Got it in two. Go back and read the anecdote about June Swann and "64 to the inch." Additionally, it's near-as-nevermind a self-evident truth that if an RTW maker does not need to pay for premium insole shoulder...because they are gemming rather than sewing directly to the insole, for instance...they will not. Why should they? In turn, as consumer acceptance of GY becomes more widespread, the demand for quality insole shoulder diminishes. Tanneries close. And pretty soon those that are left have to raise their prices to compensate for the lack of demand. As a result, manufacturers face even steeper prices...if it ever occurred to them to go back to better quality. And the whole industry, from manufacturer to bespoke maker, ends up with a scarce resource at higher prices. Eventually, because cheaper insole material is being used, it supplants the better quality in the minds of the consumer. And then the better stuff disappears entirely. That's when the whole cycle begins anew. Yes No. Superficialities...that's what you're really talking about. With no bearing on longevity or structural integrity. Fit is another thing altogether. Another aspect for another thread...but suffice it to say if you're buying RTW, in all likelihood you've never really been fit. I think design, shape and finishing are critical to presentation and to marketing. I want the shoes I make to be as well finished and well designed as I can possibly make them. It is a lifelong pursuit. But it has nothing to do with objective quality except as an indicator, perhaps, of whether quality was ever a real concern in the making. Bottom line, to buy a pair of shoes (any product or artifact)...at any price point...without knowing how they are made and what goes into them, knowing only the brand name and depending on that alone to provide some verisimilitude of quality is to be, by definition a "brand whore." It's not buying substance, it's buying pretense. Image.