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Question from forum newbie regarding Italian shoes

mohwld

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OK, I'm relatively new, having discovered the forum just last week. As many of you seem to be, I am an admitted clothes horse, and a shoe fanatic.

Here's the question:

Why no love for the Italian brands like Gucci, Prada, Tods, etc? I'm not saying this simply because I own 17 pairs combined of these particular brands and am now feeling bad about it...

Is it a quality thing? (I will say the soles of my Gucci shoes seem to wear through pretty quickly) or something like "real" watch people don't like Rolex? (I don't have one of those)

Feel free to "let 'er rip" - I have a tough hide and want to hear the truth...
 

DocHolliday

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Conventional wisdom here is that better quality can be had for less money. Many of us are like techheads when it comes to clothing and shoe construction, so discussion skews toward shoes that are seen as good value, even if they tend to be very expensive.
 

j

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Note that Santoni and Ferragamo, at least the higher end lines, are both commonly well-regarded here.

Also, many people here simply prefer English or American styling.
 

NoVaguy

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Originally Posted by mohwld
Why no love for the Italian brands like Gucci, Prada, Tods, etc? I'm not saying this simply because I own 17 pairs combined of these particular brands and am now feeling bad about it...

Is it a quality thing? (I will say the soles of my Gucci shoes seem to wear through pretty quickly) or something like "real" watch people don't like Rolex? (I don't have one of those)


It's a quality thing, as you've noticed. There's no love for shoes that cost a lot and wear out quickly for the price, like the gucci and prada's you've mentioned.
 

lee_44106

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The question of what manufacter actually makes the Gucci shoes has always been a mystery. Perhpas Gucci contracts with some unknown Italian factory. That said, I've found that my older (7-10 years ago) Gucci shoes are quite durable, and cannot speak about the current selections.

Your impression about Gucci/Prada shoes not being highly regarded around sites such as as and Ask Andy is correct. I personally feel that for the retail price that you pay ($400-$600) range, much better constructed shoes with better leather quality can be had. These would be Alden, Crockett&Jones, etc. A large part of the money spent for Gucci/Prada shoes goes toward the name factor. Most of their shoe offerings also are very susceptible to the fashion-of-the-moment (i.e., the square-toe phenomenon a few years back). Once the style is no longer fashionable, you are let with an expensive pair of shoe that may just sit in the closet. Gucci does have some classic styles such as the bit loafer.
 

horton

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I think it totally depends on the shoe brand and not simply "Made in Italy"

There are several Italian brands that are preferred here. Often they're Italian shos that have a basic English style to them plus a little something from Italian flair.

Sutors, Santonis, Lattanzis (worshipped), etc.

and I've seen some good comments for Tods

Other italian brands may look flashy at first but have corrected grain or the like and tend to be ridiculed here.
 

Christofuh

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Whenever you think of Italian shoes disregard the makers of corrected-grain-meets-plastic-on-glue crap offered @ ya-gotta-be-shitting-me prices.
Instead, think along the following lines







 

epa

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Gucci: I am quite strongly biased against Gucci and I actually never ever entered a Gucci store, in spite of having one just around the corner from my gym and in spite of knowing a girl who works there and who has asked me to come in and have a look at the sales. Why this negative bias? I guess it is because of the way they do publicity: a lot of the stuff looks quite hideous and I get the feeling that it is made for these people who like to look "extremely fashion forward" or "gay" or both. I get the feeling that quality is really a secondary thing for this brand. I do not say that this is the way it is, but this it the message I get from their publicity and from the stuff I see when I walk past their shopwindows.
(Now, in view of some Zegna Z and Zegna Sport stuff I have seen in the Zegna shop windows the last years, I feel that I am running a risk of developing a similar bias against Zegna...)
Prada: I always thought that Prada was just for women.
Tod: I have heard that their stuff is VERY expensive so I have preferred not to have a close look at it, so as not to fall into temptation. Maybe I should reconsider this.
 

Sator

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Originally Posted by epa
Tod: I have heard that their stuff is VERY expensive so I have preferred not to have a close look at it, so as not to fall into temptation. Maybe I should reconsider this.

I think you will find you are in for a massive dissappointment when you do see the Tod's. It isn't much better than the stuff from Gucci and Prada. I can guarantee you will run out of the store in horror if you know anything about shoes at all.
 

JBZ

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Gravati and Martegani are two "middle market" Italian brands that get a lot of good mention here. The general consensus seems to be they offer excellent styling and quality for the price. I do not own a pair of either, so I can't offer a hands on opinion.

I do have a pair of the Gucci bit loafers. The construction seems fine in that they've held up over time, but the leather quality isn't great. The color has completely faded in the toe area. They're not corrected grain, but the leather just looks cheap to my eye, even where the color hasn't faded. I also have a pair of Ferragamo bit loafers that have held up really well over time and are very comfortable. I rarely wear them anymore (I'm not really into bit loafers at the moment), but I am reluctant to get rid of them because they served me so well for so long.

I had a pair of Prada driving loafers, but got rid of them when I decided I didn't like the style. They were pretty comfortable, but, like Gucci, I thought the leather quality wasn't the best. I have a pair of Tods driving loafers, which are fine for what they are, but I'd never pay full price for them (something like $350 for a pair of shoes that will wear out quickly with any sort of regular use). There are plenty of much less expensive, perfectly serviceable driving loafers around. I do think the Tods make a nice Summer casual shoe, however.
 

johnapril

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What I'd say is you wear those shoes you have out, and in the meantime, begin to research the higher end, well made shoe world. Souliers.net is a decent resource. There are several knowledgable folks with experience here as well. After researching for a while, you will probably think to start buying. Don't do that yet. Think about your options before committing to another long path.

Bespoke or ready-to-wear?

Bespoke requires fittings and a larger initial investment for the last to build the shoe on, but if you find a maker with styles you like, and you want to build a collection and a relationship with that maker, then bespoke is a great way to go. But that is a committment. But that would also be a choice you would make after a lot of research, so you would be more confident that the new direction you are taking in shoes is one you will be happy with for years to come.
 

tailorrmade

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Christofuh, who makes the brown shoe in the very first picture you posted and where can i get that?!!!
 

SGladwell

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Originally Posted by mohwld
Why no love for the Italian brands like Gucci, Prada, Tods, etc? I'm not saying this simply because I own 17 pairs combined of these particular brands and am now feeling bad about it...

Gucci has made some interesting shoes, but everything since at least the Tom Ford era has been spottily constructed. Some of their tailored clothing is pretty nice, though. Zegna-made and a bit overpriced, but otherwise pretty nice. Prada, no comment because I can't say anything nice. Tod's...I have a soft spot for them. Their driving mocs are comfortable, and come in British Racing Green. I even like the take they did on "bowling shoes" a few years back. Those are still the only "dress sneakers" I can stand.

As others have mentioned, there are plenty of Italian brands that are good in both styling and quality. Santoni, to me, as the opposite problem from Gucci. Decent construction, why-the-hell-would-I-wear-that styling. Some people may look down on Tanino Crisci for being blake-stitched, but they use amazing leathers and I've found them to be durable. (They are overpriced.) Others have mentioned Sutor Mantellassi, Lattanzi, Scafora, etc.

So there's no bias against Italian shoes for the most part, but there is a strong pull away from shoes that are basically low-end shoes with a high brand premium.
 

odoreater

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Like others have said, Gucci and Prada don't get a lot of love, but other Italian brands do. My personal favorite shoe line is the Ferragamo Tramezza line. I'll take a pair of Tramezzas over Crockett & Jones, John Lobb or Edward Green any day (in fact, today I'm wearing a pair of SF Tramezza Fervido bit loafers).

I don't think it's good advice to recommend the English brands to someone looking for Italian styling, and the price of Kitons just blows the mind. If you like Italian styling, but want high quality, you can't go wrong with SF Tramezza or Santoni (ever since I acquired a pair of Santoni Brendens, I've been thirsting for more Santoni - I love the fit and feel).

But, above all else, you have to do what's right for you. If you feel that Gucci and Prada are more "you" than any of the brands we recommended, then in my opinion, you should try to avoid fallling into the "groupthink" or "forumthink" that abounds around here and you should stick with what you like. As long as you know all the facts (i.e., that the quality to price ration is not that great), there's nothing wrong with liking brands like Prada or Gucci.
 

Christofuh

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Originally Posted by tailorrmade
Christofuh, who makes the brown shoe in the very first picture you posted and where can i get that?!!!


Santoni does. Try their Manhattan location.
 

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