Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..."

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    All very understandable and from my point of view "no harm, no foul."

    I think there is a place for GYW shoes but there is also a place for "truth in advertising." And if you are paying nearly bespoke prices for a shoe that is markedly inferior, and if you are not aware of that because of all the hype and self-promotional BS that floats around the Internet masquerading as fact...or even self-deception...then another perspective is useful.

    And that said, sometimes I wonder if objective analysis and recognition...even repetition...of basic facts gets tiring simply because it makes us confront uncomfortable truths about ourselves.

    I also find it useful to remember that even though some of us have had this discussion many times there are a lot of people here...more every day...who aren't familiar with it. And the only defense that truth has against misinformation is steadfast engagement.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  2. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    Very true, I do believe that marketing holds a lot of blame here. People should ideally have all of the info before making a choice.

    You are also correct that lots of people just don't know (or care to know) on this forum. Plenty of shoe threads are content to make a cult like experience out of the discussion. My problem is when people bring up this debate on such threads, as a form of condescension or elitism. The point is not to educate, but to troll or judge someone for their choice (be it informed or not). This is what I can do with less of on this forum.

    I am more than pleased to have discussions of this nature as well. Discussions like this will always have a place for people that care enough to educate themselves. It's a more difficult task to force information down other people's throats, and maybe those people (most people) are not worth waisting your words on...
     
  3. tifosi

    tifosi Tire Kicker

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    I just love, love, love this argument. If someone can tell me where, in NJ let's say, that I can have a bespoke pair of shoes made for $1k I will gladly buy nothing but bespoke, hand-welted shoes for the rest of my life.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  4. vmss

    vmss Senior member

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    Also, I would like to know which makers are over priced using the gy method. It's been mentioned many times that some GY makers "rip" off customers. I would like to know which makers we should prevent when buying gy shoes.

    I never purchased above $500 for Goodyear, so I can't compare with carmina and Allen Edmonds I have to those above $500.

    I do realize that even under 500 the carmina uses much better materials like uppers, soles heels and overall refinement than Allen Edmonds. After walking in carminas, I do see a difference in the quality of the two Goodyear makers. It's also understood that each carmina takes 15-20 days to make compared to AE which takes lesser amount of time to make.

    I think again when talking about the topic quality in relation to price is also key to consider.
     
  5. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    tifosi, New York is not that far away from NJ, and houses Oliver Moore and E. Vogel, for starters.

    http://www.olivermoorebootmakers.com/index.html

    http://vogelboots.com

    Vogel charges around $500 for the last, but subsequent pairs made on your last are a bit over $1000. Both of these makers don't market much, one kind of has to know them.
     
  6. vmss

    vmss Senior member

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    Dwf, I have a question.

    Carmina mentioned that they leave their uppers on the last for 4days. How long would you or a bespoke handwelt maker let the shoes on the last?

    What amount of days is expected to remain on the last before the next step of attaching the sole etc?

    What is the average day or maybe hours that the average Goodyear maker leave their shoes on the last?
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Tifosi,

    I don't know NJ but I do know of bespoke makers in Oregon who charge under $1K. There's a guy in Toronto who is probably in the $1k vicinity. Of course you have to put some effort into finding the makers ...who don't have the budget (or the profit margins) to advertise worldwide or have cachet names. You also have to put some effort into making sure that you get a good fit and the workmanship is up to your standards. Unfortunately, even that is too much effort for some folks.


    VMSS,

    How much do you think the one or two square foot of prime French calf costs in comparison (again with the comparisons) to one or two square feet of corrected grain cow? Is it $500.00 worth? Yet the upper leather is about the only thing you can reliably point to that differs between the $500.00 GYW shoe (or even a $300.00 shoe) and the $1k GYW shoe.

    And again, as in my original post here...both of you underscore one of the main theses--namely that the central argument for GYW shoes is price; cost--too much money/too much effort. Is that the way you define quality? If so, isn't that also an argument for particle board and/or the PVC suiting?

    In fact, quality doesn't have anything to do with price...even if price is the paramount consideration in your own buying choices. It simply doesn't...and anytime you factor it in, you dumb down the definition of quality to encompass the mundane.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  8. sleepyinsanfran

    sleepyinsanfran Senior member

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    Love SF - when the guy from Finland tells the guy from NJ about a store in New York :)

    i have GY shoes btw, and some HW. The latter fit me better, but after a decade of GYW purchases it's hard to turn my rotation over to HW in a couple of years. But baby steps I guess!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  9. diadem

    diadem Senior member

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    Not bespoke, but standard line MTO shoes from Antonio Meccariello start at €650. They're handwelted and while I have no experience with standard line from Meccariello, others on SF who have say that the finishing is better than RTW G&G. Tack on a pair of GYW trial shoes (which you get to keep) to nail the fit down for €300 and shipping to the USA for €180 and your total is a little over $1,250 by current exchange rates (transfer fees not included). I personally find this to be a much better bang for my buck than RTW shoes from G&G, JL, or EG, even at discounted prices as I've yet to find a RTW last that fits me to my satisfaction.

    So yeah, you get 2 pairs of shoes (Antonio says the GYW trial shoes are the same quality as entry-level Santoni, and judging from my pair, that's about right) that will fit better than RTW for the price of 1 RTW GYW shoe from a top-end Northampton firm.

    And he didn't say bespoke prices, but nearly bespoke prices [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    It's kind of bogus information for a bespoke maker because from the moment the shoe is drafted over the last, it is, by definition sitting on the last.

    If it takes me a day to handwelt a pair of shoes (including drying times and my own penchant to shift to other work that doesn't strain my posture so much), there will still be a week or so in which I am bottoming and finishing...all that week the shoe is on the last.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  11. vmss

    vmss Senior member

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    "The manufacturing process

    All Carmina shoes are made using traditional goodyear double stitching and undergo a strict manufacturing process to meet the highest standards of quality. Production is carried out by a team of highly skilled craftspeople who carefully handle each stage of the shoemaking process.
    1.Making the last.
    After completing an exhaustive study on foot ergonomics, a highly-skilled craftsman makes the last – wooden shape that simulates the foot.
    2.Drawing the design.
    The design is fully and accurately drawn on the wooden last. This is a tradition which most goodyear welted shoe manufacturers no longer use, but Carmina treasures as a key stage in the creative process.
    3.Making the patterns.
    The three-dimensional design is divided into two-dimensional patterns, which are used to cut the leather and lining pieces for the shoe upper.
    4.Selecting the materials.
    Carmina uses only the best materials. Naturally treated genuine leathers are conscientiously selected and stored at a specific temperature to achieve adequate moisture for cutting. They specialize in genuine shell cordovan, a top quality, highly prized equine leather.
    5.Cutting.
    This process is very laborious and requires great skill. It is always carried out by hand, taking one pair at a time and cutting the leather piece by piece. All pieces are then skived to guarantee a perfect assembly and stitch.
    6.Closing.
    The different pieces, including lining and reinforcements, are painstakingly sewn together with cotton thread. The stitching is carefully performed to achieve perfect thread tension for durability.
    7.Lasting.
    The shoe upper is pulled over the last in a semi-manual operation. The upper has been previously mulled, which helps it adapt to the last and take its volume and shape perfectly. Finally, the lasted shoe is left sitting for four days in a humid atmosphere to achieve perfect moulding.
    8.Welt and sole sewing.
    The insole is paramount in the process of a goodyear welted shoe. Having already positioned the rib, the shoemaker stitches the welt which attaches the upper to the insole. The space enclosed by the welt is filled with a natural compound of tiny cork and ground sole pieces to provide incredible comfort by allowing each foot to create its own natural footbed. The welt also becomes an attachment point for the sole, to be stitched through the grooves with hot waxed thread in a locked stitch.
    9.Edge evening and trimming and heel attachment.
    The edges of the sole are evenly trimmed to ensure the attachment of the heel. Multiple sole layers offer resilience and prevent cracking or shifting.
    10.Sole staining and polishing.
    The sole edges and bottoms are stained and polished with wax to give them a natural long-lasting shine and an appealing finish.
    11.Finishing
    The shoes are carefully waxed and burnished with natural bee creams and waxes, ermine brushes and tinsel cloths for a rich shine and extraordinary patina.

    The entire process takes 15-20 days, and it guarantees the highest standards of quality. Carmina Shoemaker takes tremendous pride in their craftsmanship, which uses the singularity and irregularities of the natural materials to prevent uniformity in the final product, conferring uniqueness on each pair of shoes they make.
    - See more at: http://www.leatherfoot.com/artisans/carmina-shoemaker#sthash.HRHWTc5h.dpuf"


    This is the manufacturing process of Goodyear welting of carmina. The question is this process typical in the average low AE, mid carmin and cj to high eg, lobb g%g?
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Thank you...that's a point I intended to make in my response and it slipped past me--not all GYW shoes are $1k or less . Some approach $2k or more. Were the $25,000 Hermes crocodile riding boots handwelted?

    We tend to dwell on these high end, cachet brands here, as if they represent not only the gold standard in shoemaking but in quality. I think the case can be made that nothing could be further from the truth...but as long as the focus is there, let them be the standard for price, as well. What"s the price for a pair of G&G or EG? Or Lobbs of Paris?

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  13. tifosi

    tifosi Tire Kicker

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    Thank you very much for your kind response. Now that I know, I will look into it.
     
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    There's not much there that the other manufacturers, don't do as well. That said, I would be cautious...even suspicious...of the hype. The first several steps outlined in Carmina's description are more associated with bespoke or made to measure. If they are not bespoke, those steps are not needed and in that event, you can be sure that, especially on standard sized lasts, they are all done previously (long since) and automated.

    One other point...despite the gratuitous self-congratulation, I doubt very much whether a GYW shoe manufacturer would put really high quality (Baker?) insoles in a GY shoe. The bottom line is the bottom line and every manufacturer has to adhere to it.

    Baker...or even something marginally equivalent...would be overkill and an unnecessary (and substantial) expense when the characteristics of a really prime insole are simply not needed--ie. with Goodyear welted.

    And similarly with the rest of the hype in that "press release."

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  15. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    tifosi, my pleasure, these smaller makers need support more than any factory out there because their volume is tiny, and they rarely have the cash to advertise. Just let me know if you'd like more tips at some point. It's a small world, after all.
     

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