Pros: -Extremely comfortable and supportive, versatile, quiet
Cons: -Profila binding, waviness in leather, poron insole can change fit
I love simple plain-toe shoes, especially in browns. I had already purchased the original Allen Edmonds Leeds shoe in black, and was very pleased with them. But I wanted to get a pair of the 2.0's in walnut because of the versatility of the shoe. I found my pair on Ebay for a pretty good price, although you could definitely do better than I did.
Well, let's talk about the good things. The walnut color is gorgeous, and Allen Edmonds adds a really nice touch of burnishing on the ends of the shoe. These look excellent with slacks and jackets, but also work really well with jeans. You could get away with them with some suits, granted you wear the right color (not black, obviously).
Allen Edmonds changed several details to the new Leeds, and one of these was adding the poron insole. Well, actually, I'm not sure it really is the poron. It feels more like the foam insole that was used in the Clark Street shoes. The Leeds 2.0 insole lays more flat than the poron insole that its used in the Wilbert Comfort Shoes. However, this detail doesn't matter too much, because the end result is that it is very comfortable. The combination of the double leather oak outsole and poron insole makes this shoe extremely padded -- it almost feels like wearing a boot. These are also butyl leather soles, making them more water-resistant, although I would probably not reach for these on a rainy day (I don't want to damage them). The shoe is built like a tank, but not too heavy.
The fit is mostly true to size. The original Leeds is true to size, but the 2.0 is just slightly more snug in the toe box area because of the poron insole. The arch fit feels the same as the original Leeds, as does the heel. I wear 8 D in 90% of my AE shoes, and this size fits pretty good for the Leeds 2. If the original Leeds fit roomy, then the 2.0 could work in the same size. But some people would be better going up 1/2 size in the 2.0 because the poron insole reduces the toe room. This is one of those situations where you just need to try on and compare. The heel does fit slightly wide on the 511 last, so keep this in mind if you have a narrow heel like myself. The 2.0 is also very stiff. It takes a long time for the shoe to become more flexible and totally break-in. There is instant comfort out-of-the-box, but you have to wear them at least 20 times for upper to adjust to your feet. The shoe is also less loud than the original Leeds, but I'm not sure why.
Now, let's get to the flaws. First off, the poron insole makes the shoe hotter. On those 90 degree Summer days, this might not be the shoe you want to wear. But on the other hand, this makes for a great cold-weather shoe.
The most obvious change was the removal of the old-fashioned piping. This can be seen on most Allen Edmonds dress shoes like the Park Ave, but the company has in recent times, opted for the more raw-edge profila binding. While some people may not care about this detail, I think it makes the shoe look less clean. It also picks up lint and makes the shoe look rougher over time. I assume this is a cost measure Allen Edmonds has taken, as I don't know many people who like this raw binding over the original binding. The other problem with this is that Allen Edmonds has not yet perfected it like other shoemakers have. Compare the Leeds 2.0 to the Loake Aldwych, which uses the exact same piping. If the company could find a way to make it look like the Loakes, I would not mind it. On the other hand, few people would even notice this from a distance. Enough about the profila binding.
The last flaw worth mentioning is that there tends to be a waviness in the leather on the upper on the inside of the shoe between the heel and ball. I have noticed this is a very common small flaw on the new Leeds. On my original Leeds, this problem does not exist.
Some people do not like the 511 last because it is fatter or less sleek than other lasts. While it may be true that the 511 is not the best last for a sleek look, I'm not going to criticize this shoe for being slightly fatter. I honestly think the Leeds looks sleek enough from a distance. I admit that I prefer the 108 and 65 lasts, as my foot is an 8.25 C, but I have no problems with the Leeds. I should also mention that even though the Leeds looks wider, it is not roomier in width in the toe area.
Bottom line is that this is a great plain-toe shoe if you don't mind the issues I mentioned. These are one of my main shoes in my seven-man rotation because of the look, comfort and versatility. I hope this was helpful, and thank you for taking the time to read this.