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John Lobb - durability concerns

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by swiego, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. swiego

    swiego Senior member

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    (Note: I have several "nicer" shoes including C&J, EG, Kiton; this is not an "expensive shoes are bad" post!)

    I have a pair of John Lobb Becketts. 8000 last, and I believe they are in "black museum calf." I've had them maybe a couple of years now; I wear them about once a month. So, about 20 wears. They've never seen rain or snow - they are babied.

    They have proven to be the most delicate shoes I have, by a wide margin.

    The biggest concern is the leather. It is exceptionally thin, more so than any other pair of shoes I have at any price point. This does mean that they are very soft; the light pressure the shoe exerts on the upper part of my foot feels akin to my foot being wrapped in a silk cloth, than leather. It's a nice feeling! However, I've noticed some serious downsides. First, these shoes wrinkle, and they wrinkle ugly. Wrinkles everywhere, With trees and a good polish, they look flawless, but the first step has them devolving into a wrinkled mess between the toe cap and the start of the tongue. (This is called the vamp?) They fit well, are not loose or tight.

    The other issue is durability. Shoes get scuffed, and scuffs get buffed out. These shoes don't scuff; the top surface of the leather is simply scratched off or lifted up. I've taken them into cobblers twice now for scratches in the leather that lifted off the black dyed surface. Both times, the lifted leather had to be glued back down. I just noticed another gouge/lifted patch this morning. I know where it came from - I sort of nicked the side of the left shoe with the heel of my right shoe. The leather heel gouged the leather upper. This is delicate stuff.

    I've also noticed that sole is beginning to split between layers in front of the heel on the inner side, on both shoes, at exactly the same place.

    The shoe is extremely well finished. The soles are wearing well, the insole is comfortable, and the inner lining of the upper is sumptuous and I love the feel of sliding my feet into them. There is not a single out of place stitch. However, I'm concerned that while the sole might last forever and ever, the uppers aren't built to last. I saw a couple of pairs at the Bergdorf Goodman in NYC over the Thanksgiving Break (my first real interaction with more JL shoes since I purchased these) and none had a similar "this leather is fragile" feel to them, but they were different models (e.g. loafers, suede perf captoes and so forth).

    So I guess my question is: I'm having a tough time accepting the durability of these shoes. Is the "museum calf" particularly delicate, something like a super 180s fabric? Are JLs known to be like this, or are only a few models so delicate, or do I simply have a bad pair? Any perspective would be appreciated; I'e searched online and haven't found indications that others have this problem. Right now, even my AEs are holding up better than this pair, and they are being subjected to much worse.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  2. Mr. Moo

    Mr. Moo Senior member

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    Pics?

    As for my experience with JL: I've a pair of Oakhams in Tobacco Suede. I've worn them at least one hundred times. Only the heel shows any significant wear.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  3. swiego

    swiego Senior member

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    Some pics, apologies for quality, taken with phone.

    how it appears when I wear them and walk - see the proclivity with which the leather bunches up, because it's so thin. Normally I'd look at a photo like this and think the fit is off, but the leather actually is decently snug against the upper part of my foot when flat. It bunches up when I walk as though it were cloth.
    [​IMG]

    when a tree is added, the creases smooth out. note also how the original laces are falling apart, faster than any laces on any shoe I've ever purchased! (this doesn't bother me so, but still...)
    [​IMG]

    crack in sole: on both shoes in same spot:
    [​IMG]

    scratch from last night. This sort of thing would be a scuff on my C&J or AE calves.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  4. Akeem

    Akeem Senior member

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    I've had my suttons in parisian museum from '08 that I wear about once a month as well. Except for normal creasing, I haven't noticed any durability issues. Soles and heels are fine. I haven't had any scuffs or scrapes to deal with so I cannot say if the uppers are fragile or not. Perhaps you have a defective pair. I've tried most of the top RTW brands out there, and I feel that the museum leather has been as good or better than the rest.

    That creasing makes it seem that the sizing is off a bit. I don't have anywhere near that much creasing on my pair.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2011
  5. phoenixrecon

    phoenixrecon Senior member

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    while I have nothing to add about quality. you should change the lacing on those shoes, it will make them look much nicer
     
  6. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    As for the splitting - this can happen on shoes with the stitching closed aloft and below. It can repaired. Don't Lobbs have a lifetime warranty for such things?

    The scuffing is just that scuffing. Soft, supple leather is not going to be as durable as a work boot. Them's the breaks.

    The creasing is a bit much - you sure they are the right fit (width) for you?

    As for the laces, I suggest you take the same approach that the world's most famous Lobb owner does: Have them removed and ironed after wearing by your valet. (HRH Prince William) :satisfied:
     
  7. Texasmade

    Texasmade Senior member

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    I have several pairs of Lobbs in the museum calf and none of them have creased as bad as yours. Looks like the sizing is off on yours or you just got a bad pair. I don't know what's going on with the scratches since whenever mine get scuffed it doesn't look like that. It looks like just a normal scuff mark.
     
  8. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    I would say that the creasing is really abnormal. In the photo, is your foot flat, or are you flexing it as though to walk? If flat, that's really bizarre.

    On the scuff issue, I might say that the Lobb museum finish does scuff relatively easily, and I've had a similar scuff to yours (almost a tear). I've had really good results buffing and polishing mine out to be almost unnoticeable, but not perfect.

    I'm not sure what to tell you - I've got the same pair (black Beckham's), that I don't baby, and they look much much much better than yours.
     
  9. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    +1. I also have several pairs of JL including the Becketts in black museum calf, and mine do not crease like those in the pics. Scratches are not a problem for me either on any of my JLs in museum calf, which are several.
     
  10. Newcomer

    Newcomer Senior member

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    It looks like you are WAY off in size. Like way, way, way off.
     
  11. hikari013

    hikari013 Senior member

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    I have a pair of lobbs that don't have the creasing issue, but they've got what looks to be a ripple under the leather on the toe. I should probably email the company about it and see what they can do. Pretty shitty in my opinion for $1200+ shoes.
     
  12. brokentelephone

    brokentelephone Senior member

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    I have the exact same problem with my Becketts. They are heavily wrinkled, both at the normal point, and right in the center of he sides of the shoe where they are connected to the sole (bad explanation, sorry). I find myself constantly conditioning and polishing them to restore the finish, only to lose it seconds after wearing them.

    I have a few pairs of JL (Lopez, some other loafers, and a few dress shoes) which all are great EXCEPT the Becketts seem like the leather is much thinner and they seem to wear terribly.

    One more observation -- they don't seem black in bright light, but purple (and others have noticed this about my shoes as well which is rare).
     
  13. viator

    viator Senior member

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    I think the crack in the sole you refer to might just be welt seam.
     
  14. danou

    danou Member

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    Aug 14, 2016
    John Lobb Campus suede loafers (first choice) : stitches are already falling apart after less than two months of occasional wear !!!

    [​IMG]


    UPDATE:
    Tried to contact JL - the man on the phone told me they only handle shoes purchased directly from them... A contact form on their site remains without response... You can say anything about Church's or Cheaney, they are very responsive and their shoes are their shoes... They would NEVER send you back to the seller. I am really appalled by this experience. As beautiful as their shoes are, a manufacturer that doesn't stand behind their product does not deserve the high accolades they get...
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016

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