Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I received my second pair of black Park Avenues from the Jville store today, and they too have slight but nonetheless bothersome gaping. This is now my third pair in a row of brand-new, direct from AE Park Avenues that suffer from gaping. I'm rather peeved at this point, and frankly I'm ready to give up on Allen Edmonds altogether. I'm happy with my pair of brown Fifth Avenues that don't gape (and proves this isn't an issue of improper fit or my foot not being compatible with the last), but 0 for 3 on Park Aves is ridiculous. This isn't what I had in mind when deciding to drop some serious money on what is supposed to be the premier American-made men's shoe. It's rather unfortunate, because I otherwise really like the design and quality of the Park Avenue and many other shoes in the Allen Edmonds product line.
Mr. Grangaard, if you're still reading this thread, I encourage you to take care of the problem of gaping/bowing around the ankles once and for all, as you're about to lose me as a customer because of it. I normally wouldn't bother appealing directly to a CEO over such a matter, but you seem to genuinely care about complete customer satisfaction and perfection in quality of your product, which I really appreciate. I know I am not alone in the sentiment that this seemingly trivial issue ruins the otherwise beautiful look of your shoes. It's a shame, too, as I had my eye on quite a few of the shoes in AE's lineup to eventually add to my wardrobe. But if it's going to take 3+ tries to get a pair free of this construction defect every time I buy a new pair of AE shoes, then forget it. In my mind, part of the appeal of purchasing quality products such as Allen Edmonds shoes is knowing that it's going to be right the first time, every time. Not 25% of the time, which has been my experience.
I made one more request to Monica at the Jville store for another exchange, though I know by now she's probably frustrated with me. If this fourth pair of Park Avenues has the gaping issue, I'll disappointingly start looking elsewhere to fill my need for a black captoe oxford. Perhaps Meermin, Andrew Lock, or maybe I'll even make the leap to Alden. They seem to be able to make shoes that don't gape...
So in yet another installment of this saga...
I tried on my third pair of Park Avenues again tonight, the ones I complained about so vehemently in the post above. To my pleasant surprise, the gaping doesn't seem as bad as when I first received the shoes and tried them on, oddly enough. There is still a slight amount of bowing evident when I'm standing, but none when I'm sitting. At this point--after the fuss I made initially--I'm tempted to live with this pair as-is, especially as these are seemingly flawless seconds that I got for a great deal at $215, and I'm optimistic that after some time in shoe trees, the bowing issue will further alleviate itself. Here are some pics, the first one taken while standing-up, the second while sitting down:
What do the resident SF Allen Edmonds experts say? Is this slight amount of bowing acceptable? The shoes fit great, feel great, and look great, even despite the very slight amount of gaping, which I don't think anyone else will notice but me anyway. I think I've convinced myself to just be happy with these and move on, but I'm open to other opinions.
Edited by Flyswatter - 4/14/13 at 4:50pm