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Shoes in the Loake 1880 range are excellent and offer high quality leather and construction just as Loake say they do. I personally would not want anything higher quality than this. And they are men's shoes. For me the dainty waists of some higher end shoes are no attraction at all being more suited to women's shoes in my estimation .At around $200 dollars, Loake 1880s are also outstanding value for money. The cheaper Shoemaker and L1 collections are not as substantial but they do have some nice lasts, which I would like to see available in the 1880s. Looking forward to Loake's new 2009 offerings that should soon be with us if they are not already.
 

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Considering shoes are for walking on dirty streets and will get dirty i dont think people should get too precious about shoes.

As far as im concerned Loakes are great shoes. Ive got a pair of 771b shoes. I dont even think they are Loakes best.....1880's are arent they? But my 771b are excellent and comfortable out of the box. I sometimes dont want to wear them in case of ruining them and getting them dirty.

People should try mentioning the style of their 1880's to give me tips on what to buy. Ive mentioned mine are 771b
The 771s area are a great shoe. They are built on the 3625 last and are the closest thing around that is reminiscent of what was once popularly known as a 'Como' during the latter mod days in Britain. It's a shame that they are only available in 'polished' finishes though. An unpolished calf that could take a natural high shine, as all Loakes seem to do most splendidly, as others have pointed out, would be nice.

If you are happy with the 771s you should investigate the 026 lasts in the 1880 range and the 3525s in the Shoemaker collection. Shoes to try are the Exeter, Durham and Thames the latter sadly now discontinued but still available if you search for them.

It's also worth pointing out that Herring have a rebadged version of the 1880s at a slightly keener price and a supposedly even finer calf! I personally have two pairs of Richmonds which I am particularly fond of.
 

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I've often thought about doing the same. The 202 is another shoes built on the 3625 last. These are pretty good for my feet, being quite wide where most people's feet are widest, yet with not too much volume due to quite a low instep- lower than Loake 026 last at any rate. Th attraction of a low maintenance polished binder shoe such as the 202 wingtip, is a consideration for a work shoe. I've had Dexter binder shoes before that have stayed respectable for 11 years. I wonder how the Loake polished binders will endure?
 

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If you want a pair just for general wear, but even then I would say only at sale price - as Barkers are cheaper but a better shoe.
I think we need to be more specific than this and compare like with like. Most shoe manufacturers have ranges and Loake and Barker are no exception. From what I can gauge, from owning Loake 1880s and closely inspecting Barker's Hand- Crafted collection, Loake have the edge on price and possibly on quality. With regard to that, however, the proof of the pudding really has to be in extended wearing.
 

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THANK YOU Hector, that was EXACTLY what I was trying to put my finger on but couldn't quite identify, especially with Sargents and 2 or 3 of the
other high end brands; that feeling that they just look old fashioned and slightly feminine - which was quite Edwardian actually, so I suppose that is what makes them look old fashioned. I conclude that the two go hand in hand.
"Too dainty, too dandyish" would be a good way to précis it then.
In an historical sense perhaps we ought to say: " Too feminine, too foppish."

The dandy was perhaps an often unfairly maligned creature.

But back to Loakes. I wonder if they made a conscious decision to make footwear that appealed to those less in touch with their feminine sides? Or were they merely producing solid, yet handsome, encasings for the feet that actually could be worn on pavements rather than being reserved for mincing around on oriental ruggery?
 

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... I have tried Loake 1880s but found the plastic middle to the heel and the lack of comfort underfoot too much to bear. ...
Do you know for a fact that there is a plastic middle to the heel? The 1880s have the symbols that declare leather upper, inner and outer. Wouldn't a hidden plastic part to the heel put them in danger of contravening the Trade Descriptions Act ( if there is such a thing)? I'm assuming that you are speaking from having researched this, but it does seem bizarre for Loake to save what can't amount to very much per unit and risk losing custom as a result.

I had been spoilt by Church's shoes by this time in my life. A friend of mine says " If you've never had shoes costing more than £130 then you'll like Loakes but if you have had shoes costing £200 you won't be happy with Loakes.
Can't agree. These days Loake and AEs are my shoes of choice, but back in the 70s I survived for 3 years on 3 pairs of Bally of Switzerland - a monk, a loafer and a laceup. They were good shoes. Much more expensive than Loake, aand certainly a lot daintier. But I doubt if I'd say thay were better quality or more comfortable. With a Loake you know you've got a serious pair of shoes on your feet!
 

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This is what Tricker said:

Basically we are all copying each others shoes to try to get business, thats how it works, some factories are more geared towards certain styles though, or have certain shapes of last that buyers prefer, we all source the same materials, and the only difference really is that your lobbs and greens are hand lasted and all the rest use a '4A' pull toe laster to automate lasting, we all machine welt and sole stitch, unless you order handmades, then they are hand lasted and hand welted to a hand made insole, still machine stitched though.
 

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Thanks, Groover. So we are looking at better leather and more handworking = more cost= higher price.

But for me the law of diminishing return means that Loake 1880s is as high as I want to go.

Having said that I would be interested in seeing photos of well- worn higher end shoes. For me durability is very important. Waste not:want not.
 

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You've obviously made the comparison, Rich. In your experience, then, just how much better are Church and C& J? A difficult question I know but we are talking about comparisons here. BTW do you have any well-worn Church and C&KJ that you can photo and then post the pics to give me an idea of how an upgrade would look in 5 or 10 years time? It'd be appreciated.
 

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I disagree. The law of diminishing returns does not kick in until you get to C&J /Church's - thereafter it does - as far as longevity is concerned anyway.

Loake 1880 are certainly a good entry level shoe in terms of English shoes but you can get much much better value for money with the Church's seconds that Herrings shoes sell on their website and they will last Hector much longer.
Interesting and forthright. I might just buy a pair. If they are not in pristine condition 20 years from now I'll know who to come looking for!:icon_smile:
 

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Here are some differences between Loake and Church's (similar models).

It's mostly a question of materials and finishing, I think:

Loake uppers are thinner, less even-grained (so they crease unevenly) and drier/stiffer-looking, and the colour is not so deep or rich as on Church's. The stitching is finer and more carefully done on Church's. Loake soles are a little stiffer and less comfortable to walk in. Church's heels are dense and make a very nice "leathery" sound when walking versus Loake's drier sound. Church's lining is superior - silky to the touch against Loake's smooth but slightly "plasticky" feel. Church's seem to breathe a bit better - they are certainly much, much more comfortable in hot weather. New Church's smell strongly of leather: new Loakes smell of leather too, but also of chemicals - glue, plasticizers maybe. Church's shoes are a bit heavier overall, more substantial. Having a lot of dress shoes I've never worn a pair enough to wear them out, so I can't compare ultimate durability. Comfort and appearance are my priorities. I'll see if I can manage some pics.
I certainly wouldn't want anything thicker than a Loake 1880! I find them thick yet after a few wearings and polishings very supple. Dryness is something I haven't experienced. How many pairs of 1880s have you had?

Color is something I can take care of myself. That's all part of the fun. I don't really want to pay for this.

I have never smelt anything at all plasticky coming from a Loake. They smell like leather to me. Of course leather smell is the oil coming out that fades with time and how strongly they smell of leather will depend on how long they've been stored.

Yes, I think you are right on the weight. Church shoes that I've looked at have been a bit heavier.

I look forward to the pics. It surprises me that you've never actually worn out a pair of dress shoes! :confused:How many years have you been buying your own shoes? :icon_smile_wink:

Once again thanks for the analysis. Really look forward to the photos.
 

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Now Hector. Coin collectors do not actually use their treasures to purchase gumballs from the gumball machine now do they?
So it's about collecting, then? I used to know a really rich guy in London in the 70s who did loads of business with Saudis shortly after oil became worth something. He had a house on the river that had been owned by that British Royal that abdicated and in one of his spare rooms he had a box that was full of really, really expensive shoes. He certainly wore them and never thought about collecting and when they got scuffed he just had one of his servants fling them in that box.
 
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