Given a choice, would you buy a cheap car that you expect to break down within the next two years and have to be replaced? Or would you choose to invest in a car that will last for a decade, needing only minor repairs?
It's an easy question to answer, really: you will save time, money, and hassle by buying the best car you can afford right off the bat. Why, then, would you buy shoes that you know won't last, and will cost you more to replace?
A cheap suit can be tailored to fit better. A shirt that isn't quite right can go under a terrific jacket. An inexpensive tie when matched with a pocket square can be fine. But cheap shoes are a different matter. Rubber soles are noticeable and wear badly. Low-quality leather both hurts your feet and age poorly.
The difference between a high-quality shoe and a poor quality shoe is obvious the moment you've broken in a fantastic pair that conforms to your feet. And it's comfort that you'll be able to enjoy for years. The average life span of mass-produced shoes is getting shorter and shorter as the industry focuses on cheap quantity rather than high-value quality. Koch & Co. values "slow fashion,", meaning that we are hoping to slow the rate of fashion consumption by delivering shoes that will last for years to come.
Three key factors make up a timeless pair of shoes: craftsmanship, materials and construction. We are proud to promote and support the traditional methods of shoemaking in Agra, India and are committed to providing fair and sustainable conditions for our expert artisans who have been working in the industry for generations.
The second requirement is high quality leather and shoe components. Full grain leather - meaning minimally treated - ages with an elegant patina, looking better the more you wear it. High-quality shoe components in the shank and the heel add durability and sophistication.
The final component, construction, is what brings craftsmanship and high-quality materials together. Goodyear Welted construction is the gold standard for shoe construction.
Invented by the son of the tire company founder, Goodyear Welted is a special method of stitching the uppers to the soles for maximum durability and comfort. With Goodyear Welted construction, the shoe benefits from improved water resistance, constant airflow and easier resoling as well. The technique takes time, but gives shoes a lifespan that can be measured in decades, not months. Author Terry Pratchett in the 1993 novel Men At Arms cleverly summarizes the fact that cheap shoes end up costing more in the long run than quality. He called it the "Boots Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness":
"...good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap [ten dollar] boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet."
Want to look better? Feel more comfortable? Keep an asset for years, even decades all while spending less money?
All you have to do is buy good shoes.
This September The Huffington Post UK Style is focusing on all things sustainable, for the second year running. Our thirst for fast fashion is dramatically impacting the environment and the lives of thousands of workers in a negative way. Our aim is to raise awareness of this zeitgeist issue and champion brands and people working to make the fashion industry a more ethical place.
We'll be sharing stories and blogs with the hashtag #SustainableFashion and we'd like you to do the same. If you'd like to use our blogging platform to share your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org