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The ever elusive answer to... Quality Spectrum for English Shoes??

mrbig

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I know this is going to sound hideously cliche... but...

I know this has been discussed quite a few times, but I'd like to know if we could finally attain the elusive answer to the question, Where to Alfred Sargent lie in terms of quality? At the moment, I own a pair of Church's Brisbane from Herring's, a pair of RM Williams Craftsman's in Black Yearling and another pair of Craftsmans in Chestnut Veal. I'm looking to expand my shoe library to include more elegant styles. Whilst browsing the forums, many have said that AS Premier Line (e.g. AS Aldeburgh) comes to par with C&J Benchgrades, but nowhere near the quality of Handgrades. It'd be wonderful if a few members could help me out, and to sort out the picture I've got in my head, which is the following:

In Descending order of Quality (RTW only)

JL Paris/EG/Vass
Crockett & Jones Handgrade/RM Williams/Church's Custom Grade
Crockett & Jones Benchgrade/Alfred Sargent/Tricker's

I know I'll probably take a hit on the Church's, but that is my opinion after handling C&J Benchgrade (Hallam on the 348 in Black Calf) in London last year.

Thanks for Your Help, I truely enjoy seeing you're wonderful collections, 'Phat Guido' I'm diggin' those Beaulieu's!


MrBig
 

mimile

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This is a very hard question. First: I think RM Williams is australian brnad, not english. Second: in the final choice of shoes, many factors are to be taken into account: the last, the fit and the price you are ready to put on them. I find that I get much shoes for the money I pay when I buy Tricker's or AS.
 

grimslade

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I think RMWs are, at best, on the level of C&J benchgrades.
 

Tarmac

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Vass is not english, neither is RM williams

If I had a choice, price not considered:
Gaziano & Girling
Edward Green
John Lobb rtw
Grenson Masterpiece
Crockett & Jones
Tricker's
Barker Black
Alfred Sargent
Grenson
Cheaney
Barker
Loake

The last 3 are conditional, they have several different lines, the top lines are great and not expensive, the lower lines I would not even wear for free.

Church's belongs in a separate category: great history, classic designs, terrible leather on half their offerings and about 2x overpriced right now.

In the real world, the majority of my English shoe purchases are re-badged Crocketts due to their discount prevalence, and Tricker's and Alfred Sargent due to their relative value.
 

82-Greg

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All of these lists assume each fits equally well.

The reality is that case rarely holds. Shoes must fit well. Shop based on perceived brand quality and the desired function of the shoe, but only buy on fit and functional match.
 

Vintage Gent

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For what it's worth, I've found the Grenson Masterpiece shoes that I own to be on a slightly higher level than my C&J Hangrades. The leather seems of a slightly better quality and the shape is a bit more elegant. Not to denigrate C&J, but I think the Masterpieces are a hell of a shoe.
 

lawyerdad

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Originally Posted by mimile
. First: I think RM Williams is australian brnad, not english. .

Originally Posted by Tarmac
Vass is not english, neither is RM williams


If you talk funny, you're English.
 

mrbig

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Yeah, sorry about that confusion, RMW is definately Aussie, and Vass is Hungarian. Sorry, I haven't been posting on forums for that long a time, just lurking quite a bit lol. Thanks mattyb124 for the link, helped out a bit. Unfortunately it doesn't really describe where AS fits into the scheme of things, I'm considering getting AS from pediwear, C&J or Church's from the factory (only calf/suede, no bookbinder), which brings the pricing all fairly equal (I assume). Thanks for the feedback about RMW, I'm still over the moon that they're such good value for money. If anyone could direct me to some pics of C&J/Church's vs Alfred Sargent in terms of last shapes and quality, that'd be fab.

Tarmac, I assume you meant to say C&J Handgrades which are just below JL RTW?

From the developments:

G&G
JL RTW/EG
Grenson Masterpiece
Crockett & Jones Handgrade
Tricker's
Crockett & Jones Benchgrade/Church's Custom Grade
Barker Black
Alfred Sargent
Grenson Regular
Cheaney


Any ideas where I can buy Grenson Masterpieces? I'd like to (as many of us would) get everything at the lowest possible price. C&J I know is best to stick with P.Lal, and re-badged. Anybody been to the C&J/Church's factory shop recently? What kind of price levels would I be looking at, and what kinds of defects would there be? I know JL factory store models have defects which only a massive microscope could find, as many of you have reported.

Thanks again,

MrBig
 

binge

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Originally Posted by mrbig
Any ideas where I can buy Grenson Masterpieces?

Word on the street is that Grenson doesn't make their own shoes to the masterpiece standard any more, only the Paul Stuart Stuart's Choice line.
 

Christofuh

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My local Saks started to carry Church's (forget which grade) that next to C&J benchgrades seem like Alden bulldozers but with an English twist.
JLP line offers sleeker, more refined shoes than EG RTW.
JL black calf sends EG's packing. Matter of fact, for EG to command $1000-plus for such dull, stiff black leather is complete bullshi'ite.
Barker Black makes very good shoes hurt by their costumish, Captain Crunch look.
AS makes a decent shoe, albeit a notch or two below C&J in refinement.
Sanders = POS
These are the brands I have/had experience with.
 

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