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Thread: "Budget" oxfords

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by batkins9 View Post
    Do you think that some of that might be price perception? I have two pair of AE shoes, one pair of Jack Erwin, and three pairs of Velasca shoes. Comparing them, I don't notice a demonstrable difference in the leather quality, though I admit that I am not a leather expert (and I suspect most people aren't either).

    AE shoes are priced at $400, but go down into the mid to low $200s a few times a year. One of the pairs I have was on sale for $197 first quality (I got them at $245 because I didn't think they'd drop further), which tells me that AE at full sticker is an inflated price that gives the impression of higher quality.

    AE is not a charity, they wouldn't offer that price if they were taking a loss on every sale. Which means they could sell at $200 or $250 and still make a profit. They sell higher because they can based on their heritage brand. They definitely make a good product and they have incredibly loyal customers. That doesn't mean places like Jack Erwin and other online shoemakers are turning out bad shoes just because they aren't AE.
    My brother-in-law asked me to help him pick out a few pair of shoes a few months ago. I own a ton of AE (and Carlos Santos, Crockett Jones, etc) so the first choice was a pair of Carlyle from the shoebank. I had heard great things about Jack Erwin but had never owned a pair, so a pair of their captors was my second recommendation. Both of us commented about the leather of the Jack Erwin’s being only okay vs the AE. I am obviously a shoe guy and he is not, yet we came to the same conclusion. He travels often and gets his shoes shined at the airport. He has mentioned that the AE look better the the Jack Erwin after each get a shine.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by batkins9 View Post
    Do you think that some of that might be price perception? I have two pair of AE shoes, one pair of Jack Erwin, and three pairs of Velasca shoes. Comparing them, I don't notice a demonstrable difference in the leather quality, though I admit that I am not a leather expert (and I suspect most people aren't either).

    AE shoes are priced at $400, but go down into the mid to low $200s a few times a year. One of the pairs I have was on sale for $197 first quality (I got them at $245 because I didn't think they'd drop further), which tells me that AE at full sticker is an inflated price that gives the impression of higher quality.

    AE is not a charity, they wouldn't offer that price if they were taking a loss on every sale. Which means they could sell at $200 or $250 and still make a profit. They sell higher because they can based on their heritage brand. They definitely make a good product and they have incredibly loyal customers. That doesn't mean places like Jack Erwin and other online shoemakers are turning out bad shoes just because they aren't AE.
    I agree with you, price and brand plays a huge part in our perception of quality. I think in general forums are best to get ideas and see fits in action, but not so good for getting objective evaluations of product quality unless you know and trust the person's judgment. As you pointed out, we're not leather experts. Without formal training or being hands on with leather across the quality spectrum, the lack of experience means we often fall back on what we've heard other people say which leads to groupthink. Add the fact that there's variation in what a company produces (some shoes will be better than others, so unless you have a ton of shoes you probably don't know what the average quality is), and it becomes extremely difficult to accurately tease out smaller differences in quality.

    All that to say that trying to figure out whether AE, Meermin, Jack Erwin, BS, Carmina, etc. is objectively the best is probably a useless exercise, but that's not going to stop me from talking out my ass and doing it anyway.

  3. #13
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    @Token @batkins9:

    I agree, too, about assessment of leather quality and brand quality in general. But I wouldn't think it follows from the fact that AE is not a charity that it never sells items at a loss. Sometimes companies have to cut their losses on a product rather than let it keep sitting on the shelves and so as to clear out space for new items. They don't do that out of the goodness of their heart but for business reasons. I'm sure that point isn't reached at $200-$250, but it might be at $110, which is what I paid for my Dundee 2.0. At any rate, I don't think they are making much profit on a $110 sale. A few years ago, then AE chief executive Paul (?) Grangaard claimed in an AMA that Strands cost them about $100 to make. That might well include all sorts of stocking costs. And the Strand must cost more than the Dundee, because: a) leather is more expensive than suede, b) it's a higher quality shoe, c) the brogue detail might be somewhat costly, but on the other hand, d) it's a wheelhouse shoe so they make many more of them and there are economies of scale. [Hence AE's non-shoe or belt products are ridiculously inflated. My wife was looking at their catalog half an hour ago and pointed out that $700 for a cotton mac is far more expensive than $425 for dress shoes. Similar things apply to SuitSupply's subsidiary products, which are far more expensive for what they are than are their suits and sport coats].

    P.S. Token, I love the new Carmina and will write a fuller report, too. Also love the new Red Wings, which are a totally different beast but fit another box I was seeking to fill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Token View Post
    All that to say that trying to figure out whether AE, Meermin, Jack Erwin, BS, Carmina, etc. is objectively the best is probably a useless exercise, but that's not going to stop me from talking out my ass and doing it anyway.
    Haha, that's fair and I can agree with you on that. Subjective opinion is great so long as people aren't asserting it as objective fact.

    @srlclark, Yes! That's the point I'm trying to make. So many people argue that $200 shoes are crap reasoning that a quality shoe can't be made for that price. According to the former CEO of AE, they could make one of their most popular shoes for around $100. So, the retail price is usually designed to achieve a perception. New online retailers are working around that trend to offer good quality shoes without as much markup. It's unfortunate that traditionalists are so quick to try to knock down those businesses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by batkins9 View Post
    Yes! That's the point I'm trying to make. So many people argue that $200 shoes are crap reasoning that a quality shoe can't be made for that price. According to the former CEO of AE, they could make one of their most popular shoes for around $100. So, the retail price is usually designed to achieve a perception. New online retailers are working around that trend to offer good quality shoes without as much markup. It's unfortunate that traditionalists are so quick to try to knock down those businesses.
    It's true that selling direct to consumer takes out the middle parties which in this case are distributors, wholesalers, and retailers.

    Even though filling individual orders and accepting returns incurs overhead that is not part of shipping pallets, it is minor compared to manufacturing costs.

    As I understand it, materials are about half the cost of goods sold for dress shoes with the remainder being mostly direct labor. Jack Erwin doesn't own their own production, so they have to pay for the profit of the shoe factory itself as well as make their own profit. This comes out to a better deal than buying at a shoe store, but each minor increase in materials cost will still flow up to the final cost of the shoes as a multiple of that cost. That is, if they used $20 better leather, we'd pay $40 or $50, not an extra $20. Granted, for a shoe that goes through the retail model, we'll end up paying $80 for that leather.

    I get this and agree there is price perception where people may think product X is better than product Y simply because it costs more. With shoes, this can sometimes result in cheap heels that go clonk-clonk-clonk being sold at the same retail price as better ones that don't.

    I don't think JE leather on the uppers compares favorably to AE, Alden, Carmina, Carlos Santos, etc. in roughly the 2X retail price paid by consumer. I'm sure if JE used better leather, their shoes wouldn't need to be sold for $400. But, there would be some added cost.

    My only reason for bringing up the price was to say that other $200 retail shoes I have purchased have had worse leather quality than JE... I should have been way more specific. Sorry about that.
    Last edited by ianr; March 11th, 2018 at 02:14 PM.

  6. #16
    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Nordstrom has these AE on sale, not my favorite style, but on sale for $240

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/allen-e...PriceLowToHigh

    These are nicer on sale at the AE website for $197:


    https://www.allenedmonds.com/outlet/...Black&start=14


    I love all my AE shoes. $197 is a great deal.

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    You can get Johnston & Murphy for reasonable price, and although they aren't AE, they are SOLID for the price. You could do far worse, I say

  8. #18
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    Here, this is a shoe that is good quality and only $145.

    https://www.herringshoes.co.uk/produ...tryId=44&gpl=1

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    Quote Originally Posted by stylenutt View Post
    I am in need of a pair of black oxfords. They would not get a lot of wear so I don't want to drop $ for some AE or similar. I was thinking around $200, so my search has brought me to Jack Erwin or Beckett Simonon.

    They both seem well reviewed, so for those of you with experience with them, how do they compare? One brand better than the other? Any other recommendations?
    I was in the same boat, wanting some black oxford but probably not going to wear them a lot. I just grabbed some near new AE Park Aves for $75 on eBay. If you know your size and can be a little patient, you can get great deals on eBay


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    AE at shoebank.com. I have bought several pair here, and the flaws are very minor, and some I can't even tell what they are.

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