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

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by luk-cha, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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    Well I have to say I am a disappointed Vass/Ascot Shoes customer

    Initially, I was introduced to Vass through the Ascot Shoe Group who post largely Vass, but also some Barker Blacks and the odd pair of John Lobbs or Crocketts on eBay.

    I could turn this into a very long story, which would likely bore the heck out of most people and probably would not accomplish what I have set out to. Suffice it to say that I purchased one pair of Vass Boots in person from the owner of Ascot Shoes while I was in London. This pair are great, I have no issues and I continue to wear them today. However in the meantime, I ordered a pair of MTOs which when they arrived, had a number of issues. The tongues both would not stay remotely centered and in fact slipped immediately all the way down to the left side of my foot on both shoes. The "speed eyelets" were either of not good enough quality or had not been smoothed enough that they literally cut through a pair of laces everytime I wore them. And the backside of those same speedlace grommets were not seated flush with the leather so they scratched both tongues (which were scotchgrain) badly (I will post pictures). I contacted Ascot and was told I shouldnt have worn them and I couldve gotten a full refund, but of course I had only worn them a half a dozen times, but would and could not have discovered the issues without wearing them. Ultimately after much back and forth, Ascot and Vass agreed to remake the boots in time for the middle of September. I had gone over all of the issues with Reszo, the manager of Vass and Karl, the owner of Ascot. I was hopeful as I very much like the designs and Karl has a super eye for style.

    Unfortunately, when I received the boots, they were worse than the first pair. The holes that are punched along the strip of an oxford or a brogue, many were not punched cleanly through and still had the leather plugs in them, the alignment of these holes and the attention to consistency was beyond poor (visible in the photos I will post below) and the speed grommets which we had decided to forgo for plain laceholes, were done without metal eyelets at all (not what was agreed to or ordered). I contacted Ascot and Karl and returned the boots immediately.

    During the waiting period for the boots, I had purchase a pair of shoes from Ascot that were my size and ready made. Within several weeks of wearing them perhaps 4-5 times, the bottom of the two stitch lines around the top of the heel had separated right at the middle on both pairs. Karl told me to send these back with the first boots which I did and they would be repaired. They were returned to me with ABSOLUTELY nothing done except the ends of the threads were melted so they wouldn't come undone anymore. I accepted a "goodwill" discount to keep the shoes and am currently wearing them today.

    During this 6 or so month period, I have spoken to a number of people who carry Vass (I will keep their names anonymous) as well as looked online for comments regarding both Vass and Ascot shoes. I have also spent some time reading blogs, visiting shoe stores in London and New York and looking at images online.

    What I have come up with, is that there is a general consensus that the quality control at Vass is lacking in terms of the details Ive mentioned above. Now whether Vass is trying to make too many shoes, or what, I dont have the answer to that. What I can tell you and it is even visible in the pictures posted by Ascot and Vass, is that in the details of the stitching and the hole punching, etc, there is not the evenness and attention to detail that there should be in shoes MTO at this level. I'd be interested to hear of experiences from others as well as hoping that improvements can be made because I truly believe that Karl has a terrific eye for design and that Vass can obviously make shoes and good ones at that, but at the moment there are significant issues that need addressing.


    I posted this in a new thread and got flamed and told I was wrong and my expectations were too high. Then I found this. I suggest you all read it and specifically the Vass review: they say exactly what I tried to convey to Ascot and Vass:

    http://parisiangentleman.co.uk/2014...ons-the-2014-ready-to-wear-mens-shoes-review/


    Interested to hear responses.
     
  2. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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  3. jazzsol

    jazzsol Senior member

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    Were the responses you received in your earlier thread not sufficient that you had to drag it over here again? I believe as you were told in your other thread that you are being too picky. You can get a refund from Vass if they mess up your order and take your business to another manufacturer. You are now complaining too much.
     
    2 people like this.
  4. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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    READ THE ARTICLE. Since they review almost every single high end shoe maker, they have no ax to grind with Vass. The review of all of the makers is balanced and in my opinion accurate.
     
  5. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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    What is the fault? Sorry, I don't see it

    Edit- ohh, the Brougeing isn't perfectly centered. lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
    2 people like this.
  6. jazzsol

    jazzsol Senior member

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    I am not interested in the opinion of the reviewers. You complained about slight defects in your earlier thread. What do you hope to achieve by repeating the same claims again in this new thread? Do you hope to convince other Vass customers that you were right the first time? I am not impressed by your repeated accusations and insinuations against both Vass and Ascot shoes. I believe you have been made whole in your transactions, and the beauty of the free market is that you can take your business elsewhere. Allow those of us who do not care about quality or perfect shoes continued patronage of Vass.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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    The review isn't even bad. Its actually quite positive and says

    "Of course, the finishing touches could be perfected, but this is only a slight fault that is to be expected from handmade shoes in this price range; yet, this point is ‘ nitpicking ‘ considering the final product’s undeniable appeal." Talks about Vass QC issues due to growing too fast, and then ends with "That being said, when Vass’s shoes meet the said expectations – and they most certainly do the vast majority of the time – their irrefutable charm makes you understand what the fuss is all about."
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
    3 people like this.
  8. ericgereghty

    ericgereghty Senior member

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    For what it's worth, the article you link is currently outdated, by the website's own reviews, and nearly 18 months old...while I can understand the issues based upon your pictures, I'd chalk that up to too much complaining.

    The beauty of the free market is that you can take your money to another maker if one proves insufficient in your mind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. ericgereghty

    ericgereghty Senior member

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    I swear I did not read this post prior to writing mine.

    Great minds... [​IMG]
     
  10. jazzsol

    jazzsol Senior member

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    I picked up on the coincidence too.
     
  11. Hotjock

    Hotjock Well-Known Member

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    My experience with Vass has been fantastic. The best customer service I have received from any business, not just shoes. Rezso does everything he can to make his customers fully satisfied. It helps that I live in Budapest and if any "very minor" defects are found with my purchases they are immediately resolved and within a day or two. At the Vass price point their shoe quality and leather is sublime. Every time I have gone to pick up my MTO's at the shop, I immediately want to order some more.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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    Well since JAZZSOL seems to know a lot about my transactions with Ascot, then I would say that they have a vested interest and are obviously one of the three partners in Ascot_Shoes. Not exactly an unbiased opinion do you think. The review if you look was redone for 2016. And if you are going to quote parts of a review out of context, post the whole review.
     
  13. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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    What do you want to say about the article? I've read it, it seems fairly accurate, what's your point? "The reason for this enthusiasm is simple : the Hungarian house offers entirely handmade shoes for less than 500 euros." Entirely handmade shoes for less than 500 euros! What are the other shoes in that review from a similar 400-600 price range? Cheaney, Alden, Trickers, Caulaincourt, Heschung, Vass, C&J, Alfred Sargent, Altan Bottier, Marc Guyot, Santoni, & JM Weston, with Santoni and Weston being at the upper end of that spectrum. How many of those other than Vass are hand welted and entirely handmade? None! Vass is the only one. You're right, Vass is a really great bargain!

    If you don't care about construction and all you care about is the level of finishing, why are you buying Vass anyway? Go get some Edward Greens or John Lobbs and quit posting the same thing over and over. I recently received my 15th pair of Vass. While it's currently my favorite brand, I'll admit, Vass might not be for everyone. It's certainly not for you, so move on to another brand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015
    2 people like this.
  14. jazzsol

    jazzsol Senior member

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    You have been complaining to anyone who would listen on this forum about phantom defects with your shoes. When are you going to rest the matter? No more comments from me.
     
  15. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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    Probably a good idea for you not to comment. And since you think that they are "phantom complaints" then you must be blind AND ignorant.
     
  16. Mr. Six

    Mr. Six Senior member

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    If one were to read through the entire thread (which I've done [​IMG]), one would see that people have noted inconsistency in Vass's QC as long as people have been posting about their shoes here. Stitching and clicking are off, people get something slightly different from what they ordered, leather creases in unexpected and potentially undesirable ways.

    It's not that we don't know that these things occur. My assumption is that those who experience the issues--including me--are willing to accept those faults in order to be able to get a wide variety of MTO options at significantly less cost than other shoemakers and completely made by hand. I think about shoe purchases in terms of price, flexibility, last desirability, quality of finishing, and method of construction. We're all going to compromise on at least one of those criteria. With Vass, it's quality of finishing. With G&G, it's price and method of construction. With EG it's price, flexibility, and method of construction. Etc.

    So, we hear you, agoodeye. Many of us have had the same experience. I at least don't expect anything to change because this seems to be the way Vass operates. And I've accepted the potential risk of imperfect finishing to get the other things I want. If you value the highest quality finishing above any other factor, Vass shoes might not be for you. If you don't like the shoes that you got, you should return them for a refund.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    How fortunate, then, that we have an unbiased source like you to rely upon. Indeed, who could claim to be more unbiased than an individual whose sum total participation on this forum has been to wage a one person crusade against both Vass and Ascot?

    Dude. Please.

    I would be so grateful if you would make your imaginary complaints to your imaginary friends instead of endlessly repeating them here. But I'm not holding my breath.
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. NYDRH

    NYDRH Senior member

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    Agoodeye,

    I can understand your frustration and desire to have the perfect pair of shoes/boots but I do believe you are being too critical of the finished product and the service you have received. I have no intention of arguing with you or disparaging your experience but I will provide some thoughts and opinions on the matter. It is unfortunate you have had a frustrating experience.

    The article you have linked provides some critical commentary of the company's finished product but overall paints them in a very favorable light. If you were to search through the history of this thread you will find many similar issues and discussions and the general consensus is that Vass makes a fantastic, high quality product, which do not always reach the level of 100% perfection but meet the needs of their customers above and beyond what is offered. The majority of people in this thread myself included do not find these issues to be enough of a problem to warrant such a response.

    I find the public flogging of Vass and Ascot (who I have never purchased Vass from) to be unfair and inconsiderate to their respective reputations and businesses. They have tried to work with you to rectify the problems and you are unsatisfied with their efforts. Its unfortunate you are unhappy with the situation, but as in all businesses this can happen. I get that you have worked with them behind the scenes for 6 months prior but I don't think it warrants this level public commentary directed at them.

    Ultimately, I am not 100% certain what you hope to accomplish here or anywhere else on the internet for that matter, this is not to be harsh just my observation based on your post. Looking at your issues, my feelings would be the following:

    1. Uneven punching - it happens, I have it on a pair, I never noticed it until recently. Would it be better if it was perfect? yes.Is it that big of a deal to me? no Mine is on the captoe which is a more visible area of the shoe and unless you were staring at my shoes for a significant period of time it would be impossible to even have the opportunity to tell and even then you still might not notice.

    2. The Grommets cutting the laces, and rough backside rubbing the tongue and the subsequent remake having no eyelets -
    I have this on Aldens, and Vibergs etc..... I dont think it will cause structural damage to the tongue and when laced up will never be seen so I wouldnt worry about it. The remake was absent of eyelets most likely a decision made to avoid the aforementioned issues even though you had specified all eyelets, again not a big deal in my opinion, They didnt make what you wanted, it happens but it really shouldnt cause you to lose use or enjoyment of the finished product.

    3. The tongue not staying in place - Obviosly I cant see it, and Im sure it is annoying but there are simple solutions to this that you can do yourself. I cant begin to guess why it happens on some boots and not others. I personally have never had this issue but Ive read about it on many other threads, often people take it to a local cobbler who stitches it in place.

    3) The RTW stitching - It shouldnt have happened. They attempted to fix it but not to the level you wanted, again frustrating but it really is not an issue structurally and nobody sees the top back of your shoe. They probably were concerned not to cause damage by over doing the repair. Realistically if there is a structural issue with the shoe, Im certain they would replace it for free so again you shouldnt worry.

    In the end it is your choice to no longer order shoes/boots from Vass. Based on what you have written, it sounds like they refunded your money on the boots and you have a RTW pair with some loose stitching that will not come undone. I believe you have been treated fairly and both retailer and manufacturer have tried to rectify the situation. As many people have said, and I can merely reiterate the company is very polite and offers a level of customer service that nearly everyone on this forum appreciates so do not be surprised if you do not get alot of positive comments here. In addition, the product that they make is well made, hand made, to a high standard of construction with high quality materials for significant less than you would find for a comparable product anywhere else. They allow a great deal of flexibility in ordering as well as design. And they do all of this at a price point that is considered by myself and many others to be a great value.
     
  19. agoodeye

    agoodeye Active Member

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    MrSix,
    Thanks so much for a finally sane and non aggressive response. It's good to hear what you have to say. I guess I wish I knew that was an issue before I got into ordering a bunch. I still have two simple pairs that are fine and I like. Part of the problem I think is that Ascot_Shoes are selling them for way more than 500€. And at that level the expectation becomes higher. It's too bad too because I do like the styles. But the issues aren't for me. Thanks again for your considerate post.
     
  20. NAMOR

    NAMOR Senior member

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    I think you have an appropriate user name. The defects as you call them take a few seconds to spot and that's with excellent, high quality close ups. I probably would never have complained about the defects as I probably would never have noticed them in the first place. I would chalk it up to "vass charm"

    Then again I've only ordered from Vass direct perhaps at a higher price i would have a lower threshold for "defects", even minor ones
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2015

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