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The Quintessential Dress Shoe: Black Cap Toe Oxford

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by wurger, Sep 15, 2013.

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  1. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    that is the difference between American and European last design, but AE fits me quite well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2013
  2. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

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    That's cool, but not to my tastes.
     
  3. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    totally agree, much more elegant with European lasts.
     
  4. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Loake

    In 1880, three brothers – Thomas, John and William – opened a factory in Northamptonshire in the heart of the English shoemaking industry. Today, five generations later, Loake is still family owned and operating in the same town in Northamptonshire.

    Loake produced footwear for the British armed forces in both World Wars. Like many other UK shoemakers, its major focus has been customers worldwide and its shoes are now been exported to over 30 countries. Loake was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment to the Queen in 2007.

    Loake produces a wide range of lines at different quality and price. The top 1880 line are full grain, burnished calf shoes at around 200 pounds, its quality well worth the upcharge of 50 pounds to the next line. The Shoemakers line has a mix of full grain and binder finish shoes at around 150 pounds. The two lines above are made in UK. The L1 Essentials line is made in India, all binder finish leather at around 110 pounds. There are a few other lines that Loake produces, you can tell its quality and finish by their price points.

    Due to its high value for money and quality in the 1880 line, Loake is usually the first pair of Goodyear welt, bench grade full grain calfskin shoes a man gets in UK and many of its export countries like Australia. Like Allen Edmonds in USA, it could be the only brand one gets due to its abundance of styles, quality and price; unless one wonders onto Style Forum!

    My Loake 1880 Aldwych Black in Capital last, size UK 6.5F
    Purchased from Pediwear, RRP £165.79 ext. VAT
    Topied at Coombs in the Strand Arcade Sydney

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    Back to Group Photos
     
  5. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I was noticing your modifications on the heels of this pair. The heel looks like it is a bit taller than they would have originally been from the factory, and the toplift looks like it is Vibram (matching your topy?). Did they glue the new Vibram toplift over the original toplift? Also, I noticed that the heel notch that is cut out of the inside of the heels has been filled in (with rubber?). Is that a consequence of adding the extra toplift, or did you specifically request that to give the added height perception? They look good.

    Also, in observing all of the photos in this thread so far, one thing has struck me about the Park Avenue. The Park Avenue (as I was expecting) received the most comments about being inelegant. However, there is one unique aspect of it that actually slims it down when compared to the others, in my eyes. The eyelets don't fan out as they go from the top to the bottom like some of the other manufacturer's do. The fanning out can be well done and add to the overall flowing lines of the shoe sometimes, but in my opinion it isn't always done well. In fact, in some models, it is the lacing that would keep me from ever purchasing the model, because it looks blobby. Also, the Park Avenue has the eyelets closer to the gap than any of the other models. Overall, this seems to give a slimmer impression when comparing the head-on photos of the lacing area of the shoes. Obviously, some of this is immediately offset by the triple stitched vamp and the 360 welt, but that's a separate issue.

    Just some observations.
     
  6. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Yes, Money, I originally requested the heel to be made as tall as my Alfred Sargents, which my cobbler added two lifts for me, and he extended the notch on the heels. Since the left and right heel pieces of AE shoe is actually different and placed at different angles, when he sanded the lifts so the cut is the same as the original notch, he can't make the size of the notch the same, so one notch is bigger than the other, so we decided to sand it all the way to the sole to make them look even.

    After wearing the lifted shoes for a few weeks, I found that the extra 2 lifts threw off the balance of the shoes lead to uncomfort, which my cobbler did tell me, and made a lot of noise when I talk, and I didn't like the look of the big notches. So he took out the 2 lifts he added to the original heel, and added one TOPY heel piece, filled in the notch with a TOPY rubber filler, and the final product is what we see now. I was amazed how a few mms can make quite a difference.

    Never realised the eyelets until your post, good point.

    The fanning out shows the shoe vamp is meant to be closed by to V shape, unlike uncompleted closed in some other designs, most of my English shoes have fanning.
     
  7. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Entry Tier Group Photos

    Loake Aldwych and Allen Edmonds Park Avenue

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  8. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Re. ^, Loake > Allen Edmonds (although given all the chatter on the fora, I would still like to see the latter in the flesh).
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  9. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    Wurger, curious as to why you have bought so many different brands? I try to find something that works and stick with it (perhaps varying quality between 'normal' and 'beater' classes). Did you have in mind this sort of comparative exercise? We have definitely benefited enormously from it, as it is rare to have such side-by-side comparisons (with such well-researched and well-observed details as you have provided).
     
  10. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Balfour, I am always interested to try out different brands, and find out what's all the fuss is about; and when I do purchase my first pair from a particular shoemaker, I always buy a pair that I can wear the most, which is a pair of black cap toe oxford that I wear for work.

    I didn't think of writing this comparison until I got my pair of G&G oxford from Nick, it's indeed very nice, perhaps the best pair I have, but I see a lot of questions about value and quality on the net, and a few PM from fellow members asking me about shoes and brands, which I have also asked similar questions to other SF members myself, and pondered at length with myself.

    The photo taking then the write up took about 4 weeks mainly during the weekends, as I was not in a rush; before finally posting on this thread.
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    With the entry tier comparisons post, this completes my write up on my black cap toe oxfords.

    thank you for all the support, guys!

    and please post more photos of your own black cap toe oxfords here too! :cheers:
     
    2 people like this.
  12. acinod

    acinod Senior member

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    Wow so much love for the Loake>AE. But isn't the AE of better quality?
     
  13. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    from my experience, Loake 1880 is better or equal in quality.
     
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  14. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    I think a common mistake with Loake (not attributing this view to you, but more generally) is to judge the brand as a whole. Loake has a wide range of offerings - lots of corrected grain in the lower ranges, the lowest range manufactured outside the UK, etc. I think this colours people's view of Loake as a whole.

    But, as wurger has pointed out, the 1880 range offers excellent price:quality in calf. Very different to Loake Shoemaker or Loake Essentials. Until I discovered Herring by Alfred Sargent, Loake 1880 offered for me the best price:quality for an everyday entry level (by SF standards) shoe.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  16. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    haha, so true, we are very small minority out in the real world
     
  17. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    QFT
     
  18. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    Good observation, MWS. The overall silhouette of the Park Avenue is actually fairly sleek for AE. The blobbiness problem comes from the combination of six eyelets, the placement of the toe cap line and the protuding welt. Even though I've bought black captoes that I like better, I still keep my Park Avenues because they are a solid workhorse shoe that is well constructed.
     
  19. mebiuspower

    mebiuspower Senior member

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    Great comparison thread but I noticed these shoes are rather small at size 7 which makes a lot of them look rather short and stubby... my Park Ave in 10.5E looks much better balanced especially when there are the 6 eyelets which balance out the overall shape of the shoe.

    Perhaps shoemakers should put in less eyelets for smaller shoes?

    In other words, avoid the Park Ave if you have small feet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
  20. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Shoes sizes go up somewhat proportionally, while AE PA would balance out a bit better in a larger size, it is from its overall design features such as 360 welt, 6 eyelets, 3 row stitching, circular round toe which in turn lead to a short cap; that lead to the comments its getting.
     

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