I used to purchase so any Cole Haan shoes. Then they were purchased by Nike, and things changed drastically, and rather than being made in Italy, the shoes were "imported." I still have a few pairs from before they crossed over to the dark side, but I can't recall the last time I bought any shoes from them. Maybe it was in the late '90s.
I sold Nike athletic shoes for a time in the early 1980's and aside from some lab activity, never manufactured any products in the USA. Even then, the approach was style over substance. All quality shoemakers should steer clear of that company.
So many brands of quality from my youth are now such disappointments or completely gone. Remember Harold Powell?Cole Haan is perhaps the saddest case.
The Cole Haan story is akin to Coach bags and luggage. Sara Lee bought Coach and Nike took over Cole Haan. In both case quality took a nose dive. The Gucci version of the loafer pictured above is still superb, however.
I abhor Coach handbags: fringe, rivets, appliques, etc...trends for the young, not for mature adults.
If your speaking of the Coach bags of today, I'd agree. The Coach bags of 1991 were wonderful.
I still have a few of the Coach bags from he early 90's. They are what I refer to as "real Coach".
I have several Coach bags from the old days, i.e, 90's, and still use them, and they are still in great shape. Today's styles, not so much.
"Probably there is no way to have good and easy boots or shoes, except to have lasts modeled exactly to the shape of the feet. This is well worth doing. Hundreds of times the cost of it are yearly spent in idle gratifications — while this, rightly looked upon, is indispensable to comfort and health. The feet, too, must be kept well clothed with thin socks in summer, and woolen in winter — and washed daily." - Walt Whitman (most of this opinion still holds true, although his observation on costs do not necessarily apply to 21st Century economics as bespoke shoemakers are now quite few).
I wore brown tassel Cole Haan loafers (made in Italy) to church today! They are so elegantly crafted using the finest leather. What I wouldn't give to have the navy bit shoes above. I still wear a very old pair of CH bit loafers in black suede - we are fortunate to have a local shoe repair that helps me maintain shoe longevity. My husband enjoys a couple pairs of Alden bit loafers, but he recently told me that stopped making them because Gucci was not happy about Alden using 'their' bit trademark. Coach still remains an all-time favorite before they changed creative directors and cheapened the line. My Coach handbags are still in use. A continuation of the sad stories of corporate buyouts and changing creative directors. I'm just happy the former products were made to last!
I mentioned Gucci above at 932 am. I neglected to mention Alden . Their shoes also feature traditional materials and workmanship. I may or may not prefer them over Gucci. I'd have to see them both side by side.
If I am correct, Alden has two lines; the New England and the Cape Cod. When my husband purchased his dress shoes (New England), the quality was superb and because of that quality, there has been no need to replace them. (When new soles are needed, they will completely refurbish the shoes for less than half the price of a new pair - it's like having brand new shoes.) Regarding the horse bit style (Cape Cod), the first pair was exceptional. When a second pair was ordered in a different color years later, we were disappointed that the quality and fit had diminished. Overall, I believe they are a good company whose shoes are still made in the U.S.
Thank goodness I bought as many Cole Haan shoes as I did - some are forty years old. Some have been re-soled couple of times. I also have a small coach shoulder purse I've had for 36 years and it still looks good. It fit in my briefcase when necessary.
Barrie's are still obtainable on the secondary market. They are worth the hunt. Are Cole Haan as good?
My first Coach bag, the basic bag in Navy, was purchased new around 1972 for maybe $30, it and my 1977 Coach briefcase and wallet are beautiful examples of the past. I bought Coach exclusively until I paid $300 for a new bag and discovered it was made in China; returned it promptly and haven't stepped in a Coach store since. At onetime they were simple and fabulously designed, now most look cheap and gaudy.
Coach went after a completely different customer when they created those hideous fabric bags with the huge C's all over them.
Coach is actually an example that's studied in Fashion Economics as a brand that exploded and then imploded. They're part of the basis for a predictive model when trend forecasting.
I wonder how long it takes companies to learn their lessons. Will Coach ever be restored to its former respectability? Doubtful. I used to shop J. Crew (and Gap) in the 80s/90s for staples that I still use, but they too, had taken a turn for the worse and cheapened their model. I just learned that their president stepped down today. It will be interesting to watch if anything changes for the better.
I have a pair of those kicking around my closet somewhere. Funny, seems like as soon as boot season ends, sandal season begins. Maybe I'll bust them out for spring, which here in Boston, is from May 25th to June 4th ;)
About 7 or 8 years ago you could buy the Cole Haan snaffle bit loafers for about $100 at DSW Shoes and on Ebay. I bought several pairs of black and brown versions and then realized they did not keep their shape or wear well and was able to unload most of them on Ebay at a modest loss. If you do not want to pay the Gucci price for the real deal, Oak Street Bootmakers oakstreetbootmakers.com makes a nice version.
This post has been informative, thanks to everyone's input/involvement. It is appreciated and noted. Thank you again!
Word is that Gucci threatened to sue Alden and other bonds for making the snaffle bit. Alden has recently discontinued the bit loafer.
Gucci must have threatened Oak Street - they are selling off their stock and have stopped making the bit loafer. Allen Edmonds makes a version make in Italy.
I never heard of Oak Street until you mentioned it, so I checked them out and discovered their women's inventory had limited sizes available. I especially liked that they made the bit loafers in dark brown. You can still find Alden bit shoes through other suppliers, but not on their home website. Gucci must be on a mission to eliminate competition. Muffy was pretty wise to buy her backups when she did!
Purchased my first, and only, pair of Gucci snaffle bit loafers in 1979. Re-soled them once. Never use them, but I could put them on and walk out the door and they look like they were purchased recently. Classic is classic. Wish I could say I looked the same.
My one experience with Alden snaffle bits was uninspiring, alas. My Guccis, on the other hand, have been at it for a decade, and they get a bit more patina with every polishing. Also, paradoxically, ideal airport shoes–tremendous support on the hard floor, easy to take off for your pre-flight violation by the TSA, and never anything but smart once you're off and running again.