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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.
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.
 

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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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I have two pairs of Loakes (Durham and Aldwych). I've been buying all-leather dress shoes for about 20 years, since I decided to wear a suit to work every day. Before that I bought mostly casual rubber-soled shoes. I have about 20 pairs of good dress shoes in rotation. The oldest of these, a pair of Church's monks, have had three sets of Topys and new heels, but the uppers and linings are in perfect condition. They have stretched a bit though...
 

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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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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 have had around half a dozen pairs of 1880's. I departed company with the last pair only a couple of months ago. I have heels that tend to rub the inner leather lining and eventually, the lining will completely wear away. This is not a poor fitting issue in the usual sense, I have been told I have a condition called 'African heel'. The point is I can confirm Leather Man's claim; having actually worn the inner lining away, the heel stiffeners in 1880's are plastic.

Whilst I feel Loakes offer a good shoe for the money, I would concur with others that Church's really are worth the extra. Beyond this level, the law of diminishing returns become significant.

Church's (on their second sole)


Loake 1880 (on their original sole with sole stitching fully intact i.e not much wear)
 

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Legate & Norwich if I'm not mistaken JJL5000?

My compliments on the Church's, those look superb!

I've ordered a couple of pairs of Norwich as it's being discontinued on the 029 last, a favourite of mine.
 

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Legate & Norwich if I'm not mistaken JJL5000?

My compliments on the Church's, those look superb!

I've ordered a couple of pairs of Norwich as it's being discontinued on the 029 last, a favourite of mine.
Thanks Groover. Your quite right!

Just picked up a pair of Tasmania in Black Calf :icon_cheers:
Congrats :icon_smile:
 

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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.
Exeter, Durham, Thames i will keep an eye out for. Im not to precious or is it pretencious when it comes to wearing shoes. As long as they look good and are comfortable that is my main worries.
Ive got a pair of clarkes derby type shoe that i wear mostly and they cost about £25 and i have to say they are so comfortable. I am trying to wear them out before wearing my 771b Loakes again. WHich ive only worn about 10 times in 5 years.
 

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Do those of you who own Loake 1880s and Church's find the same difference in sizing as me? I take a Church's size 8.5 but a Loake size 8 - a good half size difference. Oh, and there is indeed a lump of plastic in the heels of my 1880s - well disguised.

The question of where the law of diminishing returns becomes critical is an interesting one. This is bound to be very subjective, and obviously depends on resources and priorities. Church's being roughly double the price of Loakes 1880, I can understand people stopping at Loakes. 1880s cost only about 50% more than rubbish. Also, when you start moving up the ladder it's difficult to climb down again! I'd say if you're a fairly conservative, suit-wearing sort of person, then Loake 1880 are the cheapest shoes that won't let you down socially or professionally and you won't be thoroughly disappointed with (plastic heels notwithstanding... though if I'd known...)
 

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Rich - You're right about the perils of climbing up the ladder! When I statrted posting here I had heard about C&J shoes, and they became the Holy Grail of shoes for me. When I finally got a pair, I was convinced that they were the best pair I'd ever had - there was no way I would ever accept less.

Then I tried EG. The 202 last fit me perfectly - the best arch support I had ever experienced in any shoe. My Chelseas won me over to the dark side, and now I've bought another pair (different colour). I dare not go further. :p
 

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I dare not go further. :p
Hmm... we'll see!

Incidentally, I've just inspected another pair of Loakes I have, the Dainite-soled Badminton wing-tip brogue. They too have a plastic layer in the heel, and what appears to be a plastic welt strip! They also have part-cloth lining, and the uppers are a bit stiff. Good value for money for a pair of gardening shoes, yes. Just acceptable as casual wear.
 

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Hmm... we'll see!

Incidentally, I've just inspected another pair of Loakes I have, the Dainite-soled Badminton wing-tip brogue. They too have a plastic layer in the heel, and what appears to be a plastic welt strip! They also have part-cloth lining, and the uppers are a bit stiff. Good value for money for a pair of gardening shoes, yes. Just acceptable as casual wear.
I have considered Badminton as a pair for knocking about with the boys down the pub on a saturday, BUT, I know Church's Grafton is waiting in the background.....hmm:devil:
 
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