Sorry for your bad experience. I do think, however, that it is the exception, not the rule. I have an embarrassing number of AE Seconds and have not had to return a single one. It can be hit or miss, but based on my own experience and seeing the pics on here, I think is more often a hit
Alden will recraft with only the original sole type from what I understand. B Nelson here in NYC,however, is a great alternative with a much faster turnaround.As for the first part of your question, I am looking to pick up a pair in crepe but they're definitely less popular here with the SF crowd. I do have and love the double waterlock sole but crepe has to more comfortable for longer days on your feet.