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Is it better to buy Italian dress shoes in Italy (i.e., is it cheaper there and do they have greater selection). I live in NY and know that Santoni and Moreschi have boutiques here, but brands like Barrett and Gravati don't seem to be sold anywhere around here.

A friend of mine (a woman) goes to Italy every January when they have their sales and I was wondering if that is actually the best time to go buy dress shoes.

Any thoughts?
 

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Many (most?) items produced in Europe, and marketed in the US, are less expensive in the US. The producers take the exchange rates into account and essentially discount the items in the US.

Years ago I decided I'd buy a Burberry trench coat on my (first) trip to London. The coat in the US boutique was $999. The same coat in London was £999. The exchange rate was 1.90 to 1, making that coat virtually twice as expensive in the UK.
 

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Buying Italian shoes in Italy

I second what Bartolo said. In my experience most Italian high end brand merchandise is cheaper in the US (at the Euro exchange rates of the last few years) or approximately the same price, even if you account for the "tax free" reimbursement.

I go to Italy a few times a year and rarely buy a high end item there. When I do it is more because of a particular model or material that might not be available in the US (or maybe I buy a gift for the lady, but that just serves the imagination component of something coming from Italy).

What I find very competitive in Italy are less known brands of excellent material and construction that sell for a fraction of a high end brand of comparable (or even inferior) quality. I have 2 or 3 pair of shoes that I bought at some no-brand stores in Milano for less or about 100 Euros and compare very favorably with shoes costing 3 times as much.
 
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