Shoes are killing me...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Carey, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Carey

    Carey Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Sorry for the pic foul (no accompanying picture), but what follows is my plight.

    Three weeks ago when I was in Atlanta on business, I went to Neiman-Marcus and I saw a few pairs Barker Black slip-ons . I have to say I was generally unimpressed, and I was particularly bummed-out that the whole "nails head skull & cross bones" on the sole was completely faux. To top it off this particular pair of black slip-ons was $650.00, or some other ridiculous price.

    The John Lobb OTR lace-ups for $1100.00 did not impress me either. I have difficulty accepting a shoe whose sole has no stitching. I am not a fan of shoes without a welt, for lack of a better term. I have some suede slip-ons by Donald Pliner with a thin leather sole, which is sewn on to the shoe. These are throw aways that I expect to wear a season or two. I can't remember seeing any sewing on the John Lobbs. Is the sole a thin veneer, or is the construction just glue. They had beautiful leather and finishing, but still look as if they were just glued together.

    Maybe I am a Trad at heart. While I will admit to trying to update my look without being a fashion victim, I can't see spending over $1,000 dollars for shoes that are not as well constructed as my Aldens.

    Please educate me on what I am missing.
     
  2. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    25,689
    Likes Received:
    3,334
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    Sorry for the pic foul (no accompanying picture), but what follows is my plight.

    Three weeks ago when I was in Atlanta on business, I went to Neiman-Marcus and I saw a few pairs Barker Black slip-ons . I have to say I was generally unimpressed, and I was particularly bummed-out that the whole "nails head skull & cross bones" on the sole was completely faux. To top it off this particular pair of black slip-ons was $650.00, or some other ridiculous price.

    The John Lobb OTR lace-ups for $1100.00 did not impress me either. I have difficulty accepting a shoe whose sole has no stitching. I am not a fan of shoes without a welt, for lack of a better term. I have some suede slip-ons by Donald Pliner with a thin leather sole, which is sewn on to the shoe. These are throw aways that I expect to wear a season or two. I can't remember seeing any sewing on the John Lobbs. Is the sole a thin veneer, or is the construction just glue. They had beautiful leather and finishing, but still look as if they were just glued together.

    Maybe I am a Trad at heart. While I will admit to trying to update my look without being a fashion victim, I can't see spending over $1,000 dollars for shoes that are not as well constructed as my Aldens.

    Please educate me on what I am missing.



    If you do a search on "channeled soles" on this forum, you'll find all you need to know. The Lobbs you saw had better construction and leather than the Aldens, you might not have liked them stylistically, but they are better made. Same as the Barker Blacks. I have fondled a pair of BB at Saks and while they are a little too fashiony for me, the quality is definitely there. Alden makes a very nice, if somewhat stodgy shoe. If you put a pair of Aldens next to a pair of Lobbs and take a close look and compare the stitching, the soles, the leather, you'll see why the price of the Lobb is what it is.
     
  3. johnapril

    johnapril Senior member

    Messages:
    5,663
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    I don't think you know what you are looking at.
     
  4. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

    Messages:
    10,875
    Likes Received:
    36
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Location:
    Back in Black
    The soles on the JLs are "channel stitched." The sole is sewn to the welt in a channel, which is then closed up to hide the stitching. But they are not glued-on soles. The type of welted construction in which the stitching is visible is "stitched aloft." A quick search on those terms will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the subject, I'd wager.

    EDIT: Wow; two other responses went up in the time I was typing...
     
  5. Carey

    Carey Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    The soles on the JLs are "channel stitched." The sole is sewn to the welt in a channel, which is then closed up to hide the stitching. But they are not glued-on soles. The type of welted construction in which the stitching is visible is "stitched aloft." A quick search on those terms will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the subject, I'd wager.

    EDIT: Wow; two other responses went up in the time I was typing...


    I still don't see them as worth the money. As another said, I don't know what I am looking at. I just can't see it. I can see it in a Kiton shirt or suit, but beyond a really smooth calfskin I don't see the value in these size D Lobbs.

    Someone called my Alden's stodgy. Wow, like they are a pot-bellied stove or some other archane thing. So many here love Allen Edmonds and I think their stylings are lacking, like copies of classics that just miss. To each his own, but good luck finding a cobbler anyplace outside of NYC or SFwho can work on those Lobbs.
     
  6. Jovan

    Jovan Banned for Good

    Messages:
    2,533
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Why the attitude lately, Carey?
     
  7. lakewolf

    lakewolf Senior member

    Messages:
    5,166
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    Well, my modest opinion is that they ( Lobb's company ) are cashing on the prestige of the name...

    Let's speak my mind...

    I agree that good quality has a price. good materials and experience on construction methods, much more if those construction methods are complex and difficult enough so others can't match the skills to do the same...

    Also I do believe that labor costs of skilled artisans have a value... and if those skilled artisans live in places in the world where is expensive to live ( like in London ) then the high prices are justified as our contribution to preserve the art of the craft kept by those skilled artisans...

    Also good design (the beauty of the shoe or garment not the technique to build) have to be rewarded so the creative people that design it can continue to do it.

    But,

    I think that there are much disproportionate quality/value in this market.

    Some pay for the label ( Gucci or Lobb ) and not for the quality or the shoe itself...

    For example, I can buy a decent pair of classic english design goodyear welted shoes in calfskin here for €100 ( full price ! )... or a pair of Italian slim shoes calfskin for around the same ( some €120 )... those are standard good quality shoes that would last easily 2 years ( changing the heels and maybe more changing the soles )...

    I could buy middle level shoes ( that are in essence the same ) but from more recognized brands for twice or even three times this €250 get me a good quality/better brand shoe and I bet it would last even more ( i am talking about a shoe you do use not one that is in the closet the 2 years period )...

    If I would pay €1000 for a shoe I have to expect that it is 10 times better quality than the standard one or 4 times better than the middle level one...

    or that given the fact that they use same construction methods ( goodyear or norwegian welt is not rocket science )... they should last 10 times more to justify the price...

    So are they paying the additional €900 Euros because the shoes have written Lobb on them ? It is just the price to pay for the feeling of having expensive shoes on their feet...

    As an additional note, I have been to places where the labor is not so expensive and have got bespoke shoes, bench made for $120... same construction methods by the way

    What do you think ?
     
  8. Carey

    Carey Senior member

    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    I whole heartedly agree, quality is worth its price, which is established by the market. Sometimes a manufacturer trades on its name and can give style without substance, which disappoints the buyer and the observer.
     
  9. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

    Messages:
    8,504
    Likes Received:
    233
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Location:
    Wait, you smell that?
    Well you're looking at longetivity of the shoe as a linear relationship with the price. If that is the only attribute of a shoe that distinguishes it from a similarly constructed shoe (and I use the term "similarly" loosely), then that I suppose that could give one a reason not to purchase a Lobb. But I think all the other things you mentioned in your post (craftmanship, prestige, creativity, standard of living of the artisans) give Lobb the edge. Additionally, Lobbs are indeed expected to last a good 20 years with proper care. So the 10x increase in price would even be worth it under your reasoning.

    More importantly, when we're talking about Lobbs, we are talking about a different category of consumer that is not focused soley on "value." In my opinion, Lobbs are a luxury item. If it presents pause for someone to purchase a pair, maybe the money would be better spent on something else - such as the necessities of life.
     
  10. muelleran

    muelleran Senior member

    Messages:
    242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Location:
    Zurich
    For example, I can buy a decent pair of classic english design goodyear welted shoes in calfskin here for €100 ( full price ! ).

    What? Where? [​IMG]
     
  11. edmorel

    edmorel Quality Seller!! Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    25,689
    Likes Received:
    3,334
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    If you believed this, then you wouldn't question $1000 Lobbs or $3000 bespoke shoes.



    You are looking at it all wrong. Is the $300,000 Maybach 3x better than the $100,000 Benz? After a certan point, you begin paying a lot more for a lot less. RTW Lobb is $1100, bespoke Lobb is $4000, even the Lobb people would not argue that the bespoke is 4x better than the RTW. What you are paying for is prestige, personalization and exclusivity of both the product and the materials used to make the product.

    If you can find me a norwegian shoe for the price of a mid level goodyear, please let me know where.

    Only in China. Take those shoes and compare them to a Lobb, Green or C&J. The shape, the sole, the leather, how the leather performs and look over time, the heel, the interior sole. If you tell me that your $120 shoes are as good, then there is no getting through to you.
     
  12. NoVaguy

    NoVaguy Senior member

    Messages:
    6,529
    Likes Received:
    109
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Guv'mintFlunkyLand
    Yeah, up to a certain point, you experience dramatic improvement in quality for each dollar spent, but past a certain point, you have to pay a lot more more for an incremental improvement in quality - sort of a logarithmic function, if you would. For footwear, it's probably at 300-350 retail mark that the rate of improvement per dollar spent starts to decline.

    the only wildcard here is "fit". If a certain last is absolutely perfect, it'll improve your perception of quality of the item.

    hence, even though EG's retail for 3 to 4 times the AE's, they're not 3 to 4 times the shoe.
     
  13. pkincy

    pkincy Senior member

    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    12
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego Ca
    If you love them and can afford them you buy them.

    If you love them and can't afford them you find them on sale.

    If you don't care you don't buy them. AEs and Aldens are very good shoes. No reason to pay more unless you are driven to.

    Perry
     
  14. lakewolf

    lakewolf Senior member

    Messages:
    5,166
    Likes Received:
    7
    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    What? Where? [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bugatti shoes, silver edition made in germany, Goodyear Welted, classic longwings, confortable, well made, not the pretiest one but will last more than two years I'm sure, you can get them in Ochsner Shoes in Zurich for CHF 159 (€100)... and there are also goodyear welted oxfords ( model Wales ) and bluchers ( model Windsor ) in the same brand....

    Those I go them in sale at 70% off CHF 49.99 so I bought 2 pairs [​IMG]

    Off course this is not a luxury or pretty shoe, but it is indeed a good quality, well made, perfectly usable shoe, I compared it side to side to an Allen Edmonds here and is not so far in quality or confort...
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by