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all pictures of shoes by Roberto Ugolini
all pictures of shoes by Roberto Ugolini

Dear Readers,

I hope that you all had a lovely long weekend (for those whose country celebrates Easter) and if not, at least had a nice, normal weekend. Today I want to talk about what I and many of the other bloggers out there do. This is not a rant per se, but more of an education as to what we do in order to provide all of you good content to read. What springs this to mind is the fact that time again I have heard people rant on about how blogger’s get this and that for free and how that will affect their judgement. So, I will write about how I go about things, a manner in which I am sure other bloggers with integrity follow as well.

Let me start off by saying that bloggers don’t make money, not a lot at least. Sure, I earn about 60-100 a month from those Google adverts. But more importantly they keep me strong in SEO and in Google’s good books, which is by far more important. The other advertisers that I have have usually pay me in product. On occasion I did not want the product so I charged them. But as a small business owner who knows what it’s like to build something from scratch, I would rather offer the chance to exchange product to another small company than charge them a fee as I know for a fact that it is more beneficial for them. But other than that Google advert and the here-and-there payment from advertising, I don’t personally earn anything from my blog.

Now I started my blog to educate people, to create a source that people could go to in order to gain insight into the industry and learn about all of the different makers out there. A place where they could trust the word that I write and know that if I say something that it is coming from the heart and not from any outside opinion. Part of writing the blog is doing reviews on the products themselves as many of you whom may trust what we say want to hear our opinion on the matter. But if we don’t make a lot of money from our blog, how do you expect us to pay 300-1000 for a pair of shoes, a suit, an expensive Smedley jumper, a Mackintosh or any other the other expensive men’s articles of clothing (not to mention bespoke)? We can’t, plain and simple. Unless of course we have a high paying day job and the blog is nothing but a hobby. But even still, one would have to be uber wealthy to keep up with the content of a blog written daily.

love this sole! bespoke of course
love this sole! bespoke of course

That being, we get free stuff. Deal with it. It’s called marketing. Brands give us stuff to write about. In turn we make a piece that can help you decide whether or not you like the product. Sure there are bloggers out there who are skewed by the brand and only praise them. But I am not one of them and a lot of the bloggers that I promote and share their posts are not either. We try to be as honest as we can. I always make a point to show the flaws and I never let the brand read the post before it is posted on the blog. They are treated like everyone else. But some shoes have no flaws, like most G&G’s and the Aubercy that I wrote about. It was a perfect shoe. To lie and create a flaw would just be silly. So of course the review seemed like nothing but praise, but should it not be for a shoe that costs upwards of €850? And no, I cannot afford a bespoke G&G, but that is the prize that I get in exchange for advertising their banner for over a year now.

So, bear in mind that when you are next judging a blogger on the fact that the stuff he gets is for free, that it is to make it so that you have something to read. And for my specific case, I don’t keep 80% of the shoes that I am given so why would it skew me into writing only good things? Not to mention the fact that I turn down many many offers to review a brand, because there is no point in thrashing something that I know that I won’t like anyway.

Have a great week and remember to send me your pics for a chance to win some free shoes!!

And yes, on another note, if you happen to be curious about suits, my good friend Hugo Jacomet of Parisian Gentleman just wrote a massive review about all of the brands out there. See it here:


Justin, “The Shoe Snob”

Courtesy of Claymoor's List
Courtesy of Claymoor’s List

10 thoughts on “The Blogger – His Role”

  1. How refreshing to read Justin – a number of readers have accused me recently of bias and I have to recite, time and again that I receive no free product, I have to date paid for all those products which I have reviewed, and I only write about products which I take a genuine interest in or approval of!

    So lovely to have another blogger champion our cause!

    Many thanks,


    1. dear aleks, thanks for your response…but don’t be afraid to take free product….these people can’t expect to be able to pay for everything, especially as we don’t get paid to write!!

  2. Nice honest post. I think most of us can work out that some bloggers are being an honest reviewer and some are in it just for the free stuff. Which is fine because they have worked hard for Nil to build up a readership and now can reap the rewards, but be honest and upfront about it.

    I think some blogs tend to give you the impression that they are off to the tailor for a bespoke 3 piece every few weeks. I don’t actually think that’s fair on the readers. Especially some that go from reviewing RTW clothes/ suits and alteration tips one year to £5000 bespoke suits the next.

    Writers of blogs for high end suits, shoes, watches etc should be there to give an honest review so when average earning mortals save up for a year just to be able to buy a pair of G&G’s (like I had to) they know they are investing their money in a product that is actually worth while rather than on the word of someone who’s opinion is being bought.

    A good honest blogger should also never have to justify their free stuff. I think a bespoke pair of shoes is a small price for hundreds of articles and free advice… even if we all do get a little envious.

  3. Just wanted to say I was one of those guy who were educated through this blog. For years my only source was department store website which had the same ol same ol shoes. Thanks to this blog I now know better 😀

  4. I don’t understand why anyone would be offended if a blogger received free items in exchange for reviews, since these reviews work like “honest advertisements” (not the case if said reviews are biased though, which is definitely not the cause here).

  5. Your candor is appreciated Justin. I can’t get my head around those who contribute absolutely nothing to the discussion of fine footwear, save to lauch specious (and invariably anonymous) attacks on someone like you who contributes so much.

  6. Problem with this approach is that like it or not, if someone gives you something for free you are going to find it difficult to be impartial as you have just taken something of value from them. You are also skewed into coverage of certain things which are offered to you free .. so you cover G&G many times, perhaps deciding they are the best out there, but perhaps don’t cover some other brand who hasn’t offered you a pair of shoes to review.
    At least you have been open about it though, unlike others who pretend they are providing impartial guidance (Permanent Style being the worst offender IMO). You’ve declared your interest so readers can make their decisions with their eyes wide open. In addition, you cover other makers of shoes who are in competition with your own brand which is obviously a generous thing to do.

    1. i can understand what you are saying, but I in my case I dont agree as my integrity held in the readers mind is more important to me then what the companies think of me….plus I don’t hardly keep any of the shoes, only the best ones and I would not have much bad to say about them anyway as most of their shoes are flawless….as they should be at +£800

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