No man should be without a pair of black dress shoes in his wardrobe; if there is room only for one pair, it would be the quintessential black cap toe oxford. It is one of the most versatile shoes a man can own, suitable for nearly all formal occasions from office to weddings. While dark brown offers deep patina and changing highlights, black brings out the best in mirror shine at the same time being a subtle conservative foundation to a good outfit. A cap toe oxford is a closed lacing shoe with a straight stitch cap, with the quarters sewn under the vamp and fastens together by laces over the tongue, which is sewn onto the vamp. Please follow this thread for various shoemakers' black cap toes; there is a photo comparison of only the initial eight RTW pairs in three sections, high to low in term of RRP, please click on the shoemaker's name to go to each post. Beyond the initial eight pairs, there are more to follow in makers like Carmina, Meermin, Vass, Saint Crispin's and Bestetti. Top Tier Gaziano & Girling John Lobb Edward Green Middle Tier Crockett & Jones Alfred Sargent Tricker’s Entry tier Allen Edmonds Loake Now to the question of why have eight pairs of the same style in the same colour? It’s quite simple, I am a shoe nut and my favourite style is the simple cap toe oxford, I really enjoy the subtle finer differences such as the swan neck seam, and the size of the quarters to completely different lasts. Another question that seems to be asked all the time: “Is it worth the price difference if I buy the same style from brand A compare to brand B?” • There has never been and never will be a linear relation between value and quality when comes to luxury goods, it’s a law of diminishing returns, and luckily, shoemakers are a lot better than fashion houses. • Brand, the quality of leather, the cost of labour and finishing all attribute to the higher cost of the shoe, leaving shoes look nicer over a longer period of time when cared for. We buy them because either we or other people have good experience with that brand, believe in the quality of craftsmanship and styles and thus decide to patronize certain brands. • Each brand has their own different lasts, even though the shape of the last shouldn’t affect the price of the shoe, one would find the lasts used by the middle to top tier shoemakers are more elegant and aggressive, compare to the tubular lasts of the entry tier brands. The more aggressive lasts leave less room for error when comes to fit, which could a lesser issue as when one spends a substantial amount on a pair of shoes, there is a higher chance that they spend the time and effort to get the right fit. • The quintessential black cap toe oxford isn't the best style to tell the difference in quality. While the entry tier shoes have visible imperfections on the welt leather strap finishing, it is not visible from middle tier shoes, and the stitching overall across all pairs are very neat and straight along the edges. Very unlikely for anyone to tell the difference between the black cap toe oxfordsonce they are on your feet. But it’s this subtlety I enjoy. • Even with entry tier shoes, their leather seems to be decent quality, provided that you care for them over time.I haven't had them long enough to tell over a couple of years. • Put it in simple terms, if Loake 1880 is at 80% in terms of RTW dress shoe quality, it costs around 200 pounds; Crockett & Jones Handgrade is at 90% in term of quality, and Gaziano & Girling Benchmade is close to 100%. So the correct question is to ask yourself is whether you care about the last 10 - 20% at double or triple the price. • My online purchasing experience has been great with online vendors I have dealt with, kudos to their great service!