What comes to your mind when you want to buy a pair of shoes? What makes you feel more important? Is it price? Is it style? Is it longevity? Is it value?
You can probably find a pair of decent looking shoes for $150 in Australia, but would a pair of $150 shoes justify the price? Is there a value in a pair of shoes like that? The answers could be varied, depends on what you are looking for.
Cheap vs Expensive, I hear people asking a shoe salesman “do you have cheap shoes?”, the salesman replies “what is cheap to you?”. Someone’s cheap could be someone’s expensive, someone’s expensive could be someone’s cheap. Obviously, you should be able to afford without hurting your wallet, you need to be able to comfortably pay for what you buy. People may tell you to buy “Goodyear welted shoes”, but if you are NOT comfortably spending $XXX, then “don’t push yourself to buy them” is my advice. Rather, you should buy 2 or 3 pairs of less expensive shoes and alternate those pairs.
Oxford vs Derby, Black vs Brown, Lace up vs Slip on, If you could afford to buy several pairs, this might not be an issue. However, if you are only after one pair, you might want to stay with a basic style like Black or Brown Oxford.
What is a good life span to you? Some people might expect a pair of shoes to last forever, or some people might understand the real life span should be for what they buy.
First of all, Value is not equal to cheap shoes. Even a pair of shoes only cost $100, they lasted for a couple of weeks, there is no value in my opinion. However, a pair of shoes costs $1000, but would last forever, then you could say these is good value.
In shoes as well, there are 3 categories, “Bespoke”, “Made-to-measure” or/and “Made-to-order” and “Off-the-rack”.
“Bespoke” is something that the artisan makes a last based on the paper pattern he/she made off of your feet. It is very time consuming and of course expensive. For average businessman, I am not sure if it’s worth it.
“Off-the-rack” is obviously something that you can buy and take with you, as long as you see what you like in color or in style, and shoes fit you the way you like. So, in my opinion in anything, if you can find something that fits you the way you like from “Off-the-rack”, I would say “you are lucky”.
However, for the rest of us, we would need to struggle a bit. If you have short and wide feet, since shoe brands don’t stock up different widths that, they would let you try longer sizes, to accommodate the width.
By the time when you feel comfortable in the width, the length would be too long. If you have shallow instep or narrow feet, even regular width might be a bit too big. That's where “Made-to-measure” shoes come in, not only length but have the right width, if the instep of the shoes is too shallow make the instep higher, or even with the right width, sometimes only small toe or big toe hits the side of the shoe and hurts, it can be modified.
“Off-the-rack” suits or shirt can be a bit smaller or a bit bigger, and still wouldn’t hurt you but in shoes it will hurt your feet. That’s why you will need to have the right fit.
Also, you will need to have the stretch factor into consideration. Leather will stretch over time. It won’t be overnight, and depends on how frequent you wear the same shoes, but within a month or 2, leather will stretch and mould onto your feet, so that the initial fit should be a bit snug.
If you prefer not to look after the shoes, and you tend to wear them to death, you might want to buy $150 shoes, and keep buying the similar shoes every 6 months or a year.
If you prefer to look after the shoes, and keep the same pair as you repair the heels and soles, you might want to spend a bit more and get a pair of “Goodyear welted” shoes.
As you may know, you can repair “Goodyear welted” shoes, by replacing worn heels and soles. Shoes are very tricky like I mentioned above, if the fit is not correct they will hurt you.
Because of this reason, you would want to keep your comfortable fitted shoes as long as they could last. The ones you pay $150 for would be glued on sole, possibly “Blake” construction which many Italian brands use for their shoes. This construction could be repaired for a couple of times, but has to be looked after by a skilled cobbler, and even with that it won’t last forever. In my opinion, initial investment might be a bit more, but you might be interested investing into “Goodyear welted” shoes.
When you talk about “Value”, like I mentioned before, “Cheap shoes” doesn’t equal “Value”. At the same time, I don't think the expensive shoes like “Bespoke” shoes have a value either for average businessman.
Please do not assume that the “Bespoke” means “Perfect fit”. Then you may want to say “then what’s the point of spending so much money if it won’t give me the perfect fit?”.
“Bespoke” is about the experience, having a relationship with the tailor. They will be the first ones to tell you “NOT TO ORDER”, if you are not comfortable spending whatever they asking you, or if you are not patient enough like you almost forgot that you have ordered.
We offer “Made-to-measure” Shoes at KAZUNA, where we have 17 sizes in length, 6 sizes in width. Also, some parts of the upper could be modified.
Price is $550+GST for Shoes, and $600+GST for Boots, using Kip leather with “Goodyear welted” construction.
"Kip leather is from cows that are 6 months old to 2 years old, which will give you slightly thicker than Calf leather, but a bit more durable.
Calf leather is from cows that are up to 6 months old, and generally less scars and damages, thin and light."
However, what you need to understand here is that Japanese market tends to use these 2 terms to differentiate the 2 leathers, because the creators as well as consumers are more precise about the definition, but the rest of the world tend to use “Calf leather” for everything regardless of “Kip” or “Calf”, other words as long as the leather is “cow leather” they call it “Calf leather”.
With the “Goodyear welted” construction, there are a few things you cannot physically see go into the shoes. Depends on, the quality of “Cork”, “Shank” and “Rib”, quality of “Stitching” for example.
When you look at the “Price” only, yes, it is a bit more than average shoes from brands like “Aquila” and “Florsheim”.
However, considering it is not “Off-the-rack”, more “size option”, more “style, leather and detail options” with “Goodyear welted” construction, it is about “Value”.