Italian vs American | Which Dress Shoes Are Superior?

Italian vs American | Which Dress Shoes Are Superior?

Italian vs American Which Dress Shoes Are
Superior [0:00:00]
All right gents, we’ve got a five-round fight between Italian and American shoes. Are you ready? Let’s get into it. In the green, white, and red corner, we’ve
got Italian style shoes weighing in at almost 5.6 oz. These shoes are known throughout the world
for their style, for their elegance, for their [0:00:26][inaudible] which is effortless style
that they signal. Now over in the red, white, and blue corner,
we’ve got American style shoes weighing in at 8 oz. American style shoes are known for their practicality,
their ruggedness, their usefulness. What’s going on here guys? We’ve got some unexpected visitors. Looks like the English are going to be siding
with the American; very similar in built and many of the characteristics. We are going to find that the English are
going to line up right behind the Americans. All right, gentlemen, let’s have a clean
fight. No water. No salt and no scuffing below the belt. Ready? Let’s get into this. In round 1, gentlemen, we’re going to focus
in on the leather specifically the leather in the upper part of the shoe. So let’s see what the Italians bring to
the table. What I see here is a beautiful calf skin,
grade 1. Now grade 1 if you understand grades in comes
to cow hides grade 1 is only 13% of the hide. Grade 2 is going to be 30% of the hide. So understand grade 1 and grade 2 are the
most common for the high end dress shoes and they are less than half of an entire cow hide. Now what we’re going to see in grade 1 that’s
over in the lower back portion of the cow hide there are going to be less blemishes. It’s also going to be some of the most dense,
water resistant. We’re going to see – basically it is the
crème of the crop. It is the best. Grade 2 we sometimes do see some blemishing
in there and definitely in grade 3 and grade 4. But this right there sets apart. In addition, it’s a calf skin. So calf skin versus a fully grown cow. What we’re going to see is the calf skin
is going to have a thinner built, a thinner leather. It’s going to also still very dense. It’s going to be very soft. So it is highly sought after. Now let’s talk about the thickness of the
upper. Usually on a calf skin we’re going to see
anywhere from 4-6 oz. on the thickness. That’s’ about 2mm. Now if they have an inner lining that’s
going to be 0.4 mm so about one extra ounce in here. Bu generally Italian shoes on the upper are
going to be thinner, are going to be basically very soft and are going to use high quality
leather. Next stop let’s talk about the Americans. What leather are they bringing into the fight? All right, we’ve got cow hide right here
and this looks like a grade 1, maybe a grade 2 cow hide. You can’t really tell all the time cause
often times a grade 2 its going to have a few blemishes but on a shoe like this that
actually is made up of multiple leather pieces they can slip a grade 2, which is perfectly
fine assuming it doesn’t have any blemishes. But the grade 2 and the fact it’s going
to be from the cow hide sometimes drive down the price a bit. So that’s pretty good for the consumer. Here we’ve got cordovan. Now cordovan is actually leather from a horse. This is going to be more dense and both of
these leathers are going to be more thick. So calf hide on the other hand maybe 4-5 oz.
weight up on top. What we’re going to see here is 5 to 6 to7
oz. in terms of the thickness of the upper. All right, gents, how am I going to call this
round? I’m going to give this one a draw. There are advantages and disadvantages to
each type of leather so you need to find a leather that’s going to best suit you. And what do the English do? Go get in your corner. You should not be – gosh, darn English,
jumping in the fight. Now before I get too far ahead in this video
I want to let you know that all the beautiful Italian shoes you see in this video are brought
to you by Ace Marks guys. I’m linking to them down in the description. They’re the paid sponsor today’s video
and I love this company because they just make such beautiful amazing shoes. And you’re going to find throughout this
video I’m going to talk about the beauty of Italian shoes. I mean don’t want to spoil what’s coming
up here but I will tell you guys if you go over to Ace Marks website and you look at
their new designs, yes they’ve got new designs, you are going to be blown away. Beautiful shoes guys. If you want to see them, go check out Ace
Marks and guys go check out their accessories. Look at things like this, a lasted shoe trees. The difference between all the other shoe
trees out there and a lasted shoe tree is this is made specifically to fit into these
shoes. So if you get them wet, it’s going to fit
right there and it’s going to work to reshape the shoe exactly to where it was. If you want to go buy a shoe, well guess what. You can actually buy a matching belt that
goes perfectly with it. So guys a wide variety of style. Overall a great company. I’m proud to bring them to you because they
are also a great deal. Go check them out. Again I’m linking to Ace Marks down in the
description. Awesome company. Highly recommended. Round 2 gentlemen and we’re going to talking
about shoe construction. How the shoes are made. Now let’s talk about when you are spending
good money on a pair of shoes like at least $200. Look at the bottom and you want to make sure
that it’s got stitching right in there. If you can’t see stitching then most likely
that shoe has been glued together. Glued shoes in general I’m not going to
recommend. [0:05:05]
Now I understand if you’re spending under $100 that’s probably what you’re going
to get. And if you’re just starting off and you
find something you really like the look of, go for it. I want you guys to start dressing better. But if you’re going to be spending more
than $200, more $300 you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth and
you want to make sure it is stitched together. Shoes are stitched together are simply going
to hold together longer and they can be resoled. That’s a big one. This could last you 10, 20, 30 years and you
can just resole this 10-20 times. Now let’s talk about the Blake stitch. This right here is a Blake stitch. When I look at this I can immediately tell
because when I go around here I do not see any stitching. It’s just not visible. Yet I can see the stitching down here at the
bottom. It’s very tight. It’s a very elegant look. That is when I look at the construction of
the Blake stitch is its very simple. It works, and it simply they’ve done the
stitching on the inside of the shoe. So what’s the advantage of this is when
you look at it overall it’s just very simple and it works. It can be resoled. Now let’s look over here at Goodyear welt. The big thing we’re going to notice immediately
with the Goodyear welt is that I can see the stitching on the outside. The reason I can do that is because there’s
an additional what’s called the welt. So there’s two attachments on this one. Now what’s the advantage to this? Now it used that it was easier simply to resole. Now most cobblers they’re going to have
access to something that can do a Blake stitch so that’s not always true and sometimes
the materials were a little bit more expensive for a Goodyear welt so I always thought it
kind of even out. Some people will say it’s going to be water
resistant, the Goodyear welt. But if you are walking through puddles on
purpose, you know you lived in a place where its slushy and snowy most of the year and
you’re wearing your best shoe to commute to and from work all the time, don’t do
that. Keep your great looking shoes at home. Again, water salt damage. The best way to prevent it from damaging your
shoes is to avoid it. But to me, these two different types of construction
I don’t know. Again, what am I going to do here? You guys aren’t going to like to hear this. I’m going to give it a draw because there
are advantages and disadvantages to both. So for this particular fight, guys we’ve
got a draw. Round 3 gentlemen. Let’s talk about comfort. So when it comes to the upper of the Italian
shoes like I’ve talked about its going to be thinner. It’s usually going to be made from calf
skin, therefore, it’s going to be more softer, more supple, and it’s easier to break in
than any of the heavier leathers out there. Now when it comes to the Italian shoes construction
of the insole, of the outsole we are often times not going to see a really thick – no
big steel shank or anything like that. We’re just going to see is they use a very
dense leather on the outsole, on the insole put it together and that is it. Now with the American style what we’re going
to see is a steel shank. A steel shank is going to run if you can imagine
right up in here and basically it allows the shoe to bounce back. So also with the outsole, with the insole,
you’ll sees sometimes a cork lining put in there to basically fill in around the shank
and you’ll sometimes going to see the outer and the inner sole be a bit higher. And some people argue that gives you a bit
more cushion. Some people don’t really like it because
again it makes the shoe looked more bulky. Now let’s talk about the upper. Again, cordovan. Cow hides. What we’re going to see with those is they’re
going to take longer to basically get accustomed to. They are not going to be as flexible. Some people love this. Other people they don’t like it. So it really comes down to personal opinion. All right gents, I’m going to be really
subjective here but I’m going to give round 3 for comfort to the Italians. Round 4 we’re talking about durability. Fight. Hey, hey, keep the scuffs above the waist. So talking about durability. Any shoe gentlemen that you don’t take care
of, you don’t condition, you don’t clean, you don’t polish, it’s going to be destroyed
by inclement weather. So take care of your shoes. It doesn’t matter how durable it says it
is, you will destroy it early. But looking at the Italian style shoes I’ve
talked about this. The outsole, the insole, the upper is all
going to be made of a thinner more delicate leather. Now a lot of people like this cause it looks
great. It overall has a great feel, very elegant,
very slick. But if you want something that’s possibly
going to last longer and again assuming that all things are the same you will probably
see that with the American shoes especially ones that use a cordovan on top, a horse hide
leather. That is going to outlast a cow hide. It’s also going to be about $100 on average
more expensive. Also what we’ll see with a Goodyear welt
because it’s got that excess material in here with the welt, sometimes though used
also a thicker outer sole. We can’t see the sole last a bit longer. Round 4 I’ve got to give it to the American
shoes. Round 5. Let’s talk about style. Fight. So style is totally subjective. But when you see a pair of shoes like this
I mean it’s just like wow. I mean I love the suede with the leather right
there, with a bit of broguing with the really tight stitching just the overall look are
beautiful. This is a very hard one. [0:10:00]
I would say that when you go over to Italia what you’re going to find you’re going
to find fourth generation cobblers who are building and making amazing footwear. One of the advantages of shoes being made
in Italy is they’ve got the Mediterranean climate. This is something that they can be a little
bit fun. They’re not so much worried about inclement
weather. Now let’s talk about the American style. So the American style has always been about
getting the job done, about practicality. Style is nice to have but not if the shoes
simply aren’t going to get the job done. Now this is a Chukka boots. It’s using a suede right here. But the Chukka boot comes out of World War
II. It was developed specifically by British officers
who wanted a shoe for their troops and for themselves that could provide more support
when they were in this desert rocky environment. Now when you look at the shoe right here,
I can see the stitching. I can see this right here is a very simple
shoe but there’s something elegant about simplicity. Round 5 gentlemen, I’m going to give to
the Italians. That is it. Today’s fight is probably going to be contested
for years and years. The Italians are going to say that I definitely
gave it to them but I can see where the English and the Americans are coming from. They’re like we’ve got artisans in our
countries that are making amazingly stylish shoes. We should have won that last round and I agree
that it’s very subjective. Remember gents at the end of the day, you
need to buy the right pair of shoes for you and I advocate you spend a little bit more
to get exactly what you want that you love. So that when you wear it, you feel like a
million bucks. Now understand gents, you don’t have to
spend a million bucks to get a great pair of quality made shoes. Use all the details I’ve talked about in
this video to find the right pair for you and go check out Ace Marks. I’m linking to them down in the description,
a great company. I remember when they first came out on Kickstarter
I sent them to you as I talked about them and to this day they still continue to produce
amazing Italian made shoes. So go check them out guys. I mean this pair right here is brand new. They’ve got a whole new line. Go check out their lasted shoe trees. These things I mean it’s awesome that they
actually make a product that fits in there and will reshape the shoe every time. What do you guys think? I thought that was kind of fun video. Let me know in the comments. I always appreciate you, learning from your
guys and the community we built here at Real Men Real Style. Take care. I’ll see you in the next video [0:12:13] End of Audio

100 Replies to “Italian vs American | Which Dress Shoes Are Superior?”

  1. American vs Italian – which shoe style is your favorite? – Click here and use code RMRS for an awesome deal on your first pair of Ace Marks Shoes. Thanks, Ace Marks, for being the paid sponsor of today's post! – Click here to read the article – Italian VS American | Is There ONE Perfect Shoe For Everyone? – Click HERE to discover the power of the style transformation roadmap that will leverage your professional image within 30 days!

    Video Summary:

    1:01 – Round 1 – The Leather
    4:43 – Round 2 – The Construction
    7:14 – Round 3 – Comfort
    8:31 – Round 4 – Durability
    9:41 – Round 5 – Style

  2. I am Dutch and we have Van Bommel shoes. Top quality and high durability but no style. They look tacky and slow. I prefer ITALIAN shoes. Want them, love them, buy them😀😀😀😀 a lot!!!

  3. I never wear my $400+ dress shoes outside other than getting a quick bite for lunch. I change to walking shoes when I commute.

  4. Italian shoes besides Lattanzi, Bemer, Bontoni and maybe Santoni. Blake is favored over Goodyear often. But most Italian shoes you think of are from the high end fashion houses that spend too much in marketing. If you think Versace and Armani makes good shoes I suggest reading "Hand Made Shoes" by Lazslo Vass. France makes shoes more along the lines of what most would think a Italian shoe is; colorful patinas and modern cuts.. Aubercy and Corthay come to mind. English shoes (My preference) maybe more conservative, long history, very well made. All the gold standards in which shoes are compared to are mostly British; Lobb, EG, GG, Anthony Cleverley etc. America is the runt of the litter. I think Alden is the best US has to offer unless some small boutique stores popped up like in Japan.

    Nobody "Needs" a $1000+ shoe. The same as not "Needing" a Rolex or Rolls. So if you dont have that itch I always recommend people to check out Meermin for the price it cant be beat. A little step up would be Septieme Largeur. But a lot of Sutor Mantellassi (blue sole) can be picked up on eBay for like 70% off its retail.

  5. I am not neither American nor European tho, but America fashion cannot be compared with European countries.. even America has big market for fashion, but American fashion history is relatively shorter than European fashion.

  6. British British and did I say British. Un surpassed shoe making. I'll give the Italians a well earned second position, but quite frankly you'll never get a more superior shoe than a hand made British one!

  7. Italians won this fight but why not fight with a pair of Allen Edmonds to make the fight fair those ugly American shoes to fight those very attractive Italian one not even close to fair fight

  8. You can always tell cheap shoes from high quality. I am a woman and I always look at a man's shoes. You can tell alot 😉 .Buy good quality with style and that fits perfectly to your feet and style and body type. You do not want to look like a door to door sales person when you want to dress to impress.

  9. Personally I love British and American shoes but to me its more about being cordavan, goodyear welted, reacraftable, durable for tough weather, and beautiful so whoever makes that kind of shoe is aces in my book.

  10. Historically I've been an avid buyer of Ferragamo and Bally ( especially bcuz of availability of extra wide widths, I'm a 8.5 ee). But last yr I "went rogue" and tried a pair of Allen Edmunds saddle tan classic toe lace ups I ordered online. As soon as I looked at the shoes after they arrived at my house, I noticed the burnishing between the shoes was very uneven. The right and left shoe looked mismatched as a result. I was very disappointed considering they cost almost $400. I sent them back for a full refund. I think I'll stick with Ferragamo and Bally……

  11. Haha, I didn't even know american shoes(at least the nice kind) were a thing, they are basically an offshoot of the British style.
    but that's nothing to be ashamed of. but I just prefer Italian, it feels like an extension of your foot, and the style is pretty top.

  12. I have a couple pair of Mezlan (Spanish) oxford style shoes that I really like. I also have a pair of Allen Edmonds (American) tassel loafers. I bought all three pair more than ten years ago. I am 70, they will last me the rest of my life and look good while serving me well.

  13. Haha, awesome fun video Antonio!! The "Leather Grade" info was the most useful thing I learned from this video!! Its too bad you don't have the graphic about the different Leather Grades included in your article b/c its a very efficient way to communicate that information. Thank You for sharing your Knowledge!!

    As for Ace Marks, I took a look at their current KickStarter Campaign and I'm excited about their Henry Monkstrap w/ the Patina option. It looks absolutely phenomenal — too bad I will need to wait ~6x months to get it!!

  14. This is more of a generalization. As well, “American” shoes in the heritage of AE or ANE are more British. If styling is the pure topic, then I can safely say that Italian shoes are much more non-traditional based on traditional motifs. Though the typical sharper and thinner heel look is not suitable for daily wear. You don’t wear a tux to a company Christmas brewhaha do ya? The English welted style shoes tend to have rounder lines. A well made version is simply more usable in any situation just like a notch lapel navy suit. While is more difficult to make an English show look fashionable, the top tier English shoes are far more formal and elegant compared to an Italian shoe – often douchey looking. As a person with over 120 pairs of welted/Blake shoes, I am of the school that the details such as plastic counters or cheap threads matters just as much if not more so. You can buy a well made pair of chinese welted shoe in imported pull-up cow hide that can be much more comfy than an over priced pair of Italian shoe, or a discounted model of Allen Edmonds that people will hardly look at.

  15. Since you are pushing these "Ace Marks" I will ask you this…

    Why should somebody go spend $320 plus on these shoes when there are well established shoemakers making quality shoes in the same price range?

  16. Top-tier Italians will use goodyear welting as well (or hand-welting, e.g. bonafe, meccariello), so it's not really a draw. Sorry, acemarks doesn't quite qualify. Overall though, based on all the brands available and overall craftmanship, British probably edges out both Italian and American. And then there's the Japanese …

  17. I agree Italians make better looking shoes than the americans but they're also much cheaperly made, and lower quality. it isn't until you get into the $600+ you get into the true 4th generation cobblers that make goodyear welted shoes that can run circles around shoes like Allen Edmonds or Alden, but then again they are also very expensive.
    Blake vs Goodyear welt. Good year welt wins, it lasts longer, can be resoled far more, can have it's midsole replaced, and be redone by any cobbler with or without equipment. The only reason why you would prefer Blake stitch is if you are the manufacturing looking to cut costs. Blake stitch requires specialty machines that most cobblers won't have, most will not do it by hand, too much work. Goodyear welt can be done by hand, no need for a machine if really in a pinch. Blake stitching is also a cheaper constructed shoe that requires less skilled labor. Blake stitch shoes often are just glued on then stitched because the stitching is not enough to hold the shoe together (notice how GYW have commonly 4+ stitches per inch, while most blake stitches have 2~ maybe 3 at best stitches per inch).
    Your so called grade 1 leathers are rarely used by Italian or USA shoemakers. No one is going to pay $200 for a hide, and use 13% of the hide to make 1 shoe then sell that shoe for $295. You are a little smarter than this. Most shoemakers unless high end are going to use a majority of the hide for making the shoe. Even companies like Alden and Allen Edmond still use a majority of the hide, and this is what's called the clicking lottery.

  18. "Shoes that are stitched together are simply going to hold together longer and they can be resold. That's a big one!"
    Wow! So there's a pre-owned market for quality shoes?
    Oh, RESOLED.

  19. Good afternoon – I really applaud your videos on advising men on how to build a wardrobe and the various options if you learn to match, co-ordinate etc.

    This time, I have to say I am rather disappointed as I feel you have rather failed to address the issues and rather dismissive of the world famous British shoes. The build quality etc are significantly superior to American shoes and American shoes on the whole are designed for a cheaper market overall and formality is less required.

    Italian shoes are the most comfortable and stylish to wear, especially for more social events. True they may not last as long as they are not as robust, but they are sophisticated.

    American shoes lack the quality and design of both. This is because they are designed for a rather less formal and less stylish population. Costs for items in the USA are significantly less and the generally the average American is built significantly bigger than the average European.

    Therefore, the focus is more on less expensive, more boxy designs and mass produced.

    I favour Crocket and Jones and I have failed to find anything that comes close in the USA. As for Italian shoes they are so comfortable for less formal environments they ooze class. I suggest you may wish to revisit the topic and address the real differences.

    Please continue with the great content.

  20. Ohhh, what a surprise. Ace Marks is paying for the video and wins the comparison. Who'd a thunk it?

    Actually, I knew it was coming as soon as there was a draw on Goodyear Welt vs Blake Stitch.

  21. I know Allen Edmonds are great quality shoes but most of the styles don’t appeal to me. They’re kind of conservative. I have a pair of Ox Blood or Merlot brogue McCalisters that are nice.

  22. So I'm really stuck and need advice! My husband needs a dress shoe that can work with his dress pants/dress shirt and blazer. He wears a bit of a mix and match type items and sometimes wears a tie. The problem he has is has to fly and only wants to travel with a carry on suit case. He walks for long periods through the airport so it must be comfortable, not too flat, nice cushion, light weight and breathable Stylish and affordable! Praying I kind find something around 200 bucks or less but I might be dreaming! What shoes should he buy and what color?

  23. When it comes to fashion and more forward styles, it's hands down Italian. Should you desire a more reserved style, it is in the US / British corner. Depending on the look I desire for the day, will dictate whether I choose Italian or British as I do not currently have any US shoes. Either way your look and style are a personal choice.

  24. The fact that the video is sponsored by the Italian shoe might show some bias (you think?). Allen Edmund vs. everybody, no contest! Allen Edmund are the best non bespoke shoes anywhere.

  25. This comparison is odd. You are basically comparing one specific shoe from one specific brand to another, rather than comparing the general characteristics that distinguish italian shoes from americans such as style etc. This is not to mention to the big plug for Ace Marks to the point of equating blake stitching with goodyear welt…

  26. American style is all about get the job done….style comes 2nd…that's a lost already….italy and english shoes can both get the job done while maintain nice elegant style……






  28. Clearly being paid by ace marks to shove their products to his sheeple.

    Goodyear welt is better than Blake stitch. Period.
    There is no discussion about this, they are water proof and easier to repair and resole than Blake.

    2. The cork in the Goodyear welt makes the shoe take your feet’s shape. Always better than Blake which don’t have that either.

    3. He compared apples to oranges, a whole cut brand new Italian to a black old brogue American shoe, indicating clear bias

    I thought Antonio was better than this.

  29. I don't like the toe spring on most of these shoes, a good pair of men's shoes should sit almost flat on the floor.

  30. Italian shoes are mist shoes. If they see more water than a little mist they fall apart. America shoes like Allen Edmonds are made in Minnesota which always a foot of snow need I say more.

  31. What’s are more affordable options for the poor people that want to be stylish? Any shoes under 130 dollars that are worth buying? I found that very cheap shoes are more expensive at the long run because they don’t last. I found some really nice coach shoes for 89 dollars at a discount store but i just got lucky ,
    The girls at the register ware very excited about my purchase they say thy never get shoes like that there !
    Which teach me that women atención to detail goes from head to toes! They pointed I should get a nice belt that match and how the watch i was wearing should go perfect with the shoes !
    So now I really want to get a few shoes that i can afford but need your advice before i go out buying again
    Please help me! I no longer want to attract the wrong woman and I noticed that the sharper I dress the better my options

  32. Very informative.
    Great video Antonio!!
    I am just following you for 2 weeks since I decided to change my wear style. Your advices are helping me a lot.

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