The Expert Blogger - Why You Need Them
Gaziano & Girling shoes

Lately, many individuals have shifted their ‘search of knowledge’ to forums instead of seeking it from trusted experts that have their own sites and usually a ton more experience than the average Joe. I guess in this age of quick, rapid information bombarding us every second of our day, few people want to actually take the time to read a 20-minute post that might actually vastly expand their knowledge and answer many of their present questions, as well as provide answers to future ones. Instead, they find the nearest forum, pose a question and get a plethora of comments, not answers, but ‘comments.’ On top of that, I am quite sure that most people want validation of their complaints when they find issues they perceive as unwarranted (nearly always in cheap shoes). And this is precisely where they go wrong, and the downhill slope of bad information and entitled consumers begins.

For example, this morning, I read a question from a customer that purchased a pair of Beckett & Simonon shoes, a sub-par brand IMHO selling the idea of handcrafted quality for $206. Typical of this newer American marketing rubbish brands (i.e. no middleman, high quality/low prices etc) that fools many by peddling ideas that are not even close to reality. And naturally, as one SHOULD expect from a brand selling the idea of ‘top quality’ for only $206, comes his pair with one side made just fine and the other made with what is obviously 3rd-grade belly leather.

According to the person, at first wear, the shoe wrinkled all over the entire upper creating a very unsightly look, and begins to ask on the forums if this is normal. As people love to give their opinions, which can often not be accurate, he received a huge amount of answers in which, maybe, a handful were eluding to the reality of the situation. But of course, those normally won’t be the ones the person wants to hear (few people appreciate the hard truth) and is often the case they end up listening to the people that say ‘ask for your money back, that is unacceptable.’ Which is a laughable response and simply proves that a lot of people have no clue what they are talking about. And this is why you need the blogger expert because this daily occurrence creates misinformed and overdemanding consumers with no basis to be demanding.

The Expert Blogger - Why You Need Them
TLB Mallorca Artista

And this is so prevalent on the forums and has been for many years. You find this all over Style Forum on the Meermin and Allen Edmonds threads. They are comedic. Even once on the Saint Crispin thread where a guy was scuffing his heels and complaining about the scratches. It was baffling, to say the least. Even more so the high-five commentary in agreement with his outlandish complaints. Few actually stood up and said, ‘hey man, ever stop to think that it was you doing the damage?’

A quick search on my blog or that of Shoegazing would have given him (first story above) the knowledge needed to understand why that is happening, and on top, learn that shoes made in South America using Argentinian leather (with no indication of construction on the site) for only $206 will clearly be selling lower grades of leather and not be able to offer the quality that is so cleverly shown on the site. ***Side Note: A factory will make pristine samples as they know that is what they need to make an order, but the larger production of the order will show the true quality. And samples are often used to create product photography. Don’t get fooled by shoes that look perfect in modern-day photography that uses Photoshop to touch them up.*** But going on the forums in the modern day of “Amazon thinking consumers” where people expect the quality of Diamond for the price of Copper will inevitably get you poor, inexperienced, and often inaccurate information. There will be people sharing good advice, but it so often gets drowned out in the sea of uneducated commentary.

The Expert Blogger - Why You Need Them
Edward Green found at Leffot

And while this might sound like a lash-out to all consumers, and/or the forums, it is not in fact. It is a lash-out to the bad commenters peddling garbage advice on the forums and hopefully, a reality check wake-up call for those honest people seeking good information but doing it in all of the wrong places. You need the expert blogger that has made it their purpose to go through all of the trial and tribulations of seeking that knowledge in order to share it with the masses. It’s all good getting all of the opinions that you can, but the issue is when you stop at the inevitable bad opinions that are always ‘that is unacceptable, get your money back.’ Unless you have a unanimous turn out of that same comment, chances are that is not the correct answer and there are a ton of factors that make up the correct answer or advice needed.

Some of the most notable bloggers who give good, honest advice, are as follows

  1. Shoegazing – like myself, but goes way more in-depth than I do, explaining every detail
  2. Permanent Style – focuses more on high-end menswear all around, but Simon has vast experience and knowledge of not only shoes but clothing, in general
  3. Parisian Gentleman / Sartorial Talks – Hugo is a legend in menswear, and also, while focusing on higher-end stuff, has posts about all brands
  4. Kirby Allison – like myself, Kirby runs a video blog but also sells his own stuff. He is consumer and owner in one and has been at it a long time

When needing answers to questions, utilize these blogs, as well as my own of course, before going to the forums. Once you read a bit from one end of the spectrum, then go to the forums and get the other ideas. Then use critical thinking to assess the plausible reality of the situation. But chances are, finding the best answer on the forum will be difficult as it will often provide you conflicting information. And there are a ton of knowledgeable consumers sharing their time and opinions on the matter. Make it a point of recognizing who they are and listening to them. And worst case, post a question on a Shoe Snob Blog Post, and either I or another reader will do their best to answer.

Pictures have nothing to do with the post.

The Expert Blogger - Why You Need Them
J.FitzPatrick Shoes

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22 thoughts on “The Expert Blogger – Why You Need Them”

  1. Peter Harrison

    Thank you, Justin. As usual, your information is valuable and should be heeded. I’m always a little bummed out when I see a question on a forum about how to restore a shoe. Almost inevitably, the first or second comment is “First, strip the shoe.” Sometimes wax, sometimes dye also. People are also quick to recommend Swedish baths and saddlesoap scrubs. I wonder how many decent shoes have been ruined by insane advice.
    Thanks again,
    Peter

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      My pleasure and thank you Peter for always supporting. And yes, the shoe care advice is the worst. I do not get it at all!

    2. Jesse Gaarenstroom

      I’m interested to know where you would start with restoring a shoe Peter. I know it’s not a matter of ‘one size fits all’ but it sounds like you know what you’re talking about

  2. shoe creasing is bad… well… it depends on creasing… same brand can use different leather and get different creasing! and so far my “best” creasing has been on a pair of meermin museum calf, and a pair of meccariello, and my worst on a yeossal and a pair of trickers.. I can instagram you pics if you would like to see.
    shoe gazing? good stuff.
    permanent style?really good stuff IF you can read between the lines. can’t exactly take a 300£ shoe review at face value from a guy who wears 5000£ shoes.
    Kirby? hahahaha! “reviews” and videos masked as advertising. fun to watch occasionally but as a “serious” reviews? don’t make me laugh!

  3. Agreed, its the blind leading the blind. People always recommend going for the nuclear option because “it worked for them once”. People are just lazy, and unwilling to read a full comment despite having all the answers there. They want answers that are one line long, devoid of any context, reason, technique or steps. And there are people who own G&G, Edward Green and other $1000+ brands just to flex and have others grovel at their feet.

    More pressing is the increased number of snowflakes out there. Just because someone says things who don’t agree with their world view means that he’s wrong, egotistical, arrogant, snobby (pun unintended) and must be blocked. While wrong opinions do need to be called out sometimes especially when it might ruin good shoes, they get facts mistaken for ego trip. I’d say, let them be in their own echo chamber, and you continue on your journey to make men more enlightened about shoes! Thank you so much for teaching me and changing my views on shoes!

  4. Funnily enough I read that post on facebook. Actually the leather on that pair was of very poor quality and not even worth to be on USD 206,00 pair shoes. If i remember correctly the poster claimed to have 200+ pair of shoes and majority of the answers came (along the lines of what you are saying were) from people with large collections.

    You would though that they would knew better.

  5. Hello Justin,

    As usual your posts bring some light in these times when people hear what they want to hear and avoid the hard work that is needed to acquire knowledge to make better desitions or to stop whimpering because something has gone in an unexpected way.

    Cheers!

  6. I oredered two different times and received the wrong size each time. I ordered size 12 American and received size 45 style 2527 and American size 12 and received 46 sty 46 BP l-1-06. My name is John A. Linehan 110 Ella Kinley Circle Unit 404 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29588 1-7048418993 Please contact me about how to exchange Thanks

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Which company do you think that you are writing to? This is a blog. At my shoe company, you are not a customer and at The Marketplace, I do not recognize your name in our orders so again, who do you think that you are contacting with these comments? I will not call you so best you leave a follow-up comment or else this will go unresolved

  7. Justin

    I agree with your first point about uninformed opinion.

    The gaping hole in your argument that we should ‘rely on expert bloggers’ is that you and most of the sites mentioned above take payments and discounts for the products you review.

    You dont declare it explicitly either.

    Serious publications expressly forbid this practice because is is viewed as a conflict of interest.

    I am sure you will respond that your opinion is impartial etc etc but if that were the case why not say so on line 1 of the article so that readers can judge for themselves?

    Take it from me that I discount your opinion as a result and read this blog for entertainment but never for advice.

    I also explicitly avoid brands that participate in these infomercials and strangely enough my shoe collection is better for it.

    I dont wish you bad, I just wish you better 🙂

    Over to you …..

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Your assumptions could not be further from the truth, to be honest. Love that you withheld your details as well. Appears to be ulterior motives behind your comment then you ‘wish me better.’ I bet your name is Stephen, although in your next comment you will definitely deny it. But you and I know the truth.

      I don’t take payments for blog posts, nor does Jesper or Simon for that matter. We have people that pay us for the adverts they have on a daily basis on our site. I would think that anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together would probably find that obvious. We might also take free products, mainly to test them and write about them. Being that I have my own brand, I don’t actually keep any of them. Therefore, I have no reason to be selling my soul for ‘free goods and/or payment’ as neither sways me to break my integrity. I started this blog talking a lot of trash about what I did not like. Now I tend to focus on what I do like. I get tons of brands looking to be unboxed or send me stuff for review. Naturally, you only think you know based on what you see, but don’t know the reality of how many brands I turn down as I can tell they already do not meet the standard to be on my blog and I do not take ‘free stuff’ just to rip it to shreds. That wouldn’t be very nice. As per your other statements, see below

      Serious publications expressly forbid this practice because is viewed as a conflict of interest.

      — Name one serious publication that does not have advertising? The fact that I own my own brand and talk regularly, promoting my direct competitors breaks your idea of a conflict of interest. Clearly you are so ill-informed that I believe your comment here is really just to get a rise out of me. It won’t work.

      I am sure you will respond that your opinion is impartial etc etc but if that were the case why not say so on line 1 of the article so that readers can judge for themselves?

      — anyone who uses common sense and knows my blog longer than 5 seconds knows that I write the truth. I built my entire presence on that. And the fact that I write about my biggest competitors in a positive light and most of them pay me to advertise their brand, shows that I am impartial as I do not sacrifice the good the industry for the good of my brand.

      Take it from me that I discount your opinion as a result and read this blog for entertainment but never for advice.

      — great, I could care less

      I also explicitly avoid brands that participate in these infomercials and strangely enough my shoe collection is better for it.

      — again, are you the only person in the world whose opinion I should value?

      I dont wish you bad, I just wish you better

      — you are not fooling anyone

    2. Me again!

      After seeing the shredding you gave the guy that posted above me that disclosed his full details I am going to continue to with hold mine : )

      I see you have explicitly stated that your ACME review pair was free on you latest review. Kudos to you for dong that – and for publishing my original comment too.

      I also wanted to thank you for responding to me in such a fair minded and courteous way and being so open to feedback.

      Nah, just kidding : )

      I have no problem with advertising as I can judge it for what it is – a paid opinion, not advice.

      I have a big problem with reviewers giving advice about free samples without disclosing that they are free because I cant judge it for what it is – a review with the distinct possibility of impartiality.

      Here is why:
      1. This blog is a big part of your toolkit to publicize your brand but you want advertising revenue and you can’t attract new viewers by writing about your own shoes only so you need to review shoe from others too.
      2. Buying shoes to review to drive people to your site is expensive.
      3. Free samples lower your costs and allow you to publish more articles and drive more eyeballs and advertising revenue
      4. People won’t give free samples unless they are expecting something in return like a favorable review right?
      5. If you give consistently negative reviews, people stop sending you freebies and your business suffers

      Imagine if you went doctor and he only gave detailed advice about the samples he got for free – without telling you that was what he was doing?

      If he won’t pay for the samples himself, why is he recommending it to others?

      1. Justin FitzPatrick

        The guy above that I gave a shredding to? You mean the spammer that keeps leaving this junk comment and doesn’t reply to my attempts at figuring out what he is talking about? Should I just respond kindly to people that clearly spam me?

        Responses to your statements below:

        I have no problem with advertising as I can judge it for what it is – a paid opinion, not advice.

        I have a big problem with reviewers giving advice about free samples without disclosing that they are free because I cant judge it for what it is – a review with the distinct possibility of impartiality.

        —notice you how put ‘I have a problem’ twice there? Again, this is your problem. Assuming the rest of the world is like you, is a mistake. Most bloggers are not buying what they are reviewing. I would have thought common sense would have figured that one out. And if they do buy it, then it will be heavily discounted. It’s rare that a blogger makes enough money to afford what he reviews. That is quite a rule with few exceptions. So maybe if you switched your thinking to assume that it was free, you might stop having ‘Your Problem’

        Here is why:

        1. This blog is a big part of your toolkit to publicize your brand but you want advertising revenue and you can’t attract new viewers by writing about your own shoes only so you need to review shoe from others too.

        – Wrong. My blog WAS the main driver of traffic to my brand, years ago when I was building my brand. My brand has since been grown by other bloggers, word of mouth and naturally through search. It is 8 years old now. I no longer rely on my blog to build it. So your theory is quite outdated, unfortunately. Also, I do not ‘need’ advertising revenue. I never sought it out. People came and still come to me. But yes, I do need to get paid for my time as my blog is something that I do in my spare time outside of running my company. I value my time and should get paid for it if being asked to do extra promotion. I worked for free for years while building my name. Now it is time to reap the benefits of my hard work. Lastly, the unboxing videos do not drive the most traffic to my site. Long, educational posts about shoe care, rants, and written shoe reviews do.

        2. Buying shoes to review to drive people to your site is expensive.

        —no kidding. Again, I don’t need to ‘drive traffic to my site’. It’s organic. I keep doing this job for the people that appreciate it that count on me to give my opinion because it’s the one they trust and that is why brands want to send me shoes, because they know that.

        3. Free samples lower your costs and allow you to publish more articles and drive more eyeballs and advertising revenue

        — my costs? My costs of what? Your assumptions are very strange.

        4. People won’t give free samples unless they are expecting something in return like a favorable review right?

        — Wrong. Again, I do not take shoes that I know are crap. And if there are issues, I point them out. But I write/talk about the higher end of the industry. The ‘flaws’ are few up here. And I don’t care what people expect, my reputation was built on saying what I think. The brands know that I am honest and if there is something wrong, it will be stated.

        5. If you give consistently negative reviews, people stop sending you freebies and your business suffers

        — Again, wrong. I built this blog by being crass, negative and horrible. Read my old articles. People thrive on negativity, which is sad really. I got tired of being like that. But that is how I built the biggest shoe blog in the world. By being negative.

        Mr. Not Stephen, assumptions are the main culprit of ignorance. You talk a lot about what you don’t actually know through gross assumptions. I am unsure of how long you have known this blog, but you should probably do some homework.

        As I have dedicated enough time to respond to you, I will say that I won’t again. I see now there is no real merit behind your assumptions. Just incorrect accusations.

        Lastly, what is so funny about your doctor example, is that is actually what happens regularly and I am sure you have been a victim of that. Doctors are the bloggers, Big Pharma is the brand giving free product in exchange for your so-called favorable review.

        1. Stillnotstephen

          Justin,

          Thank you for giving me the right of last reply.

          There is a lot of noise in your rebuttal but you have missed the key point.

          The problem I have (yes, my problem, have never suggested it is universal) with an expert blogger taking free samples is EXACTLY the same problem I have with doctors prescribing medicine from suppliers giving them discounts and free holidays etc.

          The product is not strong enough to compete on its own merits so Big Pharma gives out free samples, discounts, paid holidays to conferences etc

          The doctors are incentivized to push the product. Their advice is becomes impartial.

          The solution is the same in both cases – find a better doctor, read a better blogger.

          Unsubscribe : )

          1. Justin FitzPatrick

            It is you who missed but all points. But I digress. Best of luck finding a blogger that you enjoy. Please do not return here. Good Riddance.

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Welcome to The Shoe Snob Blog! 

This blog was created to not only show the journey of one man who wanted to make the shoe industry the best it could be but also the share all of the knowledge gained along the way. 

Ultimately this blog is about seeing men wearing better shoes through education and sharing what is out there that deserves recognition. 

Click the link to read more about me and my journey to make this all happen!