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Trip to London to check out shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by rabiesinfrance, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. rabiesinfrance

    rabiesinfrance Senior member

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    Jun 8, 2010
    Went up to the smoke yesterday and checked out the shoe shops. Sorry, no photos.

    Vsited John Rushton (Wimpole Street) and shops on Oxford/Regent Street and Jermyn Street.

    Didn't realise that C&J have opened another shop on JS, must be doing well!

    Barker - Cheaney

    Close examination of the shoes - reckon they are similiar in quality.

    Barker, top-end "Anniversary" range, is very nice and finished well. They have clearly copied C&J's 337 Handgrade last, which I find slightly disappointing. I'd make a traditional English shoe (shorter, rounded toe). The shoes are not stand out by any means. They should be mirroring EG, not C&J, in my opinion.

    Tricker - Sargent

    Checked out Tricker's. Leather quality seems comparable (this is only by eye; a close examination) to AS. In fact the "C" shade gorse looks very similar to the Anton calf. The old zug grain leather is the same as AS's. Difficult to tell, but the leather on the Bourton (marron, acorn) seems to have dropped - not worth £340.

    Crockett & Jones

    The dog's bollocks! Lovely shoes, super posh new shop. They just looked better. Get that 'awe' feeling.

    They even had an old style (Edwardian) boot in a glass cabinet. I've visited C&J since 2007 and the positive for them seems to be that, with their success, they've got better. They are not upping prices and reducing quality as they are not doubt tempted to do. It's not all marketing - you can sense the pride in the shop.

    I loved the Snowdon boot - I'm tempted to get one.

    The display shoes - loving attention to detail; the very best are on display.

    Grenson

    Didn't visit this time round (they are out East, which is a disadvantage), but the Rose line I saw were half-leather lined and looked inferior quality (leather, finishing) to the one's I saw last year. I bought pair of Alberts last year but returned them due to a fault. The quality has obviously dipped - they do cheaper lines now.

    I spoke to a woman at Grenson's and she was on about about a better quality range coming out soon i.e.that the Rose stuff, made for the shop only, is ok, but not great, and watch this space. Doing a Barker.

    Summary

    Top tier: C&J, you've also got Green and Lobb, of course. C&J have taken the ground from the rest.

    Middle tier: Tricker's, Cheaney and Barker. I would edge Tricker's slightly above the other two.

    Sign of all of this is that AS have concentrated on top-end, Grenson on lower-end. The big player in the middle, which occupies middle and top end, is C&J (Handgrade) line. These days I'd buy C&J.

    Just my personal view, right or wrong.

    By the way Church's were just shit - they had they gaudy antique distressed shoes in the window that smacked of Italy. I overheard a customer in C&J (a Yank) talking the weakness of Church's to C&J). Interesting.

    I've owned most makers of shoes and my opinion is based upon what I own now and what I'm seeing now. If you want to be safe buy C&J Handgrade for your dress shoes. EG are fabulous, but expensive.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Pliny

    Pliny Senior member

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    agree with most of this asessment, although once I went EG and their 202, 82 lasts etc I wouldn't go back to C&J hand-grade, nice as they are. But then why not go Vass for that high-end experience less expensive than EG and better quality anyway- hand work, more versatility and good English styles available.
     
  3. rabiesinfrance

    rabiesinfrance Senior member

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    Tempted to, but need to see the shoes in person.

    C&J's success puts EG under pressure: why spend £600 + on a pair of shoes when you can get a Handgrade for £400 +? They have the distinct advantages of selling benchgrade and Handgrade together - wide range, lots of options, and the marketing force to drive it forward. If you have a few quid in your pocket you've got to walk past two C&J shops before you get to Green. And at Green they usually treat you like shit (at least in my experience). So, C&J are onto a winner.
     
  4. Kingstonian

    Kingstonian Senior member

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    With the weak exchange rate, Northampton shoe makers are doing good business abroad.

    They already had a high proportion of overseas business.

    The result for the British buyer is that there are no longer bargains to be had like a few years ago because all reasonable stock gets sold.
     
  5. kev777

    kev777 Senior member

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    Thats exactly the experience and thoughts i had. I, indeed, bought a pair of C&J Handgrades when i originally set out for a pair of EG's. The reception ambiance and treatment was far far more professional and charming at C&J and exactly the opposite at EG.
     
  6. countbaron

    countbaron Senior member

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    Apr 16, 2011
    

    [Surprise surprise] So let me get this: Church's is shit because they have gaudy shoes in their JS shop window (Italy my god) and a Yank was bad mouthing them in C&J. I guess that will have to do.Did you go in, look at any models, check any of the many shops around?

    As for the C&J new shop it is full of new employes that don't know shit about shoes. I have heard some amazing tales being told to clients there. Keep drinking the kool aid

    PS:Rabies what is up with the "Yank, Italy is crap, dog's bollocks" stuff ?- You sound like someone from the shires- little britain at its worst
     

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