Dear Readers,

If you are reading this text, that means that you are on the old version of my blog. I have changed platforms and am now using Wordpress. You can find the updated version of my site at:

www.theshoesnobblog.com

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Downfall Of Church's Shoes



Ever since the Prada group purchased English footwear brand, Church's, there continuously seems to be a steady decline in quality, integrity and style, almost as if Prada is turning Church's into a fashion company, much like Prada itself. I don't understand this, as the old saying goes, "don't fix something that isn't broken," and Church's were not broken, at least not in integrity....They used to make a lovely shoe, one that used good leather, could last you nearly a lifetime, and held it's classic yet fundamental values of making a great English-made shoe. These days, I just can't seem to say that I feel that this is still the motto. Now, it's like, 'what trend can we tackle next?' Sometimes it works, like this SS2012 collection with all of their colored suede loafers. That was a brilliant idea. Classic with a subtle twist. But camouflage on the soles? Really? That's so in style with the fashion houses right now, but not something that I would expect to see being done by +100 year old classic shoe company. They are meant to live out style....not follow trends that won't last. As stupid as it may sound, sometimes I actually feel sad that a company with such a great heritage, seems to be loosing all of its history, through bad decisions by people who don't actually care about what it took to create this name, a name that was synonymous with good shoes, but only seem intent on tearing it down. What a shame....
 

Pictures Courtesy Of: The Shoe Buff





20 comments:

  1. Prada is Italian for "overpriced and overrated". Personally loath that brand. You have to be anorexic to fit in their clothes.

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  2. Hi all,
    Strangely enough, since Prada took over Church I haven't read a single sentence about the old English shoemaker that sounds reassuring. No matter what it is thought about Prada. More strangely, the guys out there seem not to bother at all. Adamantly, they stay their course! Presumably, they must have new customers who are found of their new products.

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  3. Justin,

    This is along the lines of A&F ruining Savile Row. Another nail in the coffin of " Great Britain"

    Regards,
    Snapper

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  4. Justin,

    I concur, there is some good, but mostly bad. I believe the proper term for a few of the pictured shoes (camo soles and the multi color chunky 'thing') would be 'rock bottom'...

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  5. Anon - You are right...but then again, most men aren't that educated when it comes to shoes and will to continue to buy a brand because of the heritage no matter how much their quality declines...I have seen this in other industries as well...this is the power of branding...and the stupidity of people...

    Snapper - Too true...even as an American, I cringe at the thought of A&F on the Row and any other brand that could possibly tarnish such a great history and a street full of people that grafted for years to become who they are... such a shame....

    Justin - indeed....

    -Justin

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  6. Justin, i understand what you're saying but i don't see the problem. Church's are attempting to attract the 'fashion' crowd with their new designs.

    As long as they continue to produce classics along with the new 'fashion' shoes then what's wrong with that?

    Can you qualify your statement about the decline in quality any further? I'm assuming you haven't bought a pair of the 'fashion' shoes so isn't that quite a broad stroke to make on them?

    @Snapper - i think you're a tad over the top. If one store can nail the coffin in Great Britain then surely it wasn't that great to begin with.

    Ari

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  7. Ari - I don't know how much exposure you have to their shoes, but I see them almost everyday. Their classics are no longer what they used to be. They try to keep the design classic, but I have seen the shape of their new lasts, and they are trendy, using book binder (cheap & glossy) leather and are doing more than trying to attract the fashion crowd. They are turning it into a fashion brand. In the window of one of their stores here they have a full brogue that has spikes in each brogue....that's excessive (and something that Prada does), and not something a "classic" brand would ever do. Also you forget that I am shining other peoples shoes all of the time, and yes while I have not purchased any of their shoes as of current, I am constantly being exposed to them, and the decline in quality that I see and touch.... I say these things because I used to be a big fan, as they made one of the nicest full brogues of all time (that they don't do anymore) and i find it a shame to see where it has gone. I don't take stabs just for the sake of it, and don't say that someone's brand has declined in quality unless i have seen it, felt it and experienced it.

    -Justin

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  8. Just wondering, what exactly is the drop in quality?
    I'm looking into buying a quality shoe and those with the extended toes just don't do me well. Church's is just so classic and functional.

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  9. Victorpo - mainly the excessive use of that glossy leather that in my humble opinion is just not good for high quality dress shoes....it cheapens them and does not age well. Also, the lasts....they have become increasingly unshaped and disproportionate....don't get me wrong, they still make some nice classic shoes, but they are not focusing on those anymore...since Prada has taken over, for me it looks as if they are trying to fashion-ize the Church's brand....

    -Justin

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  10. If old cheap idiots like the less than gentleman who wrote this ridiculous series of paragraphs actually purchase more than a few pairs of shoes expecting them to last their ancient lifetimes, houses such as Church could remain in the black. Prada rescued this house from almost certain annihilation. I for one am very happy they did.

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  11. Anon - less than gentleman huh?

    That very well may be, but I hope that you know that with this comment left here, you fall into the same category....

    and even if what you said about Prada helping Church's financially, it does not change the fact that they have started to change the integrity of the company by creating cheaper products that are higher in price, than is justifiable, as well as create shoes that I am positive that don't fall into the category of classic shoes, as they were so known for.....

    Just because you seem to be a fan of Church's, as I was too, doesn't mean you have to take offense to what I write about with regards to the takeover....opinions my friend...we all have them

    -Justin

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  12. I remember seing my best friend wearing his father's Church's Chelsea boots back when I was still going to College in the late eighties in Paris. Church's was for me a symbol of quality, craftmanship and timeless style, last winter I finally purchased my first pair of Chelsea boots at the Madison Store in New York City, I was convinced that they would last me a lifetime.
    After four months of wearing them a couple of times a week to go to work, I noticed the heel of the left shoe starting to crack, all along the sole I noticed similar little crevices, after inspection the leather seemed to me really thin and I noticed two little rips on the front of one shoe. I deciced to put them away until I had time to take them to the Store, when I did a few months later they looked at the shoes and then simply told me "well looks like you worn them out". The manager came out and confirmed their diagnostic. I would never get the chance to lend them one day to my childen, all it took was one New York winter!

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  13. Looks like it is Alden or Allen Edmonds for business shoes now. I have had Testoni but they do not wear as well. I had had a pair of Church's wingtips for 14 years but they finally wore out last year. Sad to see a classic British shoe bite the dust under the Prada stewardship.

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  14. Hi Justin,

    It is just another brand living on reputation. This will work for a while but as others have found (Mercedes being a good example) once the drop in quality becomes well known, customers will go elsewhere.
    Had my first visit to Jermyn Street last summer and almost didn't go into Church's due to the poor display in the window. Nothing but heavy, clumpy and old-fashioned looking shoes (not the same as 'classic') on show. Further down the street, it was a different story at Crockett & Jones. Lovely window display and incredible shoes inside. Half an hour later, walked out with a pair of chestnut Finsbury brogues.
    Cheers
    Tony

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  15. AdG - That is too bad my friend....i am sorry to hear it...thanks for sharing though....

    Anon - it is sad to see it happen....they were once a great brand...

    Tony - C&J definitely take the cake or British makers at that price point....

    -Justin

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  16. AdG - That is too bad my friend....i am sorry to hear it...thanks for sharing though....

    Anon - it is sad to see it happen....they were once a great brand...

    Tony - C&J definitely take the cake or British makers at that price point....

    -Justin

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  17. my reply to Church´s topic.
    It is true that ever since prada took over, things haven´t been looking to good.
    I work with church´s on a daily basis, and one thing i have learned is, that if you buy classic models, last 173, Consul, Chetwynd, Ryder etc. you will have no problems.
    I have 10 pairs and only the ones with the 173 Last, lasts.

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    Replies
    1. I have just come across 5 pairs of pre Prada new in box Churchs shoes and I have to say they are pure quality, they are size 5 however and too small for me anyone got any suggestions on a purchaser for these beauties?

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    2. anon1 - I would say that that is quite accurate.. thanks for your input...

      Anon2 - what a find, just too bad they are so small!! EBAY!!! you will sell them mostly likely to a japanese guy quickly! or maybe Style Forum's buying and selling thread

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