APC denim quality is alright at best, it's build quality suffers from being mass produced in China. Tunisia. It's big selling point is its cuts (NC, PS are very unique and flattering cuts, so is the NS but the Routes may as well be another NS) and its denim's characteristics- it has a very distinctive and quick fading properties, its stretchy and it is very uniform in color and texture. It's cheap and it fades. Add to that the sizing issues, sizing down two and Armstrong-like stretching, is why I never recommend it. Crate is basically taking deadstock denim and making a very decent (considering the pricepoint) jean in slightly more traditional cuts. The jean build itself I will say is higher than APC, the denim is subjective, the Crate jean I have seen are slightly slubby, very dark (as opposed to the lighter APC) and fades vertically. I don't own this jean personally however, I have only seen it. The Crate cuts are actually updated versions of popular traditional jeans. The construction is hands-down better than APC, as is the detailing, which is all done in a factory in LA. The denim is subjective in the sense that some people think that nothing beats a pair of 501s from Sears versus someone who knows that Cone Mills isn't a factory known for producing dunce hats or 1980s-Madonna bras. I'm not sure which Crates you saw that are darker than APC (?) but there are two different types of denim used for various models: a slubby/streaky version known for its lighter weight and a straightforward Levi's-style uniform indigo. I realize I have a vested interest in Crate but I speak from prior experience when I say that the $155 sewn pieces of blue French cardboard never appealed to me; once I learned about Crate it further made me question the validity of APC's status as the entry-level jean. Whall makes very solid jeans in a wide variety of flattering cuts using very decent denim. The last pair I saw in person was over two years ago (before he made the denim switch, IIRC) and I, along with the wearer, was impressed with the final product. Ultimately, it comes down to what a person wants from his jeans and how hard he's willing to open his wallet. But with Crate being what it is and going for $145 before a SF discount it's hard to justify spending the $155.