TLB Artista shoes: Review

Monday, August 17th 2020
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Spanish shoemaker TLB sent me these ‘Artista’ suede oxfords to try, following my mention of them in our round-up of cheaper shoe brands last month. 

I have to say, I was immediately impressed. Not necessarily compared to the top-end shoes I usually cover - such as Edward Green or Gaziano & Girling - but certainly compared to shoes at a similar price level. 

These cost €425, putting them at a price between mainline Crockett & Jones and fellow Spanish maker Carmina. They compare very favourably with both. 

The most obvious things are on the outside of the shoe. For example, the relative smallness of the heel, which sits almost flush with the shoe above it.

It’s much easier to cut a bigger, squarer heel on a shoe because there’s more room for error - you have to be less careful you don’t touch the shoe itself during construction. More care means more time, which means more cost. But a smaller heel is finer and more elegant. 

As is a bevelled waist, which you can see on the shot of the bottom of the shoe below. The waist is that part of the shoe where the letters ‘TLB’ are stamped, between the front of the sole and the heel. On this shoe, that waist is slightly domed, or bevelled. 

The waist is also narrow, cutting inwards as it approaches the heel. This lines up the sole more closely with the shoe above it, like the heel, and looks more elegant as a result. 

This last point is not something you get with English shoes at this price level, which tend to have a wider, flat waist - normally called a square waist. Nor on Spanish competitors, even though there is often more value for money there in terms of finishing. 

Also notable is that this shaping of the waist has been done on a rubber sole, which is more unusual than a leather one. And that the stitching (which you cannot see) runs all the way to the heel, where some other cheap makers achieve a slim waist with cementing or Blake stitching.

Of course, it should be said these points on finishing are partly a question of style. If you want a more casual shoe, you don’t necessarily want a fine, elegant finish. 

But that look is always more time-consuming to achieve, and therefore more expensive. So the value for money is objective, and impressive. 

The quality of the raw materials - the lining, the sole, the upper - is hard to assess fully without a good few months of wear. 

But you can get a sense of it from the initial feeling, and the TLB Artista certainly feels nice here. The suede is soft and pliant, almost on a par with top-end makers (unlike the Myrqvist loafers I mentioned in that recent piece). It’s ‘Janus’ reverse-calf suede from tannery Charles F. Stead. 

The softness is helped by the fact that TLB use less reinforcement on their leathers, which has advantages and disadvantages. It will mean an immediately softer feeling shoe, but perhaps not quite as much structure and shape-retention in the long term. 

The nap of the suede is also quite fine, with an almost velvet-like look. Personally, I don’t like this as much as the less fine variations, but that is personal. 

It’s also fair to say that differences in quality are less noticeable in suede than leather, as leather quality will also affect how it responds to cream and polish over time.

One materials point that can’t be argued with is the heel stiffener, which is pure leather. 

This is only usually found on top-level shoes, with most brands at this level using leather board, and cheaper ones using plastic. 

Being leather means the stiffener - which sits inside the heel cup, reinforcing it - is able to adapt to the wearer’s heel. Less of an issue if you have an average size and shape heel, but surprisingly important to fit and comfort if you don’t.

The Artista shoes are cleanly made, without any of the little errors in the heel or sole edge that you often see in cheaper shoes. But the make is still not quite on a level with the top-end makers mentioned earlier. 

An example would be the line of stitching that runs around the edge of the rubber sole, in the picture of the bottom of the shoes above. 

You can see there that the line more accurately follows the edge of the sole on the right shoe, than the left. This was also the case on the pair I received. 

It’s a minor point, but likely reflects the speed with which the shoes travel through the factory, compared to those of more expensive makers. With production processes, as noted earlier, time is money. 

TLB is a young brand, having been set up three years ago by Toni Llobera Barceló when he left another Spanish producer, Yanko. 

He joined another factory in Inca, Mallorca which had been making women’s shoes previously - so not Goodyear-welted. They started a Goodyear line, and now the factory is all Goodyear. The Artista range was launched in 2019. 

One thing you quickly become aware of when you work with a factory - especially asking them to make something for you - is how much inertia builds up over time. Making the same way for years creates structures that are hard to break down, from simple things like the route a product takes around the factory, to human things like how many people work in different areas.

All of these are much easier to change in a new factory, or a new production line, than with a large existing one. Toni has clearly benefited from that. 

In conclusion, TLB Artista shoes offer great make and superb value for money. But there are some small caveats. 

One is that some value comes from a finer make that you might not want or need. Another is that, great as they are, I wouldn’t put them in the same bracket as Edward Green or Gaziano & Girling. And a last one is style - keep in mind that shape and style are as important as anything else. These suede oxfords, for example, are a little more elongated than most English makers at the same level. 

But if you typically buy at this price level, and like the style, you should certainly be considering Artista. 

www.tlbmallorca.com/artista

Pictures courtesy of TLB; Skolyx, retailer of TLB; and lifestyle photography by Adam Natt @adnatt

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Sam

Hi Simon,

An unexpected product for you to review, but I’ve been reading nothing but good things about the Artista line.

I hope you don’t mind me posting this link to Shoegazing’s article on the development of the line which is worth a read (I mean, it’s not my blog so nothing to gain for me) – https://shoegazing.com/2019/03/20/report-tlb-mallorca-artista/

It talks through some of the iteration of the end designs – we don’t tend to see much of this as consumers when we just see the finished result.

Ta
Sam

Anonymous

Simon, great review. I started my shoe journey with c&j but eventually switched to Carmina. There are some great shoemakers in Spain. Any plans to review some of the bespoke makers? There are quite a few in and around Barcelona.

Teo

Thanks Simon, very informative article – I’d certainly be very interested in hearing your opinion on the leather quality in some their more formal Artista models. I very close to pulling the trigger on a pair of black calf Balmorals on their Picasso soft-square last, which are said to be made using leather from D’Anonnay tannery in France.

On another note, since you mentioned the quality on more expensive pairs like EG or G&G, I recently purchased a pair of Chelsea oxfords on the 915 last from EG. I am seeing an odd issue where the heel stacks on the shoes differ from one another – when placed on a flat surface, one of the shoes has a visibly larger gap between the back-end of the heel stack and the surface below, i.e. it doesn’t at all sit flush with the floor. Have you had any experience with any such issue?

Doesn’t look like it would affect how the shoes wear but slightly surprising to see it on shoes at this price point.

Tamaki

Thank you very much for another post, Simon. I’m always looking for what you are going to write next. This post is particularly useful for me, since I was about to invest in better shoes and I had my eyes on TLB Artist for some months now, but never bought partially because of uncertainty on their quality.

I’m particularly interested in the rubber sole they use if they would be enough to resist wet city streets. Not thinking in terms of resisting rain itself, but just after rain wetness

Alexander

The following comment is a tangential question –

Not that I necessarily expect to be going into the office during winter, at least not given COVID here in the US, but what would you suggest as a proper shoe or sole for rainy whether?

For context, I live in CA and work in what, should be, one of the most formal workplaces, which requires a suit and tie M-Th, for January – August/September. In the past I’ve worn chelsea boots with rubber bottoms, and a black captoe oxford with a rubber bottom, but curious what you’d recommend.

Alexander

Thanks Simon, and thanks for linking to that post. I appreciate the answer and the post is very helpful. For better or worse, even in the California Capitol building suede would be considered “smart enough.” Thanks for the help, so I think I’ll start investing there (don’t have any now).

Alexander

I certainly try (to the extent my budget allows). The upside of the lack of sartorial care and formality is that showing up in a linen or dark-colored cotton suit (or cotton wool blend) would still be considered appropriate and formal in the middle of summer (a benefit when summers mean 37 degrees, Celsius, and 35% humidity – Northern CA summers are not friendly), especially when most are wearing polyester suits, or polyester blends and cole haan rubber soled shoes.

Martins Onzuls

According to style forum, consensus on artista range is, leather quality is a step below other similarily priced shoes (still should last years and years), while elements of make and style is 2 steps above. I was really tempted in last supertrunk, but wanted to wait until more people give their opinion…now as soon as COVID uncertainty is over, I plan to pick up a pair or 2…

Sam

Worth noting, since leather quality is going to have way more of a lasting effect over the years than “surface level” things like a fiddle-backed sole. Of course, there has to be some tradeoff during the manufacturing process if you want to incorporate “higher end” design features.

Jonas

Martin Onzuls: That’s not what I’ve gathered at all. I’ve read one or two saying that Artista (it’s higher spec leather than main line) is below say Carmina or C&J BG, but all others seem to think it’s on par with those, or even above in some cases. But given that, “consensus” would be similar to other in same price range in terms of upper material (and above British in terms of sole quality), while above on make, if I were to summarise what I’ve read in the TLB thread on SF and also all discussions on Reddit, plus my own experience of the two pairs I have.

Alex

Simon, what was the name of the last?

Kenny

I assume that it’s a F width last which seems to be standard for the brand. How did you find the fit, sizing and width?

Lucas

Interesting comment on your low instep, Simon: I too have a low instep and as a result I have a hard time wearing loafers of all kinds (either right size for the foot size but too loose the fit, or tight fit but too small on the foot). But you seem to be a great fan of loafers — what’s your secret?

Anonymous

Do you use tongue pads in your Picadillies too?

Robin

Being introduced to a new quality brand at a ‘affordable’ price.
When I first started reading PS this was the sort of thing I loved but we’ve had less and less of this over the years as PS has evolved .
More of this is most welcome.
Great start to the week !

Adam

Hey Simon. This is definitely a brand that I’ll put on my radar. When I saw the picture of the shoe, I was expecting this to be another multi-thousand Euro product that was outside what I’m willing to spend on a shoe, and was really surprised at the price point. I also appreciate that you were transparent about the fact that these were sent to you.

DB

I think I left a similar message on the prior post that dealt with TLB, but I’ll add this here too in case it’s helpful.

For me, one of the advantages with TLB is their MTO/customization option. They have a user-friendly online interface that allows you to combine just about any of their basic designs, leathers, lasts, sole options, etc. Between the reasonable starting price and a pretty reasonable up-charge for the customization, the all-in price is still approachable. (I gather that pricing for these brands may vary significantly based on location, but here in the States a customized pair of Carminas would cost about 25 percent more than a customized pair from TLB’s Artista line. Indeed, the customized Artistas aren’t much more than a RTW pair from Carmina.)

TLB’s customization options allow you to avoid the annoying constraints that can be imposed by makers’ RTW offerings — e.g., when all the suede models are sold with rubber soles, but you’d prefer leather; when you can get one shade of brown with one last and a different shade with a different last, but you can’t get the shade you want with the last you prefer; when the adelaide model is sold in a “chestnut” shade but not the more versatile dark brown, etc.

Veit

Nice review Simon! … and your comparison to EG and G&G helps. I heard somebody saying TLB Artista was the finer shoe than an EG. But given how well EGs are constructed it would come as a surprise if one could do better for less than half the price. But the TLB really seem to be great value for money.

AT

Very happy to see this review. For readers, I can say, as someone who falls budgetarily in this range, that TLB is truly fantastic. I’m a tall dude with big flat feet (13 UK) and have always had trouble finding shoes, when I found them at all, that didn’t make my feet look ridiculous. The Artista line (I haven’t tried their main collection) is very well proportioned, and those features that may make smaller feet look too fine or dainty simply work to make my feet look normal. Also, the beveled waist really hugs my arch in a way that feels supportive but not uncomfortable. Even the soft chisel, which on other shoes make my feet look like weapons, is balanced and not too elongating. Toni has also been helpful in lasting the shoes a little closer to give me a snugger fit for my slightly low insteps. I can’t guarantee that he will do that for everyone, but at present he seems very involved with customer service.

Richard

Do you have more details/link regarding the fabric / trousers you are wearing? Thank you

Carl Morvay

What I personally find most impressing with TLB Artista is the last shapes. Very well-balanced, elegant and attractive in my eyes, with a lower toe spring. Normally, for some reason, one tend to need to go up to higher price points to find this look. C&J HG have some great lasts, still with too high toe spring for my taste though. Otherwise I can’t think of any.

Diego

Thanks Simon – interesting post.

I find curious that you mentioned G&G and Edward Green as the same level of quality. I do not own shoes from those brands but the shoes that I’ve seen from G&G look superior from the ones I’ve tried from Edward Green. I have always been curious about the reasons why you (and actually most of the industry) rate EG so highly. I have been close to buy EGs in the past but then I have ended up buying Vass instead (which I know you do not rate as highly). In those ocasión I felt that Vass’ materials were as good as EG’s and the finishing was better, perhaps more artisanal. Nonetheless, I am nowhere near you in experience and expertise in this area.

shoefan

Thanks for this interesting review.

One point of clarification based on my understanding. A beveled waist refers to the treatment of the edge of the sole in the waist area. Unlike a ‘square’ waist, where the sole edge remains perpendicular to the bottom (as with the forepart of the sole), a beveled waist is thinned, rounded and (typically) pushed up tight against the upper. All of this treatment lends a very narrow, elegant effect and hides the sole stitching in this area.

What you seem to be describing in this piece is a ‘fiddleback’ waist, which refers to the shape of the bottom of the sole where the sole is not flat but rather is rounded and higher in the center than towards the edges (as is true of the back of a fiddle, violin, etc). This treatment can lead to a stronger arch/instep but is perhaps more relevant in bespoke shoes with a leather rather than the metal or carbon-fiber shank typically found in rtw shoes.

A fiddleback waist can be reasonably easily achieved on a rtw model, whereas a true beveled waist is a challenge because the sole stitchers used in rtw have a hard time doing this stitching. In bespoke, a different awl and stitch length are used in the waist of a beveled sole than the forepart — e.g. say 4 to 6 s.p.i. in the waist with an oval/inseaming awl, whereas the forepart is stitched with a square awl at say 8 – 10 s.p.i.

Felix

So would you say these fiddleback waists are more of a gimmick then? I read somewhere that it’s actually a new machine being brought to market quite recently that allows to get this shape at low cost, which would explain the new budget options popping up over the last years offering that sole shape.

Am I summarizing your comment correctly in that appearance-wise the fiddleback sole is flat on the sides and evenly stitched, but has this downward-exposed center, whereas a true beveled sole is “pulled up” at the sides, and having wider stitching at the waist revealing the handwork? Simon, is this something you can possibly confirm or comment on?

Teo

Hi again Simon,

I saw a discussion on the sizing of the shoes and thought I’d might ask – do you wear your usual size with those TLBs in comparison with, say, Edward Green? I had a discussion with Toni from TLB on this and he suggested sizing down half a size from EG shoes. Would be interesting to know if you had to do that with the pair you review here.

Many thanks.

Barry Kearney-Luc

Does TLB provide a refurnishment service as is offered by many reputable manufacturers?

Jonas

Yes, according to Skolyx it’s about €150 (I got the price in SEK, hence the “about”) for a full resole.

Felix

Broadly related to this topic, do you have any information on the quality/make of the shoes offered by Yeossal, the Korean store (i.e., the handwelted private label)? Some of their MTOs look great, in particular they have what seems to be a Cleverley De Rede clone, but not at a Cleverley price, maybe even a little suspiciously cheap… (or would you know any other high-quality maker that offers a RTW loafer in that style?).

Interesting article otherwise, it’s just incredible what relatively little money can buy these days relative to only 10 years ago…

Anonymous

Just to clarify. Yeossal is from Singapore. They produce their shoes in China.

Anonymous

How would you say this pair compares to your Alfred Sargent shoes?

Alexander

As someone that has exclusively bought in this price range, I really appreciated this post – and the previous post on “cheap” shoes. My collection consists of Carmina, J. Fitzpatrick, Cobbler Union, and Allen Edmonds (though would not buy again). Funny enough the TLB Artista line have been on my radar for a while (this exact pair actually).

I’d be interested to hear more about how you think TLB compare to Carmina (and Carmina to EG/G&G).

I do plan on getting a pair of G&G at some point (though hard to get them in CA since it either means a trip to NY, import duties on top of the cost, or a trip to the UK). I’m very interested to hear more about the marginal benefits from stepping up from the brands I mentioned to EG and G&G. From most things I’ve read and seen it seems like the marginal benefit does not match the increase in monetary cost, but would like to hear more about what exactly is being “improved”. Again, still plan on getting 1 pair, but I also feels as though in some ways it might be better to just take more time, save, and enter the bespoke world (the cost and time to completion is higher, but to the extent one has to wait and save more anyway, why not go for something made for you?).

GREAT Post. Thank you, I appreciate your thorough and precisely worded posts (very helpful and enjoyable for the reader).

Alexander

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the response. That makes sense. I think you’ve convinced me to buy a pair of G&Gs first (or a couple), before ever going bespoke. I just meant that I’d almost rather only invest in a few pair of high end shoes, and invest in more bespoke options over the long run. My logic is similar to what you laid regarding buying better for less, in my case , here in the US, 1 G&G or Lobb Paris RTW is about half the cost of a bespoke pair (at least half the cost of the makers I’d want to go to, Nicolas Templeman and Ramon Cuberta in Spain, actually closer to 2/3 the price of Cuberta). At the point that I’m spending that much it makes sense to just pause, and take the step to bespoke.

However, with that said, I see the case for at least getting a couple pair of high end shoes first (who knows, maybe I get “hooked” there in terms of RTW).

I suspect that I’ll have an easier time buying higher end and bespokes shoes than suiting. Since I’m in CA, because of access, and the lack of bespoke suiting options (outside of the occasional trunk shows) I’ll likely start off by pairing my higher end shoes with Pini Parma, Suit Supply, and Spier and Mackay Suits (with the occasional MTM from Hemrajani Bros/MyTailor.com) and Burgos bespoke shirts (for better or worse, bespoke suiting lies much farther outside my price range for now, need to save better, or get paid more – I suspect, a bit of both). Thanks again.

Alexander

Agreed, the gap between shoes will likely be longer. Makes sense to wear GG for a year before making the jump.

Also agreed on upping my suit game. My next step in suits will be an MTM one from Hemrajani Bros./MyTailor. Judging from what I’ve seen from both Kirby Allison and Style Over 50’s Instagram page, and my experience with their MTM shirts, they would be a considerable step up* – and likely pair well with G&G and bespoke (further down the line), at least until I can get access (and afford bespoke) to a bespoke option.

The dream would be a Chittlebrough & Morgan, Michael Brown, or Kathryn Seargant suit….but I may have to wait a while for that (unfortunately working as Political/Policy staff doesn’t pay too well while one is young, despite what tv and movies would suggest – I must be doing this public service thing wrong).

***Though the world of suits also has high-end RTW, it seems to me that MTM like Hemrajani Bros/MyTailor provides a good upgrade. Understanding that generally speaking bespoke>MTM>RTW AND Good RTW> Bad/Mediocre MTM and Bad Bespoke AND Good MTM > Bad Bespoke…..it seems (again from my shirts, Kirby Allison, Style Over 50, and Style Forum) that Hemrajani Bros./MyTailor will serve as a good upgrade from my current suits and a better value proposition than say RTW Ralph Lauren Purple label, or Ring jacket.

I know this is another long comment, but really
1) thank you for the engagement
2) your content really does inspire me and helps me as a consumer
3) Your coverage helped me find, and fall in love with, with Burgos – really like their styling and since I first got measured during my engagement trip last year will be in Spain often enough over my lifetime in case changes need to be made.
4) You’re super thoughtful and kind (I know of few others that get so in depth and discuss matters like manufacturing and sustainability – loved that series.
5) THANK YOU

Anonymous

Simon I had a beautiful pair of brown suede C & J Cavendish loafers that kept falling off my feet – despite attempts to place inner soles etc nothing really stopped this slipping around the heel. They were their default fitting E – last 325. My feet are a EE in width. I had to sell them in the end! I am hoping to source brown suede loafers through Carmina soon – any tips re which last/loafer from their range is more likely to fit or indeed from TLB if they are likely to be a better fit? Thank You.

Jonas

I haven’t tried them myself so can’t say for sure, but I’ve read that TLB’s Artista loafers are made on a regular shoe last (Goya) without modifications, which have improved fit for some who usually have problems with loafers coming off, they are a bit more difficult to get on your feet but stays on better.

Jonas 2.0

I have the Cavendish (325 last, E-width) and the Artista Penny Loafer (Goya, F-width). I take the same size in both.

In my experience, the Artista is snugger than the Cavendish, this is mostly noticeable in the heel and over the vamp/instep. The toe area less so, there is still plenty of room to wiggle your toes even though the overall width is slightly more narrow than the Cavendish. Lengthwise they are about the same.

Heel clipping is certainly less with the Artista. Tongue pads do help.

Just for reference – my Edward Green Piccadillies on the 187 last (E-width, same size as Artista and Cavendish) are even snugger than the Artista.

You can MTO the Artistas in E-width, though I guess that is risky if you haven’t tried them on first. Also, because the shape of the Goya last is very sleek as it is in F-width, going down in width might make it look even sleeker. The question is if you would like that style.

All in all, for my feet, the Goya/Picasso lasts of the Artista range are among the most comfortable RTW lasts.

Jens

Hi Simon,
thanks for the great review.
Would you say that the suede model in dark brown from your article in the goya last is too smart if worn with jeans and a sportscoat or jeans and a merino sweater due to the details like bevelled waist etc. or would that be possible to wear them with jeans?

Jackson Heart

Many of us are interested in the leather quality of a shoe in general because that’s what determines how good a shoe looks months and years later. All new shoes look awesome, in fact, all new clothes look good. This being said, why not start a new series called “One Year Later” or “Nine Months Later” (_______. Months Later”), where you do a follow-up article and critique the same items you presented when they were new; shoes, hats, jackets, whatever. This will tell us much more about the quality of items than the construction method or the brand name. Now, I know you don’t wear your clothes a lot because you have so many and may very well need to re-show some items “Three/five Years Later”. But this would be a welcomed series for many of us. Its visceral with me – ever since I was a kid, I’ve always hated new stuff. I used to intentionally scrape my new baseball cap on the cement to roughen up the rim and today I wear my jackets around the house to help break them in. New stuff feels stiff to me and high quality clothes tend to look better as they age. What do you think, Simon?

Jackson

I’ve already started reading them…..How could I have missed. thanks. They are wonderful very enjoyable articles!!!

Thompson

Simon, how did. you make sure that the sample you received wasn’t specially selected for your review but reflects the average quality of the production? Many thanks.

Garrett

Hey Simon,

This question is a bit tangential, but I haven’t really been able to wear any of my dress shoes, unsurprisingly, while working from home under lockdown.

I know some items fare better when they are worn regularly, but am not sure if this necessarily applies to shoes. Should I be adjusting a normal shoe care routine (regular moisturizing, polishing, etc). to reflect this fact?

John

I just ordered a custom pair of Artista loafers from TLB and honestly have never had such rapid and excellent customer service. I am generally a massive pain and emailed Toni a bevy of specific requests and questions. He got back to me within the hour for each one of them, even over the weekend (for instance, I asked if it were possible to have a more tapered/canted heel, to which he replied in the affirmative). Obviously haven’t received the shoes yet but his enthusiasm shines through in the service alone. I really wish them all the success in the future (I will definitely be doing my part).

Vinay

Hi Simon,
An interesting article, along with your article on more affordable shoe brands.
How would you position TLB Artista versus Carmina and C&J Benchgrade on an overall construction and quality scale? Would they be the same level in a like-for-like shoe compared to the two more established brands?
Thanks.

Vinay

Thanks Simon. So the quality is largely similar?

Just the finishing that makes it more dressy (e.g. fiddle back waist).

I would have thought C&J is a bit on the higher quality side than TLB?

Vinay

Thanks Simon

Vinay

Thanks.

Wong

Hi Simon. Thanks for your great review. TLB has a split toe derby (136 Artista) in the same last. Would it be causal enough for jeans? Thanks for your advice.

Alexander

I actually did have a follow-up (and will be brief this time) – how would you say G&G Classic Range compare to TLB, Carmina, and Crockett & Jones? About the same quality, or better?

Given the current 20% promo, thinking of starting off with a pair of G&G Classic range before making the leap all the way up the price ladder (safer way to nail down size as well given limited ability to try on shoes in California).

Abdul

I think TLB has truly shocked the market, especially the UK brands. I have around 30 pairs from EG, 9 pairs from G&G, 7 pairs from C&J and many more. I can firmly say that these companies in particular will be facing a lot of difficulties to stay competitive. The prices of EG have been substantially overinflated over the last decade while the quality control has clearly declined. As a matter of fact, the best EG pairs I have are the ones from 2008! EG and C&J capitalize on their legacy and old history and traditions much more than the quality that actually goes into their shoes. Companies that still follow this strategy will just disappear much sooner than they would otherwise expect.

Vinay

Simon. Given your large collection of EG shoes, have you noticed a decline or change in quality and construction over the years? Are your older models made and look better than your newer models?

Abdul

Sure. I will talk particularly about EG. Their broguing has become less crisp, less precise. Their signature calf leather quality has clearly declined except for their most popular models, i.e. black Chelsea, Galway, etc. The leather grain of my newer pairs is not as tight as that of my older ones. My older pairs have developed fine leather creases over the years that are almost nonexistent when I put the shoes on, while my newer pairs show deeper, more pronounced creases, even though they all receive the same shoe care. My older pairs feel firmer and more structured (something similar to what you would see in a pair of St Crispins if you know what I mean) than my newer pairs. That said, I am not saying that my newer EG shoes are of bad quality, not at all, but they definitely did not receive the same level of attention my older shoes did. All these changes and differences are much more visible when you have a few pairs at hand side by side as I am talking about fine details that may not be noticeable right off the bat. G&G is a lot more consistent and offer finer details and quality for sure.

Teo

I finally got a TLB Artista myself – a black cap-toe balmoral, which arrived a few days ago.

I can basically echo what Simon says in his review – it’s certainly a lot of shoe for the money. Very good finishing, especially around the heels and outsole edges, a beautiful last and outstanding customer service which somewhat compensates for the lack of ability to try the shoes on before buying. The heels are small and neat, closely cut, and have a nice taper (if one requests it via the MTO option) while the waist is very tight. The upper and outsole stitching is very decent too, despite some very minor issues here and there.

However, when I compare it to my pair of Edward Green Chelsea, there are certain areas in which the price difference becomes apparent. The EG is overall more structured, the upper leather is superior with much finer creasing (although the Artista certainly also does well in that respect), the stitching is tighter, the shape of the heel cups my foot better and the heel stack is more closely cut despite being more blocky.

The bottom line, though, is that the Artista certainly punches above its weight and is great value for money. The mere fact it stands up to comparison with a pair of shoes that are twice the price is a big testament to its quality. Overall very happy with it.

Anonymous

Just wondering how much you’ve worn these shoes over the last several months and how well they are holding up.