Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by cl5, May 7, 2005.
We like our shoes... I'll try to post some suggestions later.
Only here would someone asking questions about Prada and Gucci shoes be considered a possible troll... Â
Your decision to look at Ferragamo is definitely a step in the right direction. It's also good that you've asked around first...people not (yet) familiar with materials and construction may not know that most of the "fashion" lines are made with mediocre leather and questionable construction at best. They are too often made to look good for a few seasons before the buyer replaces them. They usually don't hold up well, and (as Marc said above) the corrected-grain leathers -- ones that have a plasticky shine to them -- look worse and worse over time. I once bought a pair of brown dress shoes with corrected grain leather (didn't know the difference), and the creases cracked and look increasingly like garbage the more they were worn. They are now in a landfill somewhere.
Just take your time, read, ask questions (which is a good thing.), and learn about this. You're spending your hard-earned cash on this, and the way you present yourself -- to your clients, to your boss, etc. -- makes an impression. Get the best you can afford, but also get something you like.
I agree with almost all of this advice. Harris or Ferragamo tend to be better made than Prada and reasonably "fashion-forward", without being over the top. The Ferragamo Tramezza line is well made and you might find something new in your size on ebay by searching "tramezza". One pair of black and one pair of brown is also a good idea.
Note: I would wear monkstraps with a suit, but probably not if I were a banker.
...wish you to live for a few years in Prague...IÂ´m afraid, you would be pretty happy to be able to buy shoes of the same quality like these ones..I donÂ´t know nothing about Prada, but the best shoes you can buy here are Lloyds and Carlo Colluci..itÂ´s sad, but reality... I personaly think, that No. 2 and 4 are not so bad. BTW...the Lloyds you can see http://www.lloyd-shoes.com .... can you tell me what do you think about it? Thanks...
Why would you move from Prada to Ferragamo? Both are overpriced with iffy quality (unless you get the Ferragamo Tramezza, which I still personally think are inferior to the English shoe offerings at Brooks Brothers). And the lower range Ferragamo have pretty inelegant last designs.
If you want to go retail, go to Brooks Brothers during a 25% sale and get some of the Peal & Co. shoes. They have some real keepers that aren't staid in the least -- for example, the split toe Peal lace ups are young and elegant and would go fine with a suit.
JN3 offers the best advice so far. Â It's important that you try-on, and get fitted, from a B&M store before you venture into the world of online vendors and EBay. Â If you find the selections at Brooks Brothers a little boring, and I can see why they might not be your "style," you should also check out Santoni if you live near a Nordstrom's. Â The $500 line offering goodyear construction might go on sale for about the same price as the Pradas in your original link and are a FAR better value. I'm not a huge fan of Ferragamo (own 2 pairs). Â At a similar price bracket and slightly cheaper, the newer Bally's are much nicer. Â Softer leather, mediocre lasts, contemporary design, etc. EDIT: Ironically, my second pair of "nice" shoes was a pair of square toe Bally's very similar to the black bluchers above the Gucci loafers (Fall 2000). Â My first pair was a very chiselled wholecut black blucher from Moreschi. Â I still wear both pairs today. EDIT II: I'm pathetic. Â For the poster complaining about the lack of quality shoes around Prague... I immediately thought about a weekend trip to Budapest for a Vass fitting or an overnight in Vienna, and picking up a pair of Ludwig Reiters during the spring/summer sales. Â You might also check out Edward (Edourd?) Meier in the German speaking countries... or even Dinklelacker (sp??), if you don't mind clunky.
hm.. alright. now i'm getting mixed opinions regarding ferragamo shoes.. i'll surely consider other brands as well, but i'd like to purchase two pairs of shoes within the next few days. what are some other solid choices besides alden, ae, grenson.. in the $500 price range? and where can i find these shoes locally in the los angeles area?
If you're an L.A. boy and fancy some good bargains in Allen-Edmonds, consider heading out the outlet stores in Cabazon. There's also a Ferragamo outlet there, as well as those of many other designers and the usual suspects--Brooks, Polo, etc. The A-E outlet store is an unfailing source of bargains, especially closeouts and specials.
I'm going to have to recommend an English made shoe here. This is just my two cents -- Italian made shoes are largely overpriced, and the ones in your price range just aren't the best value. Italians make great shoes in the $1000+ price range, but in the sub-$500 you are better off with an English shoe. Just my two cents though. I'm speaking from relatively little experience. I don't know LA, so I don't know good sources for English shoes there.
I'd also recommend just getting one shoe for now (I assume you have a couple of wearable pair in your closet at the moment that you could still rotate in). That way, you could wait for a sale to get the second pair, and you could make sure that you actually like the shoe. You're a novice here (nothing wrong with that, mind you -- we've all been there) and it would be a shame to drop $1K on two pairs of shoes that you end up hating.
Some Italians make good shoes (not just Lattanzi and Kiton). One issue is that some such as Gravati also make a lot of ugly shoes. English shoe makers generally have fewer models, and you are less likely to get something really bad.
Left or right?
I agree with this. I am a novice too and notice that my tastes change very fast.
AE is safe and cheap if you get them from an outlet. They are not very fashion forward but owning a pair of conservative shoes cannot hurt (funerals, meeting with in-laws, etc.). Go wild when you are sure you'll still like the shoes years from now. Otherwise, as jn3 said, you'll just be wasting your money.
What are you baseing that opinion on?
To generically describe an entire countries' production as 'over-priced' without any facts to prove your point is not very fair. I have worked very hard to develop a nice range of traditional dress shoes from Martegani (made in Italy) at $325 retail...please tell me which English shoe is better for this price. Actually, please tell me which English manufacturer is better at less than $500. Why?
Rider, you are right that some of the not-as-well-known Italian manufacturers make an excellent shoe, which is why I qualified my opinion by saying that it was based on relatively little experience (say, four brands of English shoes vs. 4 brands of Italian shoes). Â I have never tried or seen a Martenagi, and they certainly look beautiful. Â I am not saying that Italians make ugly shoes or poor quality shoes. Â Far from it. Â But I think that dollar for dollar, comparing price points, English shoes USUALLY have more durable uppers and are made with a stronger welt (I rarely see an Italian shoe at under $500 that isn't blake stitched, and I just think that the "goodyear" welt is a more durable way of making a shoe). Â I don't particularly like the Gravatis that I've seen in person, though I'm certain that your special order program allows you to get some really great Gravati shoes. I also said that Italian shoes are GENERALLY overpriced, and I stand by this. What's my evidence? (1) That part of the pricing problem is caused by the strong Euro, (2) anything Italian has a significant cache in America and therefore can charge a premium based on this, and (3) most of the well-known fashion houses are based out of Italy, and these are the makers that can charge another label premium. I think Ferragamo and Santoni are overpriced, to name two (I'm not saying they're crap. I'm saying that they should cost about 20% less than they do. Tramezzas cost as much at retail than C&J Handgrades.). Prada is obviously overpriced. I've never heard anyone say that Mantellassi is a great deal at retail. The Italian shoes that aren't overpriced -- and you named one -- are generally difficult to find. I have never seen a Martenagi shoe except for your website and had never heard of it before either. We should have recommended that our new member check out the Franco's website. Â They do have some great shoes -- indeed, some that I'd get myself if I needed shoes. Â I'll back up and say that I was using broad generalizations because our new member said he was going to drop $1K on two pairs of shoes in the next two or three days. Giving him some rules of thumb I felt was a bit necessary. Franco's Website
I too have heard that Italian shoes were generally overpriced and that Italian stuff overall was beautiful but would fall apart easily. so who are the Italian shoe makers whose leather and construction qualities are commensurate with the price they charge.
Perhaps Italian shoes are constructed for milder climates, therefore the construction methods reflect that.
Separate names with a comma.