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What is the best value shoe maker you know?

vriche

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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
I own regular CS not handgrade but I don’t think they compare favorably with Enzo Bonafè. Not sure if you own any, EB is a really special brand, not to mention they’re handwelted as opposed to GYW.
 

beargonefishing

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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
I have handwelted EB and CS handgrade, but no CS mainline. The finishing on the EB and CS handgrade is similar, and very good. The leather quality is also similar. The CS handgrade really is a stunning shoe, similar to AS executive.

As for the difference between the CS lines, I am not sure. I suspect the only real difference between CS handgrade and CS mainline is last and sole finishing, but I could be wrong.
 

WhyUEarly

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I own regular CS not handgrade but I don’t think they compare favorably with Enzo Bonafè. Not sure if you own any, EB is a really special brand, not to mention they’re handwelted as opposed to GYW.
I have handwelted EB and CS handgrade, but no CS mainline. The finishing on the EB and CS handgrade is similar, and very good. The leather quality is also similar. The CS handgrade really is a stunning shoe, similar to AS executive.

As for the difference between the CS lines, I am not sure. I suspect the only real difference between CS handgrade and CS mainline is last and sole finishing, but I could be wrong.
Yep, I own Enzo Bonafe and CS mainline. Enzo Bonafe really does make great shoes, especially in shell. I did have one pair of Enzo with poor leather. Apparently one of the ways Enzo Bonafe keeps costs down is to be more economical with their clicking sometimes, but it's not really a major red flag.

It's pretty high praise if you think CS Handgrade is on par with AS Exclusive. Too bad it's been discontinued. I'm looking forward to TLB Mallorca Artista
 

Thilgela

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Meermin & AE are not my cup of tea. I don't consider them good value as well since the finishing on both is so bad and leather quality mediocre. The lasts for AE are very dated and chunky. Meermin lasts are just not that refined.

The house brand Y by Yeossal is really good in terms of value from my perspective. Handwelted + lasted shoe trees, good leather quality for less than $600 all in. Just need to see if they can scale up and offer more styles with consistent quality.

I have another pair in the making with Winson from indonesia and Zeb from Croatia. Both are small workshops but offer exceptional values I am looking for, i.e. good construction (HW), flexibility of leather choices and relatively low price. Will see how they turn out.

Carmina hits my sweet spot with many leather options and variety of lasts. The quality is consistent as well.

Lof & Tung is pretty good value too compare to Carmina, similar level of finishing and good selection of leather. However, the last designs are too conservative to my liking.

EB is really good value I think as well, but the process is harder than rest of the options here. Always have to go for GMTO if you seek a good price.
 
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jctune

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Carmina hits my sweet spot with many leather options and variety of lasts. The quality is consistent as well.

Lof & Tung is pretty good value too compare to Carmina, similar level of finishing and good selection of leather. However, the last designs are too conservative to my liking.
Carmina represents about 1/2 my rotation right now and I'm looking to branch out. Just ordered a Chelsea from the Skoaktiebolaget sale to give Lof & Tung a try.
 

beargonefishing

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Meermin & AE are not my cup of tea. I don't consider them good value as well since the finishing on both is so bad and leather quality mediocre. The lasts for AE are very dated and chunky. Meermin lasts are just not that refined.

The house brand Y by Yeossal is really good in terms of value from my perspective. Handwelted + lasted shoe trees, good leather quality for less than $600 all in. Just need to see if they can scale up and offer more styles with consistent quality.

I have another pair in the making with Winson from indonesia and Zeb from Croatia. Both are sma
Ill workshops but offer exceptional values I am looking for, i.e. good construction (HW), flexibility of leather choices and relatively low price. Will see how they turn out.

Carmina hits my sweet spot with many leather options and variety of lasts. The quality is consistent as well.

Lof & Tung is pretty good value too compare to Carmina, similar level of finishing and good selection of leather. However, the last designs are too conservative to my liking.

EB is really good value I think as well, but the process is harder than rest of the options here. Always have to go for GMTO if you seek a good price.
I really want to try Winson. Did you order based on standard sizing or did you measure your foot?
 

Thilgela

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I really want to try Winson. Did you order based on standard sizing or did you measure your foot?
I think for standard MTO, the default option is standard sizing. However, you can pay a upcharge to have a modified last. I went with the standard sizing. Hopefully the fit works out. Measuring foot is not that complicated after working with Zeb.
 

mrdlin

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I agree.

Value can also be buying what you love, but only the OP can say what he's really looking for. Some guys are looking to just get a pair of shoes so they don't look like a goofball at work. Some guys are obsessives and want the best.

If the OP is the second, then it's worth just figuring out what's a responsible budget and buying what makes you really happy. In the end, many people end up with wardrobes much bigger than they need. And they'd be better off with fewer items that bring them real joy than a bunch of stuff that brings them nothing but the comfort of knowing they were bought on sale and "of good value."

That said, if you're looking for something that brings you real joy, and not just a pair of shoes you can wear to a wedding, that's an incredibly subjective question that no one can answer for you.
Wise words!
 

miburo

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I'm looking into both Zeb and Winson now! Thanks. @Thilgela what are the differences in their shoes , is there one you prefer in style or quality?
 

Thilgela

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I'm looking into both Zeb and Winson now! Thanks. @Thilgela what are the differences in their shoes , is there one you prefer in style or quality?
Winson is an Indonesian maker and is like other handwelt brands like Vass in terms of construction. I think they are 100% handmade, not like brands such as EB who does handwelting but machine sole stitching, etc.(silly things). Generally I like dressier shoes/boots and the grandeur line Winson offers have a decent collection of well proportioned patterns. They are pretty flexible with options with no significant surcharge like fiddle back waist, tapered heel etc. (again, silly things). The limitation is that it’s hard for them to source exotic leather like Horween shell. However, regular leather options are plenty.

Zeb is a Croatian maker and he uses a special construction he developed himself. The shoes/boots are fully hand lasted. The leather options are plenty, and the order can be fully customized, basically sky is the limit. The styles are bulkier/Hungarian so I like his boots more than dress shoes.

They are pretty different in terms of style but I think the value/quality ratio are both pretty high. I like both for different type of shoes/boots.

They both take a good amount time to make shoes/boots. 3mo for Winson and 1mo for Zeb. Factoring the ordering process for additional 1-2 weeks. You won’t get something fast. As they are individual makers, sizing can be tricky as well. YMMV.
 

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