The Shoe Snob Blog

December 19, 2012

Written by , Posted in News

It’s Official….Church’s Are A Fashion Label

Just because a shoe company can make a good shoe, does not make them a great company if the majority of the stuff that they are peddling is rubbish. I came across these shoes the other day and I just felt horrified by the vulgarity of them all. They are pure fashion rubbish……all things that people looking to be coolest on the block with the latest fashion trends drowning their entire being while thinking about the next trend to follow. It’s been awhile since I have went on a rant, and these shoes by Church’s have made me realize that I need to open the ranting back up. This stuff is just pure garbage and it’s sad that such a company with a prestigious history in good shoemaking could wind up making these monstrosities that make me cringe. What classically stylish man would wear shoes with rivets on them? NONE….So if that is the case, how can a shoe company that puts rivets on their shoes be classically stylish? It cannot….therefore, Church’s, a one time great shoe company, has now officially fallen into the fashion category, producing shoes that are intended for one-time catwalk use, not for everyday business wear. I know, I know….they still make a business shoe, but they are considerably overpriced for what you get. Bookbinder leather at 330? Nonesense….I can at least understand Loake using bookbinder, as their shoes are closer to the 200 range, but for anything more and the customer is just being ripped off……

How appalling…..If you wear Church’s….you need to switch to Crockett & Jones now….

  • Anonymous

    Classic shoes still make up most of their shelves. I assume most of the shoes you pictured will disappear in months, they are either seasonal or limited editions.

    Anyway. As a buyer of Church’s City line I will ask: what alternatives do you recommend in the 200 to 300 pounds range? I look for durability and high quality in-house service (I don’t want to take my shoes to third party repair shops).

  • Moi

    I’m with you on this one!

    Bloody clown shoes.

  • Jonathan

    Great rant. I walk past their shop every day at the royal exchange and over this year I’ve noticed their offering getting worse and worse. The stupid part is if you’re going to start making fashion shoes at least make them things people want to wear!

  • Anonymous

    I think really you should look at Crockett and Jones, same sort of history in shoe-making but they are still a family owned business and still make classic English shoes.

    • ToL

      Well, they don’t. Their most shoes are French styled. Most lasts are narrow and elongated.

  • Anon1 – Can’t say that I agree with that in all honesty…the more that I see their windows and shelves, the more that I see non-classic shoes….green and blue bookbinder leather shoes, riveted shoes, shoes that look pre-worn etc….they won’t disappear unfortunately because Church’s is no longer British owned…they are owned by Prada, a fashion company, the worst of them!

    At 275, which is the pricepoint of the city line, I would either go for Barker or Cheaney, which both have calf-skin options and are fully leather lined. The city shoes use cheap plastic-like leather and are not even fully lined. That’s a big rip off at 275 my friend…just saying because I care….

    Moi – indeed!

    Jonathan – worse and worse….couldn’t agree more…

    Anon2 – Not sure what you are saying here…I know C&J very well and they make a great shoe….that’s why I was telling people to switch FROM Church’s TO Crockett & Jones…

    -Justin

  • Anonymous

    somebody must like all this sort of stuff .. otherwise why would they insist on making it?

    i quite like the look of the ‘shaghai’ with an antique brown leather/creme linen .. but was taken aback at the 550 quid price mark .. for a made in italy blake stiched rubber soled shoe?! wtf! BIG YOURS TO CHURCHES > C&J OK I RECKON BUT GO J LOBB/G&G for the real deal i reckon..recession or no recession.

    anand

  • Anonymous

    This is great for you justin.

    At the end of the day the only downside (not that is necessarily a down side but bear with me) of your shoes are they are not English made…. But when some houses in England are throwing out this sort of rubbish and a 275 loake quality shoe, and yours are quality leather with a channeled sole and a waste then where would the sensible money go… Yours..

    For 275 cheaney make a wonderful range and for a little more a c&j pair. And they are a company proud of who they are and what they make… I should know the manager in the jermyn street branch tells me 5 times every time I’m in there.9

  • Anonymous

    I have just read that back. Awful spelling and gramma. I blame typing on the iPad.

  • Anonymous

    i def agree with you justin but you do realize now they’re now owned by prada group right???? prada….hint hint….designer company…haha

    it is very sad situation for churchs i agree…we are going to see more and more of this coming along their lines in the future…

    great blog btw justin! big fan!

  • Anonymous

    The man is angry, I can feel the “hate” in his typing. But got agree with you those shoes are ridiculous but people may wear them in the USA.

  • Anonymous

    I shook my head in disbelief as I looked at those photos. Church’s clearly have lost their way. These products belong in a circus.

    The problem is their owners – Prada – a fashion house who have no understanding of the shoe company they bought and appear happy to encourage it to produce this rubbish. They should stick to making overpriced handbags and whatever else they do and allow Church’s to get back to what they were renowned for, producing some of the best shoes in the RTW market. This is what happens when great companies with a rich history get taken over by ones on the make.It tends to end in tragedy because of ignorance and greed. And possibly a dose of stupidity as well. Mike.

  • Alex B

    All quite right. They still make some decent shoes, but it’s hard to justify the price against the competition now. They’ve been cost-cutting on materials and streamlining on production, and it shows. Which is all fine, but you can’t charge 500 for it. Even their cheapest are 350-ish at normal retail, just above benchgrade C&J. So unless there’s a bargain in a sale and it’s not one of the polished binder types, it’s just not worth it in comparison any more.

    The anon above is right about Cheaney, in my opinion. There are plenty (including some more original styles they make for Herring) at around 250 or less normal price, that are easily comparable to Church’s now.

    I’ve nothing against bold design, but sadly you’re right, Justin: there’s a difference between bold style and tacky “fashion”. And this stuff no longer strikes the balance.

  • Anonymous

    the thing is that they still have some very classic designs ..the chetwynd (classic brogue), westbury (single monk) and grafton (double soled wingtip derby which is tank like in build) all come to mind. These designs are just perfect, not pretty but substantial classic english shoes which look perfect under english tailored clothing, no flash but v elegant imo. as for build quality i have no idea how they compare to their shoes of yesteryear (sure justin has a good view on this from looking at old pairs vs new ones his customers bring in) .. BUT those shoes mentioned look better than any of the direct competitor shoes from C&J (I own several but they are quite pointy lasts if that makes sense & benchgrade have issues which i have raised with justin before).

    anand

  • Anonymous

    Hi justin,

    well said that man! I recently visited Jermyn Street for the first time. I almost didn’t go into the Church’s shop due to the unappealing, clunky and dated looking shoes in the window. Once inside, the quality of workmanship was evident but I did not test the quality of the leather. I did go into C&J’s to check out a pair I was interested in and bought a pair of lovely shoes. In contrast to Church’s, many of their lasts are slim looking so tend to favour the narrower foot. Many of their shoes are only available in width ‘E’ for example.
    I thought that the Church brothers now worked/owned Cheaney? Cheaney do make a lot of fashion orientated shoes though; but not to the same ridiculous extent as Church’s are forced to do.
    Cheers & Merry Christmas
    Tony

  • Snapper

    Justin,

    How are the mighty fallen!

    Regards,
    Snapper

  • Alex B

    Tony – “E” is medium for C&J, as opposed to Church, Cheaney, Barker, Loake and many others who use “F” for medium. G&G use “E” for medium, as do Edward Green, John Lobb, and some American upstart called J Fitzpatrick.

    Easy to get confused – I got a “G” from C&J thinking is was wide, when it’s extra wide.

    I think those slender lasts are typical of a lot of the better English makers. Cheaney have some sleek lasts for their fancier shoes too.

    You’re right the Church family members now run Cheaney. Cheaney was taken over by Church’s a while ago, but remained independent after the Prada takeover. I find their shoes to be very good value.

  • Anonymous

    I think that the last real Church’s are dated 1994 after that nothing.

    In Italy wearing Church meant something…we understood that and we changed for EGren, Alden. Crockett and Jones and even Allen Edmonds were better.

    Of course today G&G are the best!

    Buon Natale

    http://www.thedapperslowth.com

  • Anand – Of course someone must like it, just like all of the other crap produced in this world that gets purchased….

    Anon1 – it is good for my brand…the more that Church’s looses their classic customer, the more opportunity I have to gain a new one…still sad at the end of the day though that a company with such great heritage and who made such brilliant shoes before has turned into what it is now….

    Anon2 – Glad that you enjoy the blog!! I did know that they were owned by Prada but in reality that should not change things…John Lobb is owned by Hermes and they don’t make anything shy of spectacular.

    Anon3 – 🙂 not so much angry….just disgusted!

    Mike – well said….while I am not the biggest fan of the fashion houses in general, of them, Prada has to be my least favorite…

    Alex B – thanks for sharing

    Anand – agree with you on the classics that they still make, but can’t say that any of them look or are better than a C&J….maybe 20 years ago, but not since then….

    Tony – Thanks for sharing Tony! Yes, the Church family now own Cheaney, you are right there. I too favor C&J. I hope that you too had a Merry Christmas!

    Snapper – 🙂 all empires come to an end…..

    Alex B – E, F, G mean nothing in reality. It’s just a label. My shoes are definitely wider than a G&G, but I still think that they are an E fitting, definitely not an F, which I consider to be wide. However, many firms here stock F as their medium fit as English people “on average” tend to have a wide forefoot and therefore need the extra space upfront…..

    Roberto – Thanks for sharing e Buon Natale!

    -Justin

    • Anonymous

      I am sorry to say that Church shoes are better than ever yes they are Prada now but this is the best design in theworld
      And I am afraid to say most if the comments here are stuck in the past zzzzz…
      Sorry this comment comes from someone who sold Lobbs and made to measure move on folks wake up don’t be boring all your life

  • Anon – You don’t need to be sorry, it’s just your opinion….we all have our own…and believe me, I am definitely not stuck in the past. Metal studs on shoes or the use of metallic colors just are attractive by any means…

    -Justin

  • Jim

    Your lack of business knowledge tells in your article. The comapny and Evan the world are every changing

    • TheShoeSnob

      clearly it does not….there is a big difference between keeping up with the times and changing a company’s culture 180 degrees. Edward Green has done a good job of keeping up with the times by offering more unique models, things of color and models that they would not have done 20 years ago. Putting rivets on shoes and making metallic shoes in a brand whose founder would have probably rather died than see this on his shoes is completely disregarding the company’s history and reputation, not to mention disregarding the customers that stood by the brand for generations, just to see it be turned into a fashion brand….maybe you should think about it a bit more, in an unbiased manner…..

  • jay

    what’s the name of the boots?

  • Sami Al Suwaidi

    Shoe Snob, I am torn between buying a pair of Church’s Dubai OR a pair
    of C&J Connaught…which one do you recommend and why?

    • Alex

      I bought pair of Church’s Lanark – they are amazing, Dubai was also considered to buy. Some of Church’s still looks and made classic