Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.
To cut to the chase: is the suggestion, now, that Goodyear welting is not a particularly good thing?
I think the synthetic toe and heel stiffeners are unlikely to cause significant problems as long as your shoes have a good rotation, are allowed to dry well after wearing, and are kept with shoe trees. The synthetic materials don't breathe, so moisture collects in the lining and can't pass through the stiffener and upper to exit the shoe. They increase the harmful environment that is destructive to leather in the long run (i.e. salty sweat). This may or may not ever cause the shoe to be "worn out" sooner than one with a natural leather stiffener, because of the multitude of reasons that shoes wear out. However, it is theoretically a "weak link", just like canvas gemming is. Shoes with as few weak links as possible should theoretically be the longest lasting ones, but you simply can't worry yourself over all of the possibilities.
A pair of Frommer's from DWFII essentially has zero weak links, which is something that can't be said of many shoes out there.
I think it's a great thing personally. As I said, I hold it in about equal regard with Blake/Rapid, because the pros and cons cancel each other out in most manufacturers. Goodyear-welting (and Blake/Rapid) has allowed most people to buy shoes that can last a couple of decades with good care (and have several pairs). Without it, you are stuck buying shoes that use inferior stitching techniques, or are purely cemented, OR spending thousands per pair on a bespoke hand-welted shoe.
There are some hand-welted ready-to-wear makers (Meermin Linea Maestro, for example) to consider which are a decent compromise I suppose, but they are partly made in China to keep costs down if that sort of thing bothers you.
Thanks for that, Money.
To that end, pigmented leathers are made! Roughly speaking, there are 3 kinds of leathers; aniline leathers, burnished leathers(unfinished leathers which are finished by shoe factories), and pigmented leathres. Allen Edmonds says 6-7 pairs per a piece of calfskin(, around 09:10), and I think Allen Edmonds uses pigmented leathers.
Firstly, I can't say enough how helpful this thread is. Caused me to sign up just based on it alone.
I'm a young guy (23) fresh out of college and starting a professional career where I have to dress pretty nice every day. Just purchased two sets of J&M dress shoes (tan + black) to go with another pair I already own. I never realized there was so much to shoe care and want to take care of them myself so they will last a long time. Can someone just confirm I have a basic set of steps + materials needed?
-2 horsehair shine brushes (1 for black, 1 for browns)
-Kiwi shoe polish (black, brown, tan)
-Meltonian shoe cream (black, brown, tan)
-AE Conditioner/Cleaner OR Lexol leather conditioner
-Clean w damp cloth (light soap) if needed to remove dirt, debris
-Apply conditioner, let sit for a while, come back and buff it out
-Add shoe cream or polish (plan to rotate every few times to mix between conditioning leather and keeping a nice shine), move to next shoe, buff out with brush, shine with cloth
-Put shoe trees back in and rotate shoes every 2-3 days for wear
I know there are a bunch of different ways to do it, but in general does this sound ok?
Sounds good enough. Just experiment until you found your groove. And enjoy wearing your shoes.
Thanks. This is great.
Quote: This is a bad thing? What is the better way?
On DWFII: He is my hero. It is remarkable someone with that level of knowledge and experience takes the time to explain things to the rest of us. I find that often he is so close to the subject that it can be difficult to follow him as he assumes everyone knows a lot about shoemaking. I can do nothing but admire his devotion to making each pair of shoes or boots the best he has ever made. Inspiring. But I could never pay what it would cost to have someone like him make a pair for me.
As I said, my questions are more curiosity than anything else. I doubt anyone really buys the top shoe lines because they last longer. They like the look, the appreciate the craft and the quality, perhaps they feel some kinship with other shoe people. But having paid that much, they expect very high quality of materials and construction.
Materials vs construction: I was not implying that Alden and AE do not use good leather. My question was whether a shoe that costs 10 times as much was made with leather that costs, say $2,000 for a pair. It seems not. From the prices above, the top makers might pay $300 for leather, and get one pair of shoes. AE or Alden might pay the same price and get, say, 5 pair. So one pair has $300 of leather in it and the other $60. That is a meaningful difference- $60 is about what I pay for shoes- but it does not approach the price difference between AE and Lobb. Perhaps AE gets somewhat better prices because they buy large quantities. But even if they got the leather free, that material would not come close to the cost difference in the shoes.
I can appreciate the appreciation of fine shoes without sharing any desire to have a pair for myself. I can see the beauty of a JLC Reverso Duo in rose gold. A wonderful watch. But I am never going to buy one. Not even going to look.
if both the outer and lining leather is thick enough, hidden steel eyelet reinforcement shouldnt be needed.
and as to heel counters, plastics/heat formed pvc are easier to work with than leather.
whatever democratizes skills and improve yields will be utilized in mass manufacturing.
There is a very extensive discussion of this subject on one of the threads I know DWF is involved anongst others . Perhaps someone with a better recall than myself could link it
Yes, that is about right, just make sure you wear a different pair every day, I think that's what you meant by "rotate shoes every 2-3 days for wear"
Yes, as long as those cost cuttings don't affect the look and feel of the shoes, and I rotate my shoes every day, I am happy with those.
A nontrivial component that has been overlooked, or simply not mentioned, are the ecological benefits of quality shoes and taking care of them; less waste, less production byproducts, et al. From a business perspective, "Green" carries increasing cache to manufacturers and retailers as a corporate social responsibility marketing ploy that they are willing to invest in. Manufacturing in America is certainly more established in their green-practices than countries with cheap production. Couple that with all the benefits of centralized resources (quicker to-market, more harmonious collaboration across work-channels, combatting increasing wages offshore, ever-increasing transportation/oil prices and duties/taxes), a domestic labor-force willing to ignore basically +20-years of stagnate wages for steady employment, and rising consciousness of "made in usa", and there is a lot to be said for keeping production in America. 60 minutes and the Atlantic have ran stories about it, too, among others.
Well, it is tough. On the one hand, I agree with the desire to support American workers, use more environmentally friendly practices, and avoid shipping materials and finished products all over the world while dumping CO2 into the air.
On the other hand, those people in those poorly paying dangerous factories in India and Bangladesh are taking the best jobs they can find. I would love to see their working conditions improve, and made safe. But to take away the factory is to condemn them to even worse poverty. No easy answers there.
I admit there is a romance to buying lovingly handmade products from first world companies. Skilled craftspeople with years of training able to make the best possible quality and earn enough to cover a decent living in an expensive country with a generous social safety net. Shoes from Northampton. Watches from Switzerland. Recognize that there are skilled craftspeople in China and India, that they are smart, dedicated, and hardworking. That given the proper time and materials they can make a shoe, a watch, or a car as well as in Europe. Perhaps better.
To some extent one buys from Old World Europe to recall the time when it really was the best. In some cases, that may be the only place looking to make things at the top quality. I suspect one goes to Saville Row in part to get suits made the say they were made 100 years ago, with little in the way of compromise, and few goals other than quality. Like the way DWFII makes shoes. You are supporting a link to something valuable from the past, even if the demands of the modern world no longer make this something many people could afford, or a job many people could pursue.
In other cases, well I don't know who would claim that England makes the best cars in the world. Maybe the prettiest, maybe the most lovingly constructed, maybe with the grandest traditions. On simple quality who would compare a Jaguar to a Lexus?
Way off topic. Now for another newbie question. I can understand that a flawless piece of leather may be difficult to come by, given the lives the animals lead. On the other hand, is it the very rarity that makes it desirable? I like the look of the marks in leather. It makes it look like the natural product it is. It seems hard to find shoes, even at my much lower price point, that preserve this look, but work boots do not appear to require making the leather look "perfect"
I have lots of shoes sitting in the closet, so I figured I'd give ebay a try. Some looked pretty shabby (where they may have sat for 2+ yrs) so I decided to clean, condition and polish. I think it made a difference at ebay. I've only sold a few items at ebay but for this round of shoes, I got so many more views, watchers and questions than before. Clearly, a decent shine coupled with good images makes a difference!
These are "Made in Italy" J&M's from 05 or 06. They had a fair amount of polish on the vamp that would have cracked so I removed it with Renomat, applied some brown AE cream (AE's "premium cream polish") to the whole shoe and then a bit of brown kiwi on the toe. I probably spent 15 minutes per pair.
Same method for these two AE models.
After seeing these pictures, I should have fixed the edge trim.
Separate names with a comma.