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London Shoe Question

jjgold

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I am going to be in London next month and had a few questions. I am quite happy with the availability of custom suits and shirts here in the states. But I am contemplating buying some shoes while there since there seems to be more selection over there. Is this correct? Is there a store that I can get some high end hand made shoes but at a reasonable price (for hand made anyhow)? Or, is there some internet site that is a better deal and just save the money? Also curious what line fit similar to the Testoni? That is available over there?

Thanks

jj
 

jjgold

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Ok Maybe a little to ADD...where is the best place to buy shoes in London? Do they have sales?

thanks
 

chorse123

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There are sales, but I think you're going to be too early for the summer sales.

One place to check out is Gordon Scott on New Bond Street. I have found good deals on C&J shoes there.

I leave comment on "hand made" to others.
There are a number of threads on this in the archives, I believe.
 

whoopee

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Hand made shoes in London means you will need to go bespoke. Or fly to Budapest, Vienna, or Italy.

For quality English shoes, see Edward Green, C&J, and John Lobb.
 

RJman

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Hand made is a myth. The cost and reputation of many items is not because they are handmade, although some hand work may be present (especially in the finishing) and great care may be taken in making the product. A bad hand made item is just as bad as a bad machine made item.

There are many fallacies about hand made. It is easy for marketers and retailers to justify anything's price in saying it is handmade. I have seen people refer to Turnbull and Asser shirts as fine handmade shirts. I don't think a stitch in them is. They're still quite good shirts. Barneys New York called Berluti the finest handmade shoes -- instead, they're machine welted and far from the finest handmade or machine made shoe out there. Charvet shirts are in general excellent, and they're completely machine made, with certain small exceptions in bespoke. NPR did a piece on bespoke tailor Thomas Mahon, a very nice little piece, in which the reporter alluded to the allure of hand made suits. They might be nice, but they're not out there on Savile Row. However, a good SR suit is going to have lots of hand detailing and is hand cut, and hopefully hand canvassed. Hand made is a bit of a marketing crutch. Edward Green and John Lobb are two of the finest shoemakers out there, and neither one has much handwork. Crockett and Jones has a "Hand Grade" line which has no more handwork than either as well. What makes these three shoemakers so good is the quality of the materials and the quality of manufacture, even if they are largely machine made. That quality is based on many painstaking steps, and it's sexier and easier simply to assert sometihng is hand made.

Moral one: Don't assume something is hand made even if a salesman, a website or a marketing brochure says it is.

Moral two: Don't do yourself a disservice by focusing on hand made at the expense of other qualities that might be harder to descirbe but which contribute to a great item... For great ready-made shoes in London, visit John Lobb, Trickers, Edward Green and Crockett & Jones on Jermyn St (avoid Church's): those four are excellent and make most of the better high-end shoe names in London, including New & Lingwood, Kilgour, Cleverley, Richard James, etc.
 

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