Let me introduce myself; My name is Andres, a shoe lover from Bogota, Colombia, who founded a small shoe brand called Bordon. The business was born due to the lack of high-quality footwear in my country (Colombia), so with my colleague, we decided to create a brand that could supply that demand for high-quality shoes at affordable prices.
As a shoe passionate, I'm very interested in founding the best factories worldwide to help us to outsource our footwear. Why? Because our principal goal was to manufacturing Goodyear welted shoes, but due to the lack of Goodyear welted machinery in our country, we decided to do it in Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal; two of the most famous countries in the shoe industry. Once the project began, it was not easy because people in Colombia do not have the knowledge that people from Europe or the United States have. It was hard to start teaching the customer why our shoes were made with this construction, why we chose that last (according to the Colombian feet shape market), etc. Never mind, I do not want to bore you reading about us or how we started, the purpose of this article is to talk a little more about shoe quality and why they are worth it.
What's a high-quality shoe, a good quality shoe, and a lousy quality shoe? Well, it depends on the perspective of the customer; why? Because everyone has a different knowledge regarding the shoe industry. I remember once a customer asked me why my shoes were so expensive? (expensive to him, of course), and immediately I answered him, what do you mean? He said yes, why are your shoes so expensive if there are many other stores "well-known" local stores with years on the market that sell the same for half of the price?
I was slightly disappointed because he was comparing a pair of Goodyear welted shoes (made of high-grade box calf from Du-puy with entire leather sole and blind stitch) with a couple of a cemented mass production shoes (full rubber and heel injected sole with pigmented leather).
Listening to that guy made me think that quality meaning is subjective because everyone judges what they can afford, and if they paid to overprice for this or that product, in most cases, they think that what they are paying for is high quality. Continuing with the story, I decided to face this guy by giving an example of a more generalized topic that I was sure he knew. As everyone knows, many car brands sell in some countries and some not. Why? It depends on many factors like the market, country economy, safety, etc.… so I gave him the example using two commercial brands like Toyota, which is selling around the globe, and Chevrolet, which is selling in most countries as a chevy. Now in context, I asked his opinion about Toyota. He answered me, 'well, Toyota is such a good brand (for Colombia, most of the Toyota models are SUVs and pickups due to the country's topography), and I asked why it is a good brand? To which he responded: “Well, because of their resistance, their durability, their representation, their manufacture is fantastic, their assembly make them perfect for off-road and complex farm work, etc.; I was ok, and what about Chevrolet? (please, Chevrolet owners don't get me wrong about this) he said: "Chevrolet cars are the worst cars I knew because their assembly is super bad, their quality materials become in bad conditions with the time, their suspensions are like crap"…. In general terms, Chevrolet, to him was the worst brand in the world.
Then after listening to his opinion and complaints about those brands, I asked him, "don't you think that the shoes you are wearing, compared to mines that I want you to buy, are in the same conditions as the car brands you were talking about?" Immediately his face was like WTF? Why did you say that? What do you mean?
Well your shoes are almost the same than Chevrolet, you know why?, well the shoes you are wearing has the worst materials you ever saw, their assembly is the worst, it is a cemented shoe with no detail and effort on its construction no more than glue, you cannot even change their soles because will destroy immediately, their leather is the cheapest one you can find in the market, and the sole, well it is just a piece of rubber injected with the shape of a heel and a "leather" sole color; now you know why my shoes are like Toyota?, well starting from the "assembly" they are built literally to last, they are made with one of the best shoe construction methods you can find in the shoe industry, the leather comes from one of the best tanneries around the globe, the sole, is a complete vegetable tanned leather from one of the most well-known sole manufactures around the world, and they are fully resolable, but more than that, is the effort of the artisans who build our shoes are unimaginable, they have more than 300 steps to get what for you is super expensive and crazy to pay for. In the end, he understood and decided to give our shoes a try. Now, he is one of our best clients we can have.
A high-quality shoe, as everyone may know, has a lot of work behind it. It is not just cut the leather, lasted in a machine, stitch the sole, and VOILA; you have a fresh pair of shoes. Mmmh No! The magic behind a high-quality shoe is enormous; every single detail counts, from the design of the last to the way of how you cut the leather. The latest is where your feet will sit, and the leather is what will cover them; it's essential to avoid bad cuts to prevent bad wrinkles or bad brake of the leather, but of course, people who do not know that don't care, because they even not know that every single pair of high-quality shoe has a brake in the period, and especially if they are high-quality boots because they are designed for a different purpose than a shoe.
So at the end of the day, that's why I said quality is subjective because it depends on each customer's perspective; what they can afford and pay for. The example above is the best way to face people without knowledge. This applies to almost every industry. Of course, I bring it into the footwear world because it's the easiest way to explain the quality of a pair of shoes to the customer.
So guys, please, please, before buying a pair of shoes, sneakers, or boots, do research first! Do not buy shoes just because they are made for a fashion brand or a famous one or even though they are in a store located in a mall; buy shoes with knowledge.
Let me know what a high-quality shoe is for you?