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Today, we are going to discuss an important topic that people don’t really talk much about, that is shoes from Luxury Fashion houses and their construction.
When I refer to Luxury Fashion houses, I mean brands like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton et al. Brands known more for their clothes with their shoes being secondary.
These brands are expensive to purchase but what are you getting for the price ?
Well I am about to explain it to you.
Lets start with the price. A lot of these shoes start at 500 $ and rise from there. For that price, you could get an Allen Edmonds, a Carmina, a pair of Alden, a pair of Crockett & Jones and maybe two Meermin’s.
What you are paying for is mostly the brand more than the shoe itself. The brand is the value more than the product. That doesn’t reflect poorly on the product though, the product is good and in some cases, the product is really good.
But there are things you should know about the product such as when they say Made in Italy, what this means is that these shoes are either Blake Stitched or are a combination of Blake/Rapid Stitch. Still that does not mean they are of poor quality, If I like the design, I will not hesitate to buy them. Also in my experience. I have never had a problem with water penetrating these shoes and I’ve worn a pair of Prada Oxfords daily for years.
What you should really be worried about is if the shoe on the website simply says Imported, this usually means made in China.
Made in China is a deal breaker mostly because of the quality of raw materials that are used in products made in China, and by raw materials I am referring mostly to their Leather. It can happen that you buy a shoe made in China and it forms the worst kind of creases within three wears. Yes, three wears.
Now when it comes to Blake Stitching, this is the most popular method of shoe construction in Italy and is also the most commonly used by luxury fashion houses. If a product on their website doesn’t say Goodyear Welt Construction, then it’s almost guaranteed they are blake stitched or a combination of blake and rapid stitched.
This isn’t a problem though as most of these shoes can be resoled and most fashion houses will generally provide you with the contact information of trusted resoling services near you if you mail them about it or call their customer service.
In terms of leathers, all the big fashion brands traditionally use Calf leather or patent on most of their products, they might throw in some crocodile leather once in a while but I’d say about 99% of their shoes are Calf or Patent Leather. Calf leather is arguably the most widely sourced leather on the planet for shoemaking.
In terms of creasing, most European made shoes will hold up in terms of leather, but I would highly recommend putting shoe trees in them to preserve the leather. You can get plastic shoe trees at Amazon for as low as 4$ and really, if it gets the job done, that’s what matter most.
Many Luxury Brands do offer Goodyear Welted shoes, I know that Gucci offers some Goodyear Welt shoes in their line of laceups. As does Hugo Boss. But if a shoe does not say Goodyear Welt in the product description, then it isn’t a Goodyear Welt.
Where these brands truly have a quality advantage of their competitors is with their sneakers and drivers, If you live in a medium sized city, you’ve definitely seen many people wearing Louis Vuitton drivers before, this is what they look like.
When it comes to sneakers, I would go Gucci honestly over most other brands, I like some of their designs, their finishes and their leather doesn’t scuff easily. They are expensive though and some of the branding on their shoes is well, lets just say, as subtle as a sledgehammer.
In Conclusion, what I will say is, if you want to buy shoes from Luxury Brands, buy the ones made in Europe or America. Also if you want sneakers or drivers, luxury brands would be my first choice.