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The Ultimate Vass (Footwear) Thread (Pictures, reviews, sizing, etc...)

Smooth Operator

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They had a sale late April. I got a half-size down for the R but kind of regret it. It would have been fine at my usual U and K size. Will shoot some more pics. What exactly are you looking for?
From your photos I can't tell which one is the U Last which is a good thing as I thought only U and F has that 'Sleek last. Would be great to compare the toe shape of your Vass. I'm hoping I won't like them to save some $$$ 🤣 that aside, which last has the narrowest heel and lowest instep? My U Last fits perfect but the midfoot width is a bit loose that is probably why I have this creasing.

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bernoulli

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As it happens, I own two Alt English models in the same size, 45, in the U and K lasts. It is really hard to shoot accurate pictures for lasts' comparisons, as phone cameras distort perspective. So, this is what I did: got my shoes in K, U and R (44.5), and alternated in putting one in the middle of the others, which gives some idea of the differences between the lasts.

The Alt English in the K last is longer, slimmer, and has a more shaped waist than the version in the U last. Still, I feel we overestimate these differences: on my feet, I would dare you to tell me if I was wearing a shoe in the K or U last. The shoe in the R last is easy to spot among the others but I was pleasantly surprised by its design. It is wider and shorter, but certainly not as bulbous or clunky as I feared. Even if the K last is "sleeker", it makes no difference in terms of fit, compared to a shoe in the U last.

I also took another picture alternating the right and left shoes in these different lasts. One can easily see the distortion in perspective. Still, I hope that helps.
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LThomsen

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Found out that Vass does fiberboard heel stacks and only uses 3 nails to attach the heels. Very disappointing to see a brand like that cut corners and still say they offer the best value for the price
I recall learning about Vass using fiber board heel stacks from a you tube video that Steve from Bedo's leather works posted on you tube. I was disappointed.
However, even at full price, I dont know of another maker that offers the same quality uppers, construction, and JR soles.
 

sforum1

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As it happens, I own two Alt English models in the same size, 45, in the U and K lasts. It is really hard to shoot accurate pictures for lasts' comparisons, as phone cameras distort perspective. So, this is what I did: got my shoes in K, U and R (44.5), and alternated in putting one in the middle of the others, which gives some idea of the differences between the lasts.

The Alt English in the K last is longer, slimmer, and has a more shaped waist than the version in the U last. Still, I feel we overestimate these differences: on my feet, I would dare you to tell me if I was wearing a shoe in the K or U last. The shoe in the R last is easy to spot among the others but I was pleasantly surprised by its design. It is wider and shorter, but certainly not as bulbous or clunky as I feared. Even if the K last is "sleeker", it makes no difference in terms of fit, compared to a shoe in the U last.

I also took another picture alternating the right and left shoes in these different lasts. One can easily see the distortion in perspective. Still, I hope that helps.
View attachment 1623181View attachment 1623182View attachment 1623183View attachment 1623184
For the U and K last pairs, I take it the black pair is the K last? Since these are the same model and size, did you notice any differences at all in terms of fit? Does the K last have a higher instep as I read somewhere on their website?
 

bernoulli

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I have high insteps. Both the U and K work beautifully in that regard for me. K is a tiny bit slimmer but I don't think it is a material difference to the U last, really. I take the exact same size in both.

Ah, the blue (not black but I can see why you would think it is not blue) pair is indeed the one in the K last.

For the U and K last pairs, I take it the black pair is the K last? Since these are the same model and size, did you notice any differences at all in terms of fit? Does the K last have a higher instep as I read somewhere on their website?
 

Elch

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I recall learning about Vass using fiber board heel stacks from a you tube video that Steve from Bedo's leather works posted on you tube. I was disappointed.
However, even at full price, I dont know of another maker that offers the same quality uppers, construction, and JR soles.
I have no real knowledge about this, but since one is just using the heel as an incompressible part of the shoe that wears down easily, does it really make a difference - or reduce the quality of the product?

I have a single Vass pair and I wouldn't know about fiber board in the heel just from looking and feeling it.
 

Jmr928

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Found out that Vass does fiberboard heel stacks and only uses 3 nails to attach the heels. Very disappointing to see a brand like that cut corners and still say they offer the best value for the price
It’s funny every time someone finds a YouTube video and this comes up. The number of nails is a pretty insignificant detail. It’s not like peoples heels are falling off.

Re: the heels. Would I prefer stacked leather heels? Yes. Would I prefer them to be stacked in house with the same maker as the sole I got? Yep. Is it a big deal or take away from the value for what they are? Not in the slightest. No matter what the heel is made out of it’s almost certainly going to be the first thing you need replaced. Throw some JR heels on and ask for extra nails when you do it for like 75 bucks.

We’re talking about a hand lasted, hand welted shoe with a hand stitched outsole, JR soles, uppers from solid European tanneries. I can’t recall if they have celastic, leather board or leather for heel stiffeners and toe puffs but I thought I’d seen some stuff from Jesper that it’s real leather stiffeners and puffs. If that’s “cutting corners” man do I have some bad news for you about factory made shoes.

Where else can you get that value? If you go to the Asian makers there are two small makers I’m aware of who can do it for about $650-750 if you’re willing to roll the dice on an MTO with a 6 month turn around. Another out of Asia comes in at maybe $1600. You could get it out of Italy for maybe 2 grand or so. Vass coming in at about $600 shipped with trees? Crazy. Add in the 25-50% off they’ve been running nonstop? I don’t know how anyone could say they aren’t one of the best bang for your buck examples out there in the RTW world.
 

apd90700

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Where else can you get that value? If you go to the Asian makers there are two small makers I’m aware of who can do it for about $650-750 if you’re willing to roll the dice on an MTO with a 6 month turn around.
Yeossal and Oct. Tenth?
 

Jmr928

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Yeossal and Oct. Tenth?
nope - both have a machine stitched outsole and celastic toe puffs. They’re both great shoes and I’m waiting on more commissions from both at the moment though. Vass is technically the more “handmade” shoe. The ones I was thinking of are out of Indonesia and haven’t officially rolled out their upgraded version with the leather stiffeners and puffs or announced the upcharge yet.
 

Smooth Operator

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Thanks for posting those pics bernoulli! That blue/navy a beauty. I wouldn't have picked up that it wasn't black. Is it a museum calf? I agree the camera distorts the shape a lot. Do you have experience with F last too? I should stop asking so I stop buying 😅
 

Smooth Operator

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100% agree with JMR. I bought my first ever shoe that is not Blake stitched or cemented construction from Vass (with lasted trees) then another from Carmina - both with JR sole on sale for $450 AUD. On my pair at least, I think the leather quality on my Vass are better than my Carmina (not comparing the dodgy left shoe QC issue I had).

Hungary's minimum wage is half of Spain's. Assuming both uses the same leather, construction and staff skills/experience; The $500 Carmina should be $250 in Vass right?
With this assumption, one would think that Vass would be a great value for money comparing to the other European brands with higher wages.

On that paper heel note, does that mean we should waterproof our Vass heels more? I may have soaked and stepped on a paddle a couple of times - the heel is still there. So what is the real world difference between leather and paper heel stacks?
 

Jmr928

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100% agree with JMR. I bought my first ever shoe that is not Blake stitched or cemented construction from Vass (with lasted trees) then another from Carmina - both with JR sole on sale for $450 AUD. On my pair at least, I think the leather quality on my Vass are better than my Carmina (not comparing the dodgy left shoe QC issue I had).

Hungary's minimum wage is half of Spain's. Assuming both uses the same leather, construction and staff skills/experience; The $500 Carmina should be $250 in Vass right?
With this assumption, one would think that Vass would be a great value for money comparing to the other European brands with higher wages.

On that paper heel note, does that mean we should waterproof our Vass heels more? I may have soaked and stepped on a paddle a couple of times - the heel is still there. So what is the real world difference between leather and paper heel stacks?
I think people hear “paper heel” and don’t realize it’s a really dense leather board - still leather just a compressed composite. I’m now curious about it and I happen to have a leather board heel and leather stacked heel available from shoes I cut apart for a review. neither are on a wearable pair of shoes anymore but what experiments should we do on them? I can document and post the results.
 

Betta

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nope - both have a machine stitched outsole and celastic toe puffs. They’re both great shoes and I’m waiting on more commissions from both at the moment though. Vass is technically the more “handmade” shoe. The ones I was thinking of are out of Indonesia and haven’t officially rolled out their upgraded version with the leather stiffeners and puffs or announced the upcharge yet.
Both will do completely handstitched outsole for a fee, but that just puts it higher than Vass.
 

Jmr928

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Both will do completely handstitched outsole for a fee, but that just puts it higher than Vass.
True - and modified lasts - I didn’t want to throw out off menu options and confuse people ha. Throws you over the US duty threshold when you add trees and taps too which is a whole other can of worms. I also guess I could have included StC and ZB but again all much higher than Vass. I still think they’re the one of the best bang for your buck in the RTW space sub-$600 - at the sale prices? Again just crazy.

Once you get into MTO and abandon low price as a component I have a hard time identifying a best bang for your buck - there are cases to be made for so many of the makers out there between 600-1500 that it varies depending on fit and taste.
 

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