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Sole Welting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know Meermins...I'm not really a brand whore or a name dropper. I don't wear any footwear (except Christmas moccasins) unless I made them.

    I do know that probably the premier English shoemaker--Lobbs, St. James Street--and arguably one of the best in the world, is entirely HW. I saw a video some small time ago in which the current president of the firm said "we have turned our backs on the machine."

    While not entirely true...they do use sewing machines...it seems like an admirable philosophy to me. Somehow they've survived...and kept both their integrity and, more importantly, their souls. :worship2:
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014


  2. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:I wouldn't have thought one would have to be either a brand whore or a name dropper to know Meermin.
     


  3. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    You got the first part right. But not sure where you get the second part from...

    Vass shoes are mediocre for its pricing spec, but this is regarding manufacturing not crafts.
     


  4. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Okay - not sure I follow that - so where do you place Vass in the shoe hierarchy as compared with EG and G&G (rtw) independent of price? I believe you have experience with all three, but again, correct me if I am wrong.
     


  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Independent of price, Vass shoes have similar spec to both EG and G&G; hand welted/handmade in exchange of imitation fiddleback and patina.
     


  6. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Okay then - something upon which we agree. Had to happen eventually. ;-)
     


  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    But it doesn't mean the spec is great, i.e., only square waist for welted shoes, lack of braiding options for Norwegian sewn, low SPI welt stitching, standard heels only, no lasted trees for all widths, "lasted" trees only fit forefoot but not heel, etc.
     


  8. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Now now, don't be in such a rush to disagree. We see the three as more or less equivalent, even if we see them - as a group - differently situated in the overall RTW hierarchy or use different adjectives to describe the overall quality.
     


  9. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Yes.

    Ultimately it depends on the value assigned to each incremental spec judged by the end customer. If someone absolutely wants an patined shoe, EG/G&G are better than Vass. But so will Berluti, Septier, and Corthay.

    In terms of manufacturing pricing, patina is worth a lot less than hand sewn. Much less.

    Thus the discrepancy or arbitrage opportunity between manufacturing pricing and retail pricing.
     


  10. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Absolutely correct.
     


  11. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I don't think that the welting method is necessarily considered the absolute and final definition of quality that determines what shoe should be bought by anyone here. Even DW can be quoted in this thread here: http://www.styleforum.net/t/297037/sole-welting/0_100#post_6743947 as saying otherwise.

    Quality is a spectrum, and there is a certain amount of weight credited to each aspect (how much weight has to be decided by the buyer). Hand-welting does carry a lot of weight in the accumulation of quality points, but that doesn't mean that a shoe can't be so ugly or poorly crafted in all other respects that it drops below the value of a competitor that is made to impeccable standards but using GY-welting.

    These are hand-welted: , and only cost about $100. Am I tempted to buy them? Not at all.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014


  12. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yup.....I also know a firm (you know the name) that will make a croc. shoe at the lofty price of $14,800.00.
    Same market?....I think not.
     


  13. CalzolaiFeF

    CalzolaiFeF Well-Known Member

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    The real problem in high quality shoes, for me, resides in the fact that a high quality leather and a medium quality leather don't look so much different, given the same grade of spit and polish.

    If you look at a bespoke suit, or at high level knitwear, you can quickly spot the difference: at the bare minimum the weight of the cloth will shine in you eyes as a synonim of quality.

    A bespoke shoe is harder to recognize: if you order a standard model (think a black toecap oxford) nine men out of ten won't see any difference at all between a 2500 € bespoke order and a medium quality industrial shoe.

    For that reason, at least in my eyes, the last surviving shoemakers started to offer all the fancy details that today are associated with bespoke shoes: but a spade sole, fiddleback waist, pitched heel, first grade calf handwelted shoe and a square waisted, unrefined handwelted shoe have the same intrinsic quality*, because the good lies in the construction method, not the gildings and all that brouhaha.




    *given the same base materials, of course
     


  14. jaywhyy

    jaywhyy Senior member

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    The average man cannot tell the difference between hand-stitching and machine-stitching. They can't tell the difference between a Super120 grey worsted SuitSupply vs. an Attolini.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Sorry but that's not precisely correct. At least not in this context. Quality is not an absolute (see my sig). Good quality is not the same as better quality nor yet best quality.

    The inseam is one very major aspect of quality...maybe even the prime mover. See, as I said, I'm not a brand whore or a name dropper, nor do I discriminate based on nationality or race. If Meermin is handwelted, I think I would give them the nod over any GYW shoe. I don't care if they are made in China or Northampton.

    I know enough about leathers to know that except for the extremes most leather (all other things being equal--calf and calf, for instance) is pretty much of similar if not identical quality. Sure, there are differences but not enough to warrant extraordinary premiums in cost.

    Technique is what distinguishes the "men from the boys," the good from the better...and ultimately the better from the best.

    I could go on for pages about the various techniques and how they affect or don't affect quality. I will always prefer a tight outsole stitch to a long stitch, for instance. It represents and speaks directly to the care of the maker. It is finesse. But for the most part...like the finish and / or spit-shine on a shoe...that's fundamentally aesthetics--glitter. Something to obsess about on SF, perhaps. But it doesn't significantly affect quality.

    And you know what they say about glitter.

    On the other hand, the inseam is the backbone of the shoe. Everything depends on it.

    Yes, the leather is important. The design of the patterns are important. The stitching is important. [And perhaps neither here nor there, most important...esp. in terms of quality...is the intent of the maker. That will be, or should be, true in any human endeavor. Now, if we want to talk about robotics....]

    But they're all just pieces...just components that have no meaning until the inseam is sewn. At least for a HW shoe.

    On a GY shoe all those components remain components...forever. There is nothing to draw them together into a coherent whole--a gestalt--except perhaps the outsole. And since that gets replaced every 3-5 years, let's say, you can't really consider it part of the whole.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014


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