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Shoe Quality?

JMott

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I'm new around here and have some questions regarding shoe quality. Before I ask, I'll note that I searched quite a bit and couldn't find an answer to my question.

What makes a shoe higher quality than another? What makes a Vass shoe better than an EG shoe better than C&J shoe better than an Alden shoe better than an AE shoe? (Or whatever the appropriate order is). I'v got a couple pair of AE shoes and some Brooks Brothers shoes and really din't realize that there was a world of very high end shoes out there until I found this place. This morning I picked up a pair of the Made in China Brooks Brothers 346 shoes from a BB outlet (on sale for $90) and started wondering what made them lower quality than others.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

kylelovesyou

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Doesn't really answer your question, but I picked up a pair of those 346 this weekend as well. I don't have a great shoe collection, but I can tell that these are of rather poor quality. Goodyear welted, though. I'm going to use them as bad weather shoes.
 

cimabue

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I have a pair of fairly new Italian-made wingtips that I use as my beaters. They're welted. 'Just wore them in the rain for the first time. I've noticed the soles are coming unstitched.

Good shoes are shoes that can be taken for granted. They're going to be there, year in and year out.

A good shoe holds it shape, holds a shine, and holds its appeal.
 

JMott

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Originally Posted by kylelovesyou
Doesn't really answer your question, but I picked up a pair of those 346 this weekend as well. I don't have a great shoe collection, but I can tell that these are of rather poor quality. Goodyear welted, though. I'm going to use them as bad weather shoes.

I haven't decided whether I should keep them or take them back and just get another pair of AE or Aldens.
 

kylelovesyou

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I guess it depends on what you need. The AE's would definitely be a step up in quality, and I see tons of AE for cheap at Nordstrom Rack. Alden would be a pretty big jump in price from what you just bought.
 

bigbris1

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Originally Posted by JMott
I'm new around here and have some questions regarding shoe quality. Before I ask, I'll note that I searched quite a bit and couldn't find an answer to my question.

What makes a shoe higher quality than another? What makes a Vass shoe better than an EG shoe better than C&J shoe better than an Alden shoe better than an AE shoe? (Or whatever the appropriate order is). I'v got a couple pair of AE shoes and some Brooks Brothers shoes and really din't realize that there was a world of very high end shoes out there until I found this place. This morning I picked up a pair of the Made in China Brooks Brothers 346 shoes from a BB outlet (on sale for $90) and started wondering what made them lower quality than others.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Fit>quality>craftsmanship>style. In that order.
 

JMott

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Originally Posted by kylelovesyou
I guess it depends on what you need. The AE's would definitely be a step up in quality, and I see tons of AE for cheap at Nordstrom Rack. Alden would be a pretty big jump in price from what you just bought.

Agree on both points. However, the money is not too much of a concern up to the Alden price point. The reason I bought the BB shoes without too much thought was because they were under $100 and look reasonably nice. However, the more I read around here, the less I want to hang on to them.

I didn't even think to check nordstrom rack though. Good idea. Thanks.

Joe
 

Wideknot

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Originally Posted by bigbris1
Fit>quality>craftsmanship>style. In that order.


While I agree that each of these parameters should be taken into account, I would order them differently. My initial thought was: materials>craftsmanship>fit. I put fit last because a high quality shoe may not fit well, but it is still a high quality shoe. Just not to a particular buyer. (I'm starting to believe that, for some buyers, fit is irrelevant. I'm just about convinced that some bespoke shoes are commissioned simpy to admire, photograph, and post on SF.) As far as the other two are concerned, I've decided that craftsmanship outshines materials. Quality materials can be destroyed through shoddy assembly. On the other hand, modest materials can be transformed by a skilled craftsman.

Here's what I would look for:

Proper assembly: How is it constructed? Fully or partially welted (and what type)? Sewn or glued? Are the stitches even and tight? Are there loose threads? Is the brogueing clean and even? Are the parts symmetrical? Is the interior clean and smooth or are there bumps or ridges?

Quality materials: What kind of leather? Is it natural or corrected grain? Is it all leather construction? If not, why not? (Some non-leather components are better in particular situations, Dainite soles on boots intended for bad weather wear, for example. Metal toe caps for another.)

Design: This is an intangible but nonetheless communicates quality. In a wingtip, for example, is there symmetry and balance between the various pieces? Is the design tasteful and well executed? What is the general overall shape of the shoe? Elegant and refined or not?

Fit: Not every shoe will fit ideally. You may get lucky and find a commercial last that works very well with your foot. More than likely you will live with a certain amount of compromise. The shoes I most often wear, a pair of tan monks, are a little tight. Not such that they hurt, but I know that they are there. OK, I can live with less than perfect fit.

To summarize, a quality shoe will have demonstrably excellent quality of assembly; shall have uppers made of non-corrected grain, premium leather; will use leather throughout its construction except where other materials are chosen to improve the shoe's performance, not reduce the cost of it's manufacture; shall be of welted construction; and shall fit such that they will be wearable under the conditions for which they were purchased.
 

jhcam8

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Return them and upgrade to AE's or BB made in England. Your feet will thank you.

Then subscribe to the many shoe theads here. have fun!
 

JMott

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Originally Posted by jhcam8
Return them and upgrade to AE's or BB made in England. Your feet will thank you.

Then subscribe to the many shoe theads here. have fun!


Thanks for the advice. I think I'll return them this morning and pick up another pair of AEs. Maybe some strands.
 

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