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What is the best value shoe maker you know?

Blake Stitched Blues

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Another maker which offers a broad range of mid-priced shoes is Sanders:

https://www.sanders-uk.com/shop

I have a pair of their extra wide derbies (H or 4E)
On the negative side is that they are very stiff
but fit very well. I am not aware that this is a characteristic
of the other lines.
Strange. I like Sanders very much and never find them to be stiff. I'd rather wear a pair of Eccos than deal with the brutal Meermin breakin but never had any issues with Sanders.
 

Proleet

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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.
Some Santoni lasts for sure but impossible to say which...their lasts are all over the place
 

beargonefishing

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StC is, for me, the most brutal to break in because they use such stiff toe and heal stiffners. The toe seriously almost feels like a steal toe.
 

gld edmond

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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.
I have been looking at Meccariello, and I do have a low instep, are all of his RTW lasts high instep? How would they compare to Carmina Simpson or Rain?
 

dhoff10

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Paul Evans yet. I had them lined up for my next shoe purchase based on some good reviews out there. The narrative makes sense as they're direct ship to get good value. Based on the reviews they are supposed to have elite leather quality at $400-$450. Anyone have any experience with them?
 

beargonefishing

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Paul Evans yet. I had them lined up for my next shoe purchase based on some good reviews out there. The narrative makes sense as they're direct ship to get good value. Based on the reviews they are supposed to have elite leather quality at $400-$450. Anyone have any experience with them?
$400-$450 for Blake stitched shoes is a massive premium. They might be decent, but there is no way they represent anything close to a good value.
 

WhyUEarly

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Paul Evans yet. I had them lined up for my next shoe purchase based on some good reviews out there. The narrative makes sense as they're direct ship to get good value. Based on the reviews they are supposed to have elite leather quality at $400-$450. Anyone have any experience with them?
I'm pretty lukewarm about them after trying them at their guide shop in New York. Everything you mentioned is marketing material. They're a decent deal compared to old department store "high-end" shoes like Magnanni or designer brands like Gucci. They definitely do not have elite leather quality. Their patinas look great in photographs, but I didn't find their shoes to look as good in person. I think they were more competitive at a lower price point when they first started out, but there's so much more competition in the $200-$400 USD price range in 2019. Just to name a few, Lof & Tung, Sons of Henrey, Carlos Santos, TLB Mallorca, Skolyx, Carmina, Cobbler Union, Rider Boot (Cortina), Beckett Simonon, Meermin, Septieme Largeur.

If you like how Paul Evans look, by all means, give them a try, but I wouldn't call them a bargain. Their sizing is a bit confusing for Americans; their shoes are basically marked in UK sizes (so size down 1 whole size from Brannock) and then you might want to size down another half size for loafers. As for the Blake construction, I have nothing against Blake construction and find it basically just as good as GYW. Blake sometimes has a poorer reputation due to the deluge of mediocre Blake leather shoes "Made in Italy". Then again, it's not like there aren't Goodyear welt shoes of dubious quality.
 

dhoff10

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I'm pretty lukewarm about them after trying them at their guide shop in New York. Everything you mentioned is marketing material. They're a decent deal compared to old department store "high-end" shoes like Magnanni or designer brands like Gucci. They definitely do not have elite leather quality. Their patinas look great in photographs, but I didn't find their shoes to look as good in person. I think they were more competitive at a lower price point when they first started out, but there's so much more competition in the $200-$400 USD price range in 2019. Just to name a few, Lof & Tung, Sons of Henrey, Carlos Santos, TLB Mallorca, Skolyx, Carmina, Cobbler Union, Rider Boot (Cortina), Beckett Simonon, Meermin, Septieme Largeur.

If you like how Paul Evans look, by all means, give them a try, but I wouldn't call them a bargain. Their sizing is a bit confusing for Americans; their shoes are basically marked in UK sizes (so size down 1 whole size from Brannock) and then you might want to size down another half size for loafers. As for the Blake construction, I have nothing against Blake construction and find it basically just as good as GYW. Blake sometimes has a poorer reputation due to the deluge of mediocre Blake leather shoes "Made in Italy". Then again, it's not like there aren't Goodyear welt shoes of dubious quality.
Exactly the kind of insight I was looking for - much appreciated. I'll stay away.
 

beargonefishing

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I don't knock blake construction because I necessarily think it's inferior to GYW, it's just quicker, easier and less expensive to produce than GYW so the price should reflect that.
 

jctune

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Exactly the kind of insight I was looking for - much appreciated. I'll stay away.
You've already made the right decision - but I'll chime in anyway for anyone else reading this in the future.

I would stay away from Paul Evans at their current price point. I bought a pair of wholecuts from them right when I started upgrading my shoe collection and don't wear them anymore. I don't like the way the leather is creasing, after 15 wears the leather hasn't softened up at all, and there's a spot where the upper is slightly pulling apart from the sole.
 

Proleet

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Exactly the kind of insight I was looking for - much appreciated. I'll stay away.
To supplement: at full retail they’re simply not a great deal as they just aren’t at the level as some of the brands referenced here. Even at a steep discount I’d take say Yanko over them (and for clarity I have and still wear one pair of PE. They’re my bad weather shoes now)
 

WhyUEarly

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You can get CS handgrade for a lower price than retail Paul Evans. Look at the finishing on these.
I'm def a fan of Carlos Santos, but haven't had a chance to try Handgrade. How does CS Handgrade compare to their mainline or even say Enzo Bonafe? I never saw a good explanation for the differences other than last and closed channel sole stitching
 

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