FlatSix's Shoe-tout!

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by FlatSix, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. FlatSix

    FlatSix Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    290
    It's time for the Shoe-tout! Four pairs of shoes enter, one pair leaves. Let's meet our contenders:

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    From the left:

    Allen-Edmonds Park Avenue, retail $295, made in USA
    Brooks Peal Wingtips, retail $338, made in England
    Johnston & Murphy Italian, retail $189, made in Italy
    Cole-Haan City bluchers, retail $169, made in India

    Let's get up close and personal with them. The photos appear in the above order.

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    I would rate the quality of leather appearance, and the feel of the leather

    #1 (tie) A-E and Brooks - smooth finish with authentic-feeling grain
    #3 Cole-Haan - solid but cheap-feeling
    #4 J&M - plasticky

    The lace area:

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    #1 Brooks - hidden eyelets, tongue attached on one side, a higher grade of finish
    #2 A-E - as well-made as the Brooks but missing the features
    #3 Cole-Haan - looks hurried
    #4 J&M - clearly a division down from the others

    Interior finish:

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    I apologize for these photos, for some reason the camera did not like taking these shots.

    #1 A-E - some loose stitching but cleanest and best detail
    #2 Brooks - indifferently glued, rough stitch details
    #3 Cole-Haan - better finished than the Brooks, but of worse leather
    #4 J&M - not well-lined or well-finished

    Heel area:

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    #1 Brooks - just about perfect
    #2 A-E - some of the stitching looks "off" at close inspection
    #3 Cole-Haan - close to the A-E but the stitching looks weaker
    #4 J&M - not enough stitching, looks weak

    Sole:

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    #1 Brooks - not even close to the others. MUCH better finish, better stitching, combination heel, nailed heel, beveled heel. A clear wiiner.
    #2 A-E - full rubber heel but sole is well-done and looks high-quality.
    #3 J&M - Reasonably finished.
    #4 Cole-Haan - Not inspiring.

    Instep:

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    #1 A-E - This is the one shoe which meets all expectations here.
    #2 Brooks - Some mild beveling, but what's up with all that junk#1? Is that polish? Wax?
    #3 (tie) Cole-Haan and J&M - Looks plain and non-durable. Finish is okay in both cases.

    Toe Area:

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    #1 (tie) A-E and Brooks: Great stiching, good finish, no unsightly aspects
    #3 (tie) Cole-Haan and J&M: Not as well-done, with crooked stitching on the Cole and indifferent stamping on the J&M.

    Subjectively, the A-Es are the best-fitting, with the Brooks some distance behind. The J&M fits reasonably well but there are areas which would chafe during long wear. The Cole-Haans are mobile penalty boxes and I absolutely despise wearing them, even though they theoretically fit well.

    It's obvious (as it probably was before the Shoe-tout) that there are two classes of shoes here. There's nothing really wrong with the Cole-Haan or J&M; it's just that they aren't very good. Plenty of people will wear shoes like these their whole lives and not really expect anything better, but there are a couple of ranks of shoe above these. The Cole-Haan is better-made and thus is the winner of our second divison... or would be, if I did not deduct arbitrary points for making the shoes in India, which makes the J&M the winner.

    Inhabiting that next rung of our imaginary shoe ladder are the Peal and A-E entrants. I'd like to award them both first prize, but here as in life, we need to see a winner. The Brooks brought its strongest game with features which eclipsed the Park Avenue. Look at that sole! The heel! The detailing! The hidden eyelets are worth their weight in brass. It feels upmarket, and consciously so.

    By contrast, the A-E is a seemingly humbler shoe. There's no gold-stamped logo, no fancy heel, no beautiful (but quick to disappear) finish on that sole. There's only a decent shoe made as well as they know how to make it.

    In the end, it comes down to execution. The Brooks should win, but it falls down on the little details. The stitching doesn't look quite as nice in places. The shoe feels trimmer but less sturdy, and it is not as comfortable to wear. The A-E is better executed, and that's why it wins our Shoe-tout.

    Larger images:

    http://squidcar.com/siteimages/shoetout/tablepage.html

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    "When you wear something like spats, I think you might as well wear your favorite players jersey bc what youre saying is I want to be powerful like the bear and Im wearing its hide to tap into its power." - Film Noir Buff

    "First sense of what "normal" good clothes looked like came from my dad, of course, and from Babar books." - Concordia

    " I have a related problem in that I often have to chase people. Leather soles are no good for this kind of work." - Patrick06790
     

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