Unboxing Alford from John Lobb Prestige Collection

The emperor of welted shoes. Maybe some would argue that Edward Green and Gaziano & Girling are no inferior, not to mention there are Berluti and Corthay from France to compete. No matter what the argument is, John Lobb is the king, period.

John Lobb has two collections in its Ready To Wear offerings, Classic and Prestige. Some may think Prestige collection charged higher price only for the name, but the truth is the craftsmanship of Prestige is apparently higher than Classic.

Let us check this pair.


Plum colour shoe box with a white sticker in the middle, on top of the sticker, logo is in the center.

The design is not outstanding, but getting used to it makes it good, but more importantly, the price says it must be good!

The paper with all information is clipped by the box cover, this method can make sure the shoe box can be swapped easily.

Model name Alford, size 7.5, width E, last 7000, leather Plum Museum.

Talking about Plum museum, I had one pair from J.FitzPatrick, the lovely loafer Bothell.

Stunning deep red.

Remove the cover, the most eye-catching stuff is the bubble paper. Maybe the anti shock feature is great, but the exquisiteness is too bad for such a pair of high end shoes.

In this envelope is back up shoe laces. Although they are flat but quite thick, not very exquisite.

The pamphlet is like department store shoe brand, My question is why shoes needs product introduction?

And what is inside this book, why it is so thick? The answer is nothing special inside but many languages…

A same colour paperboard divides two shoebags and the shoes are inside.


Last 7000 is most seen and famous for lace ups, and the one copied completely in China, it is also the last of my first pair of John Lobb (Towcester). I have several stages of my feeling on this last. First was the honeymoon that I thought 7000 is the most beautiful round toe in the world. Then I felt it is a little sharp. Next it is too sharp. Till today, I don’t feel comfortable wearing 7000. I still use the word ELEGANT to describe last 7000, however a prefix must be added, French Elegant.


Most classic cap toe oxford, it seems quite ordinary, but is it? What is the difference between Alford and City II from Classic collection?

First thing, it is not as classic as most people think, at least not English classic, because it has 6 eyelets.

But most significant thing is the pattern is asymmetry. The inner side is Balmoral, but the outside is plain oxford.

Argentine bespoke shoemaker, Norman Vilalta is very good at this concept.

Speaking about craftsmanship, Prestige collection has one feature that heel is seamless.

Alford achieves this feature by cutting a spiral pattern except cap toe. I feel this is the point that Prestige collection is superior to Classic collection.


My first prestige collection is Chapel, I remember the feeling when I put them on. I don’t mean the fit, but the standing feeling wearing it. The forefoot is curved and extruded. On one hand I feel it is not stable, the other hand it is comfortable.

From this side view you can tell the edge of sole lifts off the ground.

The cork in the forefoot is purposedly filled too much and crowded in the center.

I think bevelled waist on Ready To Wear was introduced by John Lobb, just like fiddle back by Gaziano & Girling.


Museum leather was co-developed by John Lobb and Italian tannery Ilcea. This leather was more popular than now. I like the age-like patina.

Plum has some purple than burgundy, and richer.


Welt finish of Prestige collection was regarded the best in my opinion, the stitches are hidden in the welt.

But this pair is totally disastrous. The slot was cut however the stitches are not covered inside.

At waist, stitches are invisible as expected.

Sole is very thin which is the signature of John Lobb.

Heel Lasting

There is a word called English Heel which is popularized by John Lobb that the outline of upper heel to heel is continuous, non-broken. But after seeing so many bespoke shoes, John Lobb Ready To Wear is not good by the new standard.

Shoe Tree

Prestige collection has complimentary lasted shoe tree, but the funny fact is the shoe tree has no half size.


Another difference between Prestige collection and Classic, the information is put on tongue and classic inner lining. I feel lining is easier to see.

Prestige uses upper leather to make the lining.


Elegant shoes, noble brand, everyone cannot resist to own one pair, at least.