saturated market where brand reputation is the selling point.
Afaik, leather stiffeners in the toe (toe puffs) make much less of a difference to comfort compared to heels, so you might well be right in that it won't be much of a selling point for many customers. Nonetheless, the lower priced Foster shoes use celastic toe puffs (I sent an email asking about the Bernwood as it wasn't listed on their site).

I would have been willing to try Foster RTW mainline (sadly when I went to pull the trigger my size was gone). I do have two pairs from EG but I bought them both at discounted prices. I find their full price too high (I know this is subjective) relative to alternatives.
 

laufer

Distinguished Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2008
Messages
4,326
Reaction score
794
Pretty much. Knowledge is wonderful, and being able to articulate that knowledge is even better. I cannot understand why people get so upset about how some business is run. If SF members feel they could do a better job running Foster & Son, Allen Edmonds, Brooks Brothers, they should apply for a job there and show them how it's done.
I am pleased with the Ashwood model I picked up. Had I known my size ahead of time, I would buy a few more models.
The reason why I felt comfortable buying Ashwood blind is because of the Skoaktiebolaget hassle-free return policy.
So much more is involved in selling shoes than leather stiffeners or psi.
 

Proleet

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Messages
851
Reaction score
700
Pretty much. Knowledge is wonderful, and being able to articulate that knowledge is even better. I cannot understand why people get so upset about how some business is run. If SF members feel they could do a better job running Foster & Son, Allen Edmonds, Brooks Brothers, they should apply for a job there and show them how it's done.
I am pleased with the Ashwood model I picked up. Had I known my size ahead of time, I would buy a few more models.
The reason why I felt comfortable buying Ashwood blind is because of the Skoaktiebolaget hassle-free return policy.
So much more is involved in selling shoes than leather stiffeners or psi.
haha Having some experience in consulting for fashion and luxury brands (including some more mainstream SF brands) I can safely say you underestimate the internal dynamics of those companies getting in the way of proper decision making. Even at multi billion dollar companies it’s quite unsophisticated and often driven by ego (of which there is an abundance there). More so than pretty much any other industry.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Favorite knitwear under jackets/sport coats

  • Crewneck sweater

  • Turtleneck sweater

  • Long-sleeve polo

  • Vest

  • I don't like knitwear worn with jackets/sport coats


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
454,562
Messages
9,846,118
Members
205,361
Latest member
ritneyhiel
Top