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New line of church's

My View

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I was in Hong Kong a couple of days ago and saw in the Church's boutique a new top-of-the-range line called "Royal". To my untrained eyes, the leather seemed to be better than that of the "custom grade" (which I believe was the previous top-of-the-range from Church's) but the sole looked very much the same as that of "custom grade" (the stitiching is still exposed, unlike say John Lobb or Edward Green) except the top half was of a darker hue of brown with the word "Royal" embossed.

I picked up (as to held it in my hands, not bought) a pair of plain top-cap oxford and the price was more than HKD 6,600 (approx USD 760) - quite costly I think. For that price, one can get John Lobbs or Edward Greens at full retail (and still be left with enough money for some nice polish and perhaps even a pair of shoe trees).

As discussed several times on this board and AskAndy's, there seems to be general consensus among members that the quality of Church's has gone downhill. Personally, my only pair of almost 3 year-old "custom grade" Church's has served me well in terms of fit and comfort but I have found the leather quality to be wanting (cracks + unsightly white "sediments" - is it the right word - showing at the sides after exposure to rain).

Any more thoughts on this? Has anyone else seen the new "Royal" line?
 

AlanC

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I have no experience with Church's at all, but one would think they simply to maintain some quality standards they would have a line comparable to C&J's Handgrade if for no other reason than to be able to point to it with pride.
 

marc37

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Nice to hear from you My View, it's been a while.

l don't know anything about Church's royal grade however Church's handgrade are considered to be below C&J quality these days.

l know of retail outlets that no longer stock Church's because [since Prada took over] all the shoes are having their leather split along the welt. Some of my newer pairs (pro prada) have dry leather uppers; l predict they will prematurely split as well. Common; over 5,000 pairs are produced a week now.

Church's are not what they once were; look at something else (C&J). Church's are a very dubious company: high prices, dubious quality and suspicious new product lines.
 

johnnynorman3

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I just bought a pair of Church's Custom Grade plain toe blucher in antiqued dark brown with a Dainite sole. They were $125 during the "Louis Boston Sale" at Filene's Basement. It is the first pair of Church's I have seen in person. Though your comments about welt-splitting scare me a bit -- though I imagine you are referring to leather soled shoes -- IMO the quality of the leather is really glorious. I can't see these things simply drying out. The leather is thick yet there was no breaking in period. It really glows and is impeccably finished. Most comfortable shoe I've ever worn to boot.
 

marc37

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l was referring to leather soles. Keep the uppers moist by regular polishing. Some of mine are alittle dry. My pre-prada Church's are fine.
 

STYLESTUDENT

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 Though your comments about welt-splitting scare me a bit -- though I imagine you are referring to leather soled shoes -- IMO the quality of the leather is really glorious.  I can't see these things simply drying out.  
JN3- I had numerous pairs of Church shoes throughout the '80s and '90s and still wear many of them. I've never experienced splitting or cracking or anything similar. You can look at the "jerrys friend" shoe list to corroborate-he still has a lot of them.

But I haven't had any recent experience with Church's since they closed the store at Madison and 49th (and stopped their semi-annual sales). Church's are now carried by Bergdorfs, which, in my universe, is always a good sign.
 

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