Working as a shoemaker I want to add that in my mind I hope the reason for order a pair of good costly shoes would be more then about durability and methods! I know very well that high end factories as those mentioned here can make durable shoes of good quality and I don't think that none of them are stitching their soles aloft. I am pretty sure they bury the stitches into the sole in one way or another even though some of them don't cover the stitches with a flap of leather. Some years ago I visited J.L. factory in Northampton and a guy took me to a tour around the factory. I was impressed by the the way they made their shoes. They where using top grade leather and I couldn't see anything that I would like to complain about so if it is about durability I think they are all fine. I hope the reason for buying stuff that is made by makers in the West End area of London or D.W. in Oregon or perhaps me up north in Sweden is to get something that the factories can not offer i.e. a product that is made specifically for the client. The durability will of course be there too as the fit will be. And not to forget the personal contact with the maker which hopefully will last over many years. I read about the English motorcycle manufacturer Vincent HRD that their motto where "our m.c. are made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts" I think that motto is what keep this "good costly shoe" trade running. Well, just my thoughts for what they are worth. Thank you Janne. One of the points I made... twice in the essay--at the beginning and at the end--is not why customers choose shoes or a particular brand, as much as why shoemakers have, over centuries, chosen one particular technique over another. The customer can be focused on, and interested in, all kinds of peripheral and incidental concerns--such as the uniqueness of a shoe and the relationship with the shoemaker, even the price...but any good craftsman, artisan, shoemaker is going to be concerned with the quality of his work and that implies durability (for lack of a better word to describe longevity and integrity.) Like you, I made my remarks from the perspective of a shoemaker and that implies a different set of priorities than someone who only has an off-the-shelf budget or a retail taste.