Shoe Damage Report & Shoe P0rn Central - Part II

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Oyaji, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    But that's true of everything--handmade or machine made. Quality is not necessarily dependent on how something is made or labeled.

    That said, when choices are made...such as when a shoemaker chooses to inseam with long stitches per inch,or refuses to see that the stitches are not pulled tight ("seeing" or not seeing is also a choice)...when the choice is made that production costs are so paramount that high quality techniques and materials are eliminated or considered non-viable, it is nothing less than nonsense to even use the term "quality." It makes of mockery of the language and the process and even the intelligence of other people in the discussion.

    Political correctness aside, some choices are simply better than others. Better conceptually, better in results.
    Maybe the shoemakers you know...or maybe you're not really understanding what you're seeing and just think that it's cutting corners.

    Of course, but that's just a red herring. Ask yourself the real question...filthy lucre aside, would you rather have a well made hand welted shoe or a well made gemmed shoe? Seeing/highlighting the flaws in one maker's work, or in one example, doesn't elevate that which fundamentally cannot be elevated. Manufacturing by its very nature seeks the lowest production costs--the lowest common denominator so to speak...including time and materials. Gemming epitomizes that philosophy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  2. hendrix

    hendrix Ill-proportioned

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    It pretty much was what i was trying to say. the 500 thing was a bit of a distraction, sorry.

    It seems to me that the difference between a pair of loakes and a pair of jlp rtw is; nicer leather, handlasting, channeled soles, better lasts and designs. All of which are valid reasons to buy jl over loake. Particularly design - Jl 7000 and EG 82 lasts are very lustworthy to me.

    I am also a layman so have no idea about the durability of gemmed shoes, for all i know it could be just as good as handwelted.

    Moreover, handlasting, design costs, nice leather, and channeled soles could genuinely raise the cost of producing such shoes. But then, what is the value in all this extra effort when they then choose to sew the welt on with a machine and a piece of canvas?

    One could take an entirely cynical attitude (what the consumer cant see, massive margins, marketing etc). Or one can just enjoy the shoes for what they are; very nice versions of machine made shoes.

    IMO, handlasting, nice leather and channeled soles do not make them the real deal. i would rather spend the extra money on the real thing.
     
  3. Burton

    Burton Senior member

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    Yes. If you want 575 posts on the fallacy of gem shoes. No way! Sorry folks. I cannot, for the absolute friggin life of me, understand why this goes on and on. You can buy a lifetime roof or you can buy one that last 40 years - either way none of us will be living in the friggin house anymore. So I don't care. Yesterday I was walking in downtown Chicago and I saw so many gemming failures that I had to turn and look away from the shame and embarrassment knowing that I had spent all my money on gemmed shoes.

    While we are at it, how many angels can break dance on the head of pin?
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  4. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Hendrix,

    Gotcha - makes perfect sense to me.

    Having never had a shoe fail at the welt, nor ever heard any solid evidence as to quantifiable superiority of a hand welted shoe over a gemmed shoe I have to assume that the durability of the two methods is certainly within a range we could call 'fairly comparable'. As to the less tangible issues, comfort/flexibility, degree of skill involved, time, blood, sweat, and tears, romantic value of a hand made product, etc. etc. here is no doubt that there is more value in the hand welted.

    I'm not to the point that I am personally willing to spend the moola for fully hand made shoes. But I completely understand and appreciate that it's your personal choice to do so.
     
  5. mcarthur

    mcarthur Senior member

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    [​IMG]
    cigar cap toe
    argyle otc
     
  6. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Break dancing requires very little space per dancer - thus the answer is 476,485.

    However, modern interpretive dancing requires a great deal of space per dancer, so in regard to modern interpretive dance the answer is 276,495.

    I'm actually quite shocked that a man of your obvious intellect has not yet made these simple calculations.

    :embar:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  7. isshinryu101

    isshinryu101 Senior member

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    Some excellent insights always. The man knows his stuff.
     
  8. Burton

    Burton Senior member

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    I can be slow at times. You know - I tend to get fixated :)
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No matter how far short of perfection a particular maker's work falls, hand welted is always an attempt to bring the best to bear. Simply because it is a choice.

    No matter how well done, Goodyear construction can never be elevated beyond the mundane and mediocre simply because it originates in an attempt to reduce a very, very good...maybe, in the right hands, even unimpeachable...technique/skill to the commonplace and cheap. It is by design and by philosophy the diametric opposite of bringing the best to bear.

    And that too is a choice.

    But perhaps more important is the choice to support the the cheapening of everything that is, or ever has been, good. Not by buying or consuming or using or even accepting but by defending and justifying mediocrity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  10. Burton

    Burton Senior member

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    Again, DWFII, I know you are an expert, this is angels break-dancing on the head of a pin. Sure, in the abstratct, what you say is true. However, in the history of the human world, the two individuals who have suffered gemming failure have been sent to their chamber and have been dealt with in a summary fashion. Let's discuss things that really matter. This gemming issue is a true red herring not worthy of serious discussion (except by poets and coffee house marxists). If I am wrong, we should start a thread reporting gemming failure and the overhyped and undersexed SF posters can posts pictures of their lame gems. Yes and we can also discuss how to make the perfect souffle.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  11. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

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    SOS's faux Pidgin/Chinglish whatever it is can be vexing but he sure knows his stuff. Suspect a sock of another knowledgeable gent. [​IMG]



    Agree absolutely.

    EG - they do what they do better than anyone IMO- partly because they've been doing it for so long. We're not just buying a shoe, but a whole English tradition. And if the construction aint good enough, then we'll just have to convince Hilary and Lazlo to go into biz together.

    For anyone interested FNB has written an ode to EG that says it as well as any (and whatever his faults, the man can write like an angel):

    http://www.filmnoirbuff.com/article/edward-green-shoes-true-heart-true-friend-to-the-dandy

    "The original 202 last was designed almost a century ago. This is a tremendous tradition and example of past and future maintaining a constant link. It is exciting thinking that you may be wearing the same shoes that Fitzgerald wore in Paris or the Duke of Windsor wore while elegantly fox-trotting his Kingdom away. Were these the shoes Chamberlain wore while assuring peace in our time or the ones Sir Winston addressed parliament in while England stood alone against the darkness? I do know that present day mandarins wear them as do many the more successful of the City of London set."




    Understood, but anyone who can afford EG can afford Vass. I for one get different things out of these 2 makers.

    Fact is, whatever the merits of construction of hand-welted shoes, there are few shoes in the EG price range or below that can compare with the sheer Englishness of say a Chelsea on the 202, or the Brummel on the 82.

    So EG offers something no-one else does, or does as well, and it is something more valuable to me than authentic hand construction alone.

    Who wants to wear a shoe that's 100% fatto-a-mano but looks costumish? In terms of CBD and business casual, a shoe IMO should never dominate an outfit or call attention to itself- and few EG styles would ever do that.
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I have over 40 years of intimate experience with gemming failure. I even posted photos...right here on SF...of several examples that I happened to see (in my retirement) recently. One of which was a high end English RTW that had never seen wear more than once a week and then only on carpet. The owner wasn't aware of the problem even though it was instantly visible to a casual glance into the interior of the shoe. He was, BTW, not particularly appreciative when I pointed it out to him. A lot like some folks here. Denial is not a pretty thing especially among people who strive for exceptionalism.

    If I were into bespoke suiting I suspect I would be just as offended by the blase attitude which embraces poly-viscose as a perfectly acceptable alternative to wool...and a new, and affordable standard of quality...tada!

    Your example of the roof is telling. Why would the 40 year roof be a better investment than the lifetime roof? Because you don't figure to live more than 40 years and don't care if you pass the house onto your children? Hell, you might not live another ten years...maybe felted tar paper would be the wiser investment and sufficient to your needs.

    But it is just this kind of short term and short sighted thinking that has this country so far in debt that even our children's children's children will not be able to pay it back. Because we don't ever tabulate the real, hidden costs of taking the easy way out.

    I am not a marxist in any sense of the word. I may even be more cutting edge in terms of ideas that have potential to propagate into the future than yourself. Our whole world/culture is rife with examples of products and enterprises that started off wholesome and nurturing both to the body and the spirit and which, over the course of time, have been so coarsened that they are now nearly toxic. All in the name of profit and expediency. (And make no mistake I am a big, big fan of profit...but honest profit.)

    The truth is that when the scales are weighted so tellingly against us, even the pin...nevermind the angels...can tip the balance irretrievably
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  13. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

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    ^ I'll probably be visited by the gemming Gollum and my EGs will fall apart for saying this, but we have been talking RTW shoes here, and hand-made - esp hand-stitched welt - shoes are just not part of the RTW equation. .

    AFAIK the only RTW that are fully hand-made are Lattanzi, and we all know how affordable they are. Once you accept that all RTW have varying degrees of machine input, It's always a question which particular qualities in a shoe a purchaser values most.

    Most of my shoes are hand-welted, so i appreciate old school construction, but none of those have exactly what EG has, which I value - their lasts, leathers, close-cut welt and general refinement of finish. To get that quintissential English look and hand-made construction (well almost, except for the treadle used to sew the uppers[​IMG]) there's little choice but to go Cleverly, Fosters, JL Ltd or other English bespoke.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
  14. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    If there are any viable and proven alternative to 'high end' gemmed shoes, I am all ears. Here are the requirements:

    1) under or around $1,000
    2) a trustworthy maker that's either young enough to survive past me or has institutionalized its skills/looks much like, say, John Lobb St James, John Lobb Paris, Cleverley, etc
    3) a maker that's at least accessible instead of not readily accessible maker (to USA) like Vass
    4) decent last/last customization
    5) as good in details or design as those 'high end' gemmed shoes

    The only thing comes to mind is St Crispins, but then they are wood pegged and it has its downsides for durability. Glued-on welt still sounds better than nailing the sole like an vampire.
     
  15. meister

    meister Senior member

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    True and with a few English grammar lessons he would be even more imposing as a poster...IMO of course...
     

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