Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The quality of shoes

I mentioned last week that I had bought a pair of Dolce & Gabbana shoes. I wore them for the first time on Thursday. When I got home the leather on the soles was pitted and worn away. I was going to take them back to Harvey Nichols for a refund but first went into my excellent local shoe repairers for an opinion. They told me that the shoes were not designed to be worn before having rubber soles put on them if you were going to wear them in the street, rather than carpet, and if it rained, and that L.K. Bennet shoes apparently contain a warning to have them resoled before wearing them. I said this seemed like something out of Alice and Wonderland, and picking up my £300 Dolce & Gabbana shoes he said, well, you see they use cheap, thin leather.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just shows what suckers we women are, I guess my husband would say! Will you take them back? I would, without doubt.

Fiona S said...

Interesting - my shoe repairer told me that both LK Bennett and Prada use the same thin construction on the soles of shoes. Haven't ssid that I never had problems with LK Bennett shoes (and can't afford Prada unfortunately).
Have shoe designers gone completely mad? Firstly you can't walk in them because they are too high/unstable etc and now it seems you literlly can't walk in them because the soles are rubbish!

Toby Wollin said...

Ah yes, another method for designers to extract even more profit margin from their overpriced goods: Make them in China; make them of cheap materials and in a cheap way, and then unload the whole "quality" issue onto the customer. Sheer genius. Has anyone ever figured the cost of goods sold and margin on designer goods. It must be absolutely huge.

Issie said...

Something similar happened with a pair of Bronx boots a couple of years ago (alas my budget doesn't stretch to Prada!) I had taken them to be re-soled as the "leather" appeared to be disintegrating. The cobbler told me some manufacturers don't use leather on the soles, it's actually a form of cardboard!

mq, cb said...

A cobbler once told me that LK Bennett keeps him in business. He also said that shoes generally don't last as long as they did because very few people polish them any more. Without polish even good quality leather will eventually crack so instead of taking care of them, people bemoan the quality of their weathered shoes, throw them away and buy more. Who still polishes their shoes? In fact, who still remembers the proper way to polish shoes? My father taught me when I was 11 but I can't say that I have dug out my polish kit recently.

My best friend's father always polishes the shoes that he wore that day in the evening before going to bed. He puts this down to the excellent training that he received in the Scouts in the 1950's. They also taught him how to iron a shirt correctly. Judging by the men in my office, most of them don't know how to do that any longer either.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised, but still find this shocking.

(Back in the 80s I wore dancer's jazz shoes and would have rubber soles put on them before I wore them on the street. But, these shoes were not meant to be worn "off the boards".)

I imagine it's not just because thin soles are cheaper that they do it on these high-end shoes, but that the shoes probably look better at first glance.

I can also imagine that wealthy women who regularly buy these shoes already know to take them to the cobbler before wearing on the street and just think of it as part of their exclusive ritual.

Anonymous said...

(that was desertwind... I don't know why Blogger won't accept my registration!)

Deja Pseu said...

That's appalling that they'd fall apart after one wearing at that price. That said, I always take my leather soled shoes in to get rubber half-soles put on before I wear them.

Deja Pseu said...

Who still polishes their shoes? In fact, who still remembers the proper way to polish shoes?

Me, me! Polishing shoes is one of my favorite "chores."

Robin said...

I polish my shoes, too. My father the Naval officer wouldn't have had it any other way! And I iron (with starch) my hankies.

But it's true that these are dying arts -- one of the young women who works for me wears shoes that are so scuffed they look like do-it-yourself suede! I've dropped hints -- subtle and otherwise -- but it seems to have no impact. I think she figures that since she buys them at consignment shops, it doesn't matter if she takes care of them or no. Horrible!

Princess Poochie said...

I buy a good deal of "nice" shoes (and I'm no sucker, thanks) but my husband cannot complain. Because I take very good care of my nice things. You can see them on my site and see that, even though they they are 5+ years old, they are in great condition.

You have to take care of your nice things.

Luv
Poochie

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I bought a pair of Dolce and Gabbana shoes and couldn't wear them again after one wearing because of the sheer discomfort--and they were flats!! I always can rely on Prada shoes to be comfortable. Too bad about yours--how disheartening.

Jen said...

These types of fancy shoes are intended for individuals that walk on carpet all the time.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your very interesting article in the The Weekend Australian magazine April 19-20 entitled High Hopes. How on earth do women walk in these high heels.? They truly have become ridiculous and I would imagine very dangerous. Watch out for twisted ankles and ongoing foot problems. I also went looking for a new pair of shoes and could find nothing between flat and skyscraper height. I am still looking. Why do women go along with these silly fashion trends.? I say boycott these higher than high heel shoes for a more sensible, yet still elegant shoe.
Bev B.

Gigi said...

I'm sorry I did see this post so late, but I'd like to leave a comment on it, I'm working in fashion shoes' manufacture in Italy since 29 years, and I have to say that D&G shoes as many other high fashion brands are made with the best components is possible, of course need the rubber sole to preserve the integrity of the shoes for any situation but fashion design sometime cannot meet all this.

I think there is a big misunderstanding here, may be most of the people ignore and doesn't really know , what is a good shoe.

I'm sorry to see all this on such a nice web site...