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What is the best value shoe maker you know?

WhyUEarly

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I think this was discussed earlier, but I think the idea of value in clothing is kind of silly. Value just means something has some intrinsic quality. Like, it's better than this other thing, given the price ratios. But it's impossible to talk about how something can be better without talking about measures -- as in, what is the person after, what do they prefer, and so forth. There has to be another value behind the idea of value, and people value different things.

The best measure of value I can think of is corrected grain vs full grain, glued on soles vs stitched on soles. Because most people want their shoes to look good over time. In that regard, I think Meermin offers great value because under their price point, most shoes are made with poor quality materials. That said, if someone didn't care about how something looked after 500 wearings, then maybe that's not important to them.

Above $175, it feels incredibly subjective to me. At that point, you're just saying what gives you the most joy, and who can answer that for anyone else but themselves?

I know this is an enthusiast board, and enthusiasts are going to enthuse. But there's a tendency among enthusiasts to try to make objective what's inherently a very subjective field. This is why I think a lot of the nit picking over quality (above a certain point) and ranking of brands is kind of silly. I mean, people argue over who was the best musician or artist of all time, so I get it. But this is all very subjective stuff and we shouldn't pretend there's any real objectivity here.

I usually recommend Meermin for best value in shoes, but there are a loooootttt of people who buy them and find they don't get that much joy out of them. Then they start eyeing higher end brands like C&J and EG. And they climb up and up the price scale and find the thing that truly works for them. In the end, the Meermins got little wear, so they end up being a poor value. But who could have possibly told that person what high-end brand they'll like in five years?
That's a very brutally honest assessment. I never bothered trying Meermin because I'm not just going to put up with a hard break in on my heels at this point. I find Beckett Simonon at $159 to be excellent in terms of finishing and leather quality. Only bad part is the multi-month wait and the U.S.-only sales.

Personally, the shoe brand that gives a bit of everything (whether it's last shape, leather, finishing, patinas, styles), which would be my definition of most value to most people, is Carlos Santos. Above Carlos Santos, to me the choices are all subjective, echoing Derek's point.

Fit is king, so your perception of value would be heavily colored by which RTW lasts fit your feet the best. For me, Vass and Meccariello are incredibly valuable because their lasts feel so good to me, but they're worthless to people with low instep unless they're going bespoke.
 

Chowkin

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You mean book bind leather? supposedly leffot says they can take a beating. If they’re easier to maintain than shell then I would probably like it too
Bookbinder leather is super easy to maintain - just wipe the shoes with a slightly damp cloth and you’re good to go. You don’t need creams or waxes cause they would just sit on the surface.
 

RexBanner

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Anyone have experience shopping from Meermin and shipping to Canada?
 

Zapasman

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You mean book bind leather? supposedly leffot says they can take a beating. If they’re easier to maintain than shell then I would probably like it too
Yes. My 2 país are BBinder . Some water and a rag and they are done. I dont baby my shell but BB is the best for no maintenance. Scratches are difficult to deall with though. Best leather for rain, crowdy R&R concerts, pub crawling ...
 

Zapasman

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Bookbinder leather is super easy to maintain - just wipe the shoes with a slightly damp cloth and you’re good to go. You don’t need creams or waxes cause they would just sit on the surface.
For scratches I use once a year some color wax to fill them. It does just a bit. Churchs recomends to polish them.
 

Andy57

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@Andy57 and @dieworkwear

Andy/Derek, no arguments there with EG (Yet to try Templeman Bespoke). What do you make of Gaziano & Girling, St. Crispin RTW juxtaposed against EG RTW? On the subject of value for money of course

Alan Bee
I don't have anything qualitatively to add to Derek's reply, except for my own observations.

I tried a pair of Gaziano & Girling on, I think, the MH71 last. Uncomfortable and I wore them so few times that out the door they went. I have a pair of Saint Crispin Chukkas and I like them. They are on a modified last and I think that's the real value of StC. They go a long way down the MTM road, but at a better price point. Value for money is, for me, measured against usage. I am very much like Derek: these days if my Templemans are not on my feet, a pair of Edward Greens is.
 

saskatoonjay

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My new favourite place for quality/value is eBay.

Get some vintage Goodyear-welted shoes at 80% off retail, and spend a little on new heels. Today I'm wearing camel-skin longwings made in the UK by Dack's of Canada in the 1960's. They'd been re-soled at least once already---likely by someone who's dead now. I paid $63 for them, and they'll last my whole life.

upload_2018-10-22_11-50-30.png
 

smittycl

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Well done! Yet, not really related to the level of shoes we were discussing above. I would not wear those with a suit but would wear them casually in sloppy weather.
 

RogerP

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I think this was discussed earlier, but I think the idea of value in clothing is kind of silly. Value just means something has some intrinsic quality. Like, it's better than this other thing, given the price ratios. But it's impossible to talk about how something can be better without talking about measures -- as in, what is the person after, what do they prefer, and so forth. There has to be another value behind the idea of value, and people value different things.

The best measure of value I can think of is corrected grain vs full grain, glued on soles vs stitched on soles. Because most people want their shoes to look good over time. In that regard, I think Meermin offers great value because under their price point, most shoes are made with poor quality materials. That said, if someone didn't care about how something looked after 500 wearings, then maybe that's not important to them.

Above $175, it feels incredibly subjective to me. At that point, you're just saying what gives you the most joy, and who can answer that for anyone else but themselves?

I like a more conservative last, so I prefer most of Meermin's shoes over G&G. I realize that's sacrilegious to say, but I also think a lot of guys dazzled and lost in the idea of luxury, fancy things, and expensive goods. So things become grails. In my actual day-to-day life, I generally like a more conservative last, so G&G's pointier toes wouldn't suit me.

But if someone likes those sleek last shapes, G&G might be for them. I have a couple of friends who really like G&G and I think they have great taste. I just personally don't like wearing those lasts, like how I don't like drinking beer.

StC is nice in that you can get the sort of shaping typically only available in bespoke, but at RTW prices. But sometimes you have to eat the cost of the first shoe because, when you cut a shoe that close, there's very little room for error. So you either have to fit perfectly in their standard lasts or be ready to possibly have to deal with some trial-and-error through their adjustment program. I really like their classic last shoes and have a few pairs.

But I still mostly wear my EGs (Piccadilly and Dover) and Templemans.

I know this is an enthusiast board, and enthusiasts are going to enthuse. But there's a tendency among enthusiasts to try to make objective what's inherently a very subjective field. This is why I think a lot of the nit picking over quality (above a certain point) and ranking of brands is kind of silly. I mean, people argue over who was the best musician or artist of all time, so I get it. But this is all very subjective stuff and we shouldn't pretend there's any real objectivity here.

I usually recommend Meermin for best value in shoes, but there are a loooootttt of people who buy them and find they don't get that much joy out of them. Then they start eyeing higher end brands like C&J and EG. And they climb up and up the price scale and find the thing that truly works for them. In the end, the Meermins got little wear, so they end up being a poor value. But who could have possibly told that person what high-end brand they'll like in five years?
A most excellent post. I will say that I have enjoyed and found good value in shoes covering a very broad price spectrum. For me, there is no single "best value" maker.
 

clee1982

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Not sure “best” value.m but I definitely consider my AM has better value than GG/EG
 

mactire

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Anyone have recommendations re italian makes available in Italy (as opposed to export-only brands)?
 

Coffandcig

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Good info on the high instep of Vass and AM. I was actually looking at Vass for my next pair but I have low volume, low instep feet.

That's a very brutally honest assessment. I never bothered trying Meermin because I'm not just going to put up with a hard break in on my heels at this point. I find Beckett Simonon at $159 to be excellent in terms of finishing and leather quality. Only bad part is the multi-month wait and the U.S.-only sales.

Personally, the shoe brand that gives a bit of everything (whether it's last shape, leather, finishing, patinas, styles), which would be my definition of most value to most people, is Carlos Santos. Above Carlos Santos, to me the choices are all subjective, echoing Derek's point.

Fit is king, so your perception of value would be heavily colored by which RTW lasts fit your feet the best. For me, Vass and Meccariello are incredibly valuable because their lasts feel so good to me, but they're worthless to people with low instep unless they're going bespoke.
 

WhyUEarly

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Good info on the high instep of Vass and AM. I was actually looking at Vass for my next pair but I have low volume, low instep feet.
I actually don't know of a high end low instep RTW brand. Maybe G&G? But I haven't tried a pair myself so hard to comment.
 

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