My leather shoe collection consists of bespoke and made to measure shoes mainly, and I can have hard time relating to ready to wear shoes. That could sound snobbish or ridiculous, I know, but I tend to imagine, how my feet will demolish those fine shapes, how my heels will slide around, and how the instep will squeeze my upper foot, when I contemplate ready to wear shoes.
Others are lucky. They have feet, which fit ready to wear shoes well, and they shouldn’t bother with bespoke. There are so many ready to wear options out there, and the price is more fun.
Rivolta shoes could be shoes to consider, if you are in ready to wear camp. Rivolta is an old shoemaker firm in Milan, which is now more of a shoe brand. I visited their stand in Pitti Uomo, and I saw very classic shoes there, yet more refined in my view than the usual English goodyear welted shoes from Northampton. I believe the price lies a little above Crockett & Jones shoes.
Photos: The Journal of Style
They are aesthetically pleasing no doubt.
However, there seems to be a preponderance of ‘blake-stitching’,ipso facto, the question of durability. YMMV though.
This issue is almost religious in nature. I myself grew up with this assumption, but the truth is that the difference between “Goodyear” and “Blake-Rapid” (the strongest Blake model) is moderate. Both types can be repaired and are durable. If the shoe is heavily used outdoors in a wet climate, you should select “Goodyear”. In all other cases, one can safely let the design that you want, determine the method.
As you say, it is ‘religious’ and of course is somewhat of a blanket statement as not all blake-stitched shoes are delicate fripperies. However, based on my personal experience and education it is not a mere ‘assumption’.
In an ideal world we would all have hand-welted bespoke shoes crafted by hands of skilled monks atop a mountain of pasture-fed, unadultered topside cattle from which we could obtain the fine leather, but we can’t all afford that.
Personally, where i can , i prefer the Cucitura Doppia, or double-stitch construction (seeing as i can neither justify nor afford bespoke) which is practised by an Italian shoe house.