So, I received my first pair of AE today. I was looking for some casual shoes that I could beat up and look better with some patina. I ordered the Lubbock as it seemed like a nice casual shoe for $200
It is what it is. The finishing was just passable. I understand that it is supposed to be a rough-finished type shoe but glue drips and stains on the leather from where the patina was added are a little rougher than what I am used to. The last is nothing special--a little blobby but better than some AE and Alden I have seen. However, the fit is not quite right. The heel is a bit too big and even with the buckle clamped all the way down there is some slippage with my foot wanting to come out. It may have to do with the elastic behind the buckle (why would they do that?).
Anyway, it seems like my first foray down market is going to be a return.
If a person is in the game long enough, QC issues can come from just about anywhere - and I have had my share with AE. As of late I experienced it with C&J burgundy shell cordovan captoe boots from BB (Peal & Co.) - retail $998. They arrived at my door with numerous nicks, scratches, etc. And worse yet was that the finish on the upper near the top of the boots was literally rubbing off. Yes - they were promptly returned. That was my first bad experience with a C&J product.