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Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread - reviews, pictures, sizing, etc... - Page 1900  

post #28486 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by green garden View Post
 

How does AE Walnut compare to Ravello?

It depends, because shell varies from both AE and Alden. In my case the Ravello has no red undertones at all and are identical to my AE Walnut Dundees. I can not tell them apart on the shelf unless I take them down and look for 2 eyes vs. 3 eyelets.

Ravello far right, 3 Walnut shell to the left. And of course over time and with UV exposure as mentioned all brown shell changes color.

post #28487 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by deburn View Post


Those rubber toe taps look extremely sleek compared to the typical ones you see (the ones with 3 nails in them). What are these called and where do you get them? Also, if you could post a pic that shows the toe tap, that would be great. Thanks!

 

Not really sure what they're called. There's some letters stamped on the rubber -- VKL -- but I don't have any idea what they stand for. Unfortunately, I'm currently on a trip and this is the only picture I currently have that shows the taps. I can probably take a closer shot once I get back. So let me know if you still want to see those. And oh, my local (Japanese) cobbler installed them.

 


Edited by jasonmx3 - 9/8/13 at 8:45am
post #28488 of 70737
Dropped by Nordstrom Rack and found these on clearance for $99!

My first pair of suede shoes, the AE Player's shoe in bitter chocolate.



The only defects I found were in the stitching of the welt, which will disappear with the first recraft.

Looks great with jeans, and the suede feels very supple and soft compared to my calfskin shoes (I have this shoe in walnut calf, too).

Very happy with this purchase.
post #28489 of 70737
That looks really sleek, I agree. Some Internet research says VKL might stand for a brand called "Village Klean"
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonmx3 View Post

Not really sure what they're called. There's some letters stamped on the rubber -- VKL -- but I don't have any idea what they stand for. Unfortunately, I'm currently on a trip and this is the only picture I currently have that shows the taps. I can probably take a closer shot once I get back. So let me know if you still want to see those. And oh, my local (Japanese) cobbler installed them.


post #28490 of 70737
Has anyone achieved a spit-shine on a pair of Bayfields? I have been trying for ages but to no avail. Only the slightest hint of shine appears on the toe. Is this a property of chromexcel leather? The waxiness and slight roughness means that a spit-shine can't be done? (i've done spit-shines on smooth (ie non chromexcel) calfskin shoes of many different makes so it's probably not a problem with my technique).
post #28491 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonmx3 View Post

Not really sure what they're called. There's some letters stamped on the rubber -- VKL -- but I don't have any idea what they stand for. Unfortunately, I'm currently on a trip and this is the only picture I currently have that shows the taps. I can probably take a closer shot once I get back. So let me know if you still want to see those. And oh, my local (Japanese) cobbler installed them.



Thanks Jason. They look great - so much sleeker than . No need for another pic, but if you could find out where your cobbler gets them that would be great
post #28492 of 70737

A question about sizing down for the 3 last. If I fit perfectly as a 8.5E in the 5 last, should I go 8E or 8EEE in the 3 last? The store I visited only had 8.5D in store for me to try in the 3 last, and it was way too long and narrow

post #28493 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAdam View Post

Hey, everyone. What makes a shoe recraftable? Does it need to have a Goodyear welt? Right now all of my nice shoes are AE but there are a few gaps that I'd like to fill that I haven't found in the brand. I see some styles from other lower-quality makers like J&M, Cole Haan, etc. that I like. However, I don't want to buy something that I'll need to throw away in a few years. With that being said, I may only wear these styles every now and again so if something catches my eye I'd like to grab it. But, I still want something that I'll be able to renew when the time comes. On J&M's website they list the shoes that are repairable. When I'm in a store how do I tell? I live near an outlet mall with Florsheim, J&M, Cole Haan and at the Bloomingdales outlet I see To Boot and others. I often see things that are aesthetically pleasing but how do I know if the quality is decent?

Thanks!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post
 

They are nothing like the same quality, and AE can be found just as cheap.  Check the outlets, and also go to the store to know your size 100%.

 

After which, take NewShoes1's advice and look around.  Forget Cole Haan, J&M and other nasties.  There is a world of reasonably-priced shoe wonders out there.  Here's some previous advice:

 

http://www.styleforum.net/t/79716/ask-a-question-get-an-answer-post-all-quick-questions-here/22605#post_6451546

 

http://www.styleforum.net/t/79716/ask-a-question-get-an-answer-post-all-quick-questions-here/22635#post_6453044

 

As for being able to repair shoes, all shoes can be repaired in theory.  But a goodyear welt is designed specifically to make this easier: to put it simply, without the welt, every time you changed the outer sole, you would damage the insole a bit, and eventually need new shoes.  But with the welted shoes, you damage only the welt, and when that's gone after a few times, you can change that.  Which in turn damages the insole, but less often.  It's effectively a multiplier on how often you can re-sole a stitched shoe.  Incidentally, "goodyear" refers to the method of machine stitching it on, but now tends to cover any welted shoe, colloquially.

 

And the reason you want a stitched shoe is that the sole won't fall off.  With a glued shoe, it will, sooner or later.  Simple as that. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAdam View Post


Thanks for the responses and links. To be clear, I appreciate the value of well-made shoes which is why I own 6 pair of AE. I was mainly trying to understand how one could determine if a shoe was in fact Goodyear welted just by looking. As you pointed out in your post to which you linked, as you experienced, sometimes it can be difficult. For a shoe that I may wear only occasionally (black cap toe, for instance) one of the J&M Goodyear things may be a viable option.

I'll check the links to the retailers you posted as well. I'd love to check out some Loake, Meermin, Carmina, etc. however I just haven't found any place to try them on. Any ideas? I live in the Boston/Providence area. I could take a chance with eBay or one of those retailers but it may cost me some money to get it right. As mentioned, my feet are a bit odd so I'm looking for all options for decent footwear.

Appreciate the response and making me now think of dick skin every time I see a cheap pair of shoes.

 

The issue with repairing "cheap" shoes definitely rests with the cheap materials that they are made from.  As others said, any shoe is "theoretically" repairable.  However, the cheap materials that most modern shoes are made from make them more disposable than repairable.  Often, the low quality leather deteriorates just as rapidly as the sole.  Thus, when the sole is ready for replacement, the rest of the shoe looks so bad that it just isn't worth it.  Similarly, insoles in cheap shoes are frequently made from fiberboard, which is nothing more than a composite of paper and fiberglass.  Fiberboard does not respond well to moisture (it responds similarly to cardboard or masonite siding on a house), so as your shoe soles get thin, wet pavement or rain gets water underneath the insole that begins to rot it.  You may have even experienced some moisture getting to your socks after wearing cheap shoes in a wet environment.  Generally, when a cemented shoe is repaired, the old sole is ripped off (assuming it isn't already falling off), which can damage the upper leather that is lasted underneath the insole before the outsole is glued on.  When the outsole of a cheap cemented shoe is ripped off, you run a substantial risk of damaging the upper leather, as well as changing the shape of the shoe (which will keep it from fitting properly afterword).  Also, if the moisture issue mentioned above has taken place, the insole can be severely damaged when the worn out sole is ripped off.  Another issue with cheap shoes is the rotting from the inside out.  Cheap leathers that are lacquered to correct their grain appearance don't breathe appropriately.  Thus, perspiration stays in the leather linings longer and deteriorates the inside of the shoe prematurely.  

 

What mimo said above about repairing Goodyear-welted shoes is true in theory.  For a Goodyear-welted shoe to be resoled more than ~4-6 times, you will need to have them resoled by someone other than the manufacturer.  This is because the manufacturers will replace the welt automatically.  Replacing the welt weakens the leather uppers every time it is done.  Think of it like perforated paper.  The more holes, the easier it is to tear.  When a new welt is put on the shoe, the needle that is securing the new welt to the leather upper punches new holes in the edge of the upper, weakening it further with each resoling.  Eventually the integrity of the leather upper is shot due to the amount of needle holes, and the manufacturer will tell you that they won't resole them.  To prevent this, you can have new soles hand stitched to the original welt, which will prolong the life of the shoe indefinitely.  Finding someone to do this can be tricky, but it can be done.  I believe that B. Nelson will do it if you don't have a local cobbler that is trustworthy to do it.  

 

Goodyear-welted shoes are able to retain their shape better during resoling.  If they are sent to the original manufacturer, then they will be put on their original last, which helps protect them from changing shape.  If they are sent to a trustworthy cobbler, and if the original welt is left in place during resoling, then the welt will keep them properly shaped.  

 

As far as determining what shoes are quality, you have to do your research.  I don't believe that Cole-Haan makes any Goodyear-welted shoes.  It is relatively easy to find out which ones are by doing research online before you go shopping.  Since Goodyear-welting has become the "gold-standard", it is often touted as a quality point by their manufacturer.  So, if they are, it will frequently say it in the description of the shoe.  Often, if the description doesn't say so, it's relatively safe to assume that it isn't (especially in manufacturers with multiple levels of quality).  A major exception to this is when you are referencing secondary retailers (department stores, online retailers, etc.).  Secondary retailers don't always go into construction details.  If all else fails, learn the ins and outs of Goodyear-welted shoe construction (easy to find online) and teach yourself what to look for so that when you are holding a shoe in your hands, you will know what you are looking at.  

 

Preliminary things that are easy to learn and look for:

 

1. Learn the manufacturers that make Goodyear-welted shoes, it'll save you time in trying to determine if a specific shoe is or isn't.  

2. When holding a shoe, determine if it has real stitching (thread) around the edges of the welt.  Often, fake stitches are used in really cheap shoes.  

3. If it has real thread, check to see if the thread is also visible on the bottom of the shoe.  Only higher end Goodyear-welted shoes conceal their stitches on the bottom (called channel stitching), whereas the more affordable Goodyear-welted shoes have visible stitching on the bottom (called "stitched-aloft").  If the shoe is below $400, with a couple of exceptions, like Meermin, it is likely to be visibly stitched aloft.   

4. If it has real thread and visible stitching on the bottom, make sure it matches on both sides (under the shoe and on the welt).  Make sure it is the same distance from the edge of the shoe on both the top and bottom.  Make sure that the number of stitches per inch match up.  If there is a small section on the bottom where there are a few extra stitches per inch, it will be the same on the top.  If a stitch is crooked on the bottom, often (not always) it will be slightly crooked on the top.  Obviously, if it doesn't match, something is wrong.  

5. Make sure the stitches go all the way to the heel.  Even in 270 degree welted shoes, the stitches should extend to the heel.  If they don't, it isn't Goodyear-welted.  

6. Make sure you don't see any stitches on the inside of the shoe that are going through the insole (if there are, it is likely Blake-stitched rather than Goodyear-welted).  Goodyear-welted insoles are smooth and stitch free on the inside.  

7. Flex the shoe in your hands.  Goodyear-welted shoes are very stiff when you are trying to flex them, whereas most other shoes bend much easier by comparison.  This is subjective and inconsistent, but it can be a good initial indicator when you first pick up the shoe.

 

I agree with others above who said that if you are only wearing the shoes on rare occasions, you can get away with cheap shoes to fill in gaps easier.  Be aware that some companies that make Goodyear-welted shoes still make them from cheap materials.  Johnston and Murphy is one of these (with the exception of their highest tier Crown Aristocraft examples such as the Georgetown II).  Lesser examples by J&M such as the Melton, and their Aristocraft line, may be Goodyear-welted, but they are made from materials that are more akin to cheap cemented shoes, and are made in places like India.  I say all this, because all too often Allen Edmonds makes it very worth your time and money to buy Allen Edmonds.  You mention Cole-Haan and J&M, which is why I've used them as examples.  So many of their shoes are priced close to Allen Edmonds, but are substantially lower in quality.  Just make sure you aren't paying a comparatively high price for a cheaper shoe when you may be able to get a nicer Allen Edmonds (even if you buy a factory second) for a similar price or only slightly more.  However, if the style is something you are in love with and it is only available in the lower quality option, then buy it if it suits you.  


Edited by MoneyWellSpent - 9/9/13 at 6:20am
post #28494 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamAdam View Post


I'm interested in doing that but those brands aren't all that easy to find (as far as I know) and I have goofy feet so I need to try them on. It took me three tries to get my sizing on the AE 5-last correct. For instance, these Cole Haan are $250. Are they "quality" and repairable? Will they last?

PS - I know that AE makes a similar monk strap but m just using as an example.

Thanks for the education.
http://www.colehaan.com/air-madison-monk-british-tan/C10242.html?dwvar_C10242_color=British%20Tan

 

The Cole-Haans in the link you posted are a perfect example of what I was describing.  See the "normal" looking stitches around the welt in the photo showing the top of the shoe?  Now look at the photo showing the bottom.  See the comparatively wide stitches in the middle (the waist) of the shoe?  They don't match in number of stitches per inch (not to mention the obvious fact that they only have stitches visible in the waist of the shoe, which is your next give-away).  Many Cole-Haans use this decorative stitching on the bottom (and many go all the way around), but it is always wider on the bottom than the top.  

 

I also think this is a perfect example of what I was saying about making sure you aren't paying too much for a lesser quality shoe.  This shoe is $250, but if you shop around, you will likely be able to get an AE monk strap for the same or less (you may have to buy seconds).  

post #28495 of 70737

^^ Exactly right.  As traditional shoe styles are very much in fashion, this fake stitching on the sole can lead you astray and is very common with high street and "fashion" brands at the moment.  The giveaway is normally that the stitches are rather long, whereas those on the supposed "welt", look tight and realistic.  In reality, they are glued together crap.

 

Even without buying seconds, AE regularly has clearance items a-plenty at that price.  And there are many other decently-made options, as mentioned above.

post #28496 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaceboFX View Post

Dropped by Nordstrom Rack and found these on clearance for $99!

My first pair of suede shoes, the AE Player's shoe in bitter chocolate.



The only defects I found were in the stitching of the welt, which will disappear with the first recraft.

Looks great with jeans, and the suede feels very supple and soft compared to my calfskin shoes (I have this shoe in walnut calf, too).

Very happy with this purchase.

Looks great! Great price. Send me a pm if you see any 9.5ds, lol.
post #28497 of 70737

This image of the new suede Strand on AE's website shows that they do have the Poron insole, like I feared.  :angry:

 

post #28498 of 70737

All Shell Cordovan seconds are on sale at the shoe bank for $299. Shirley was able to locate the MTO Walnut Shell Cordovan Macneils I had made over the summer that did not pass inspection. I can't wait for them to arrive. They have a brown welt, the ones I got I had them change it to a natural. She said she can't see why they are seconds. I am so excited, Walnut Shell for $299. :)

post #28499 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by GOP Shoe Guy View Post

All Shell Cordovan seconds are on sale at the shoe bank for $299. Shirley was able to locate the MTO Walnut Shell Cordovan Macneils I had made over the summer that did not pass inspection. I can't wait for them to arrive. They have a brown welt, the ones I got I had them change it to a natural. She said she can't see why they are seconds. I am so excited, Walnut Shell for $299. smile.gif

Wait, what?

Just when I thought I was done buying shoes for the year!

Did she say the dates for this promotion?
post #28500 of 70737
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post
 

The issue with repairing "cheap" shoes definitely rests with the cheap materials that they are made from.  

Great insight... (Click to show)

As others said, any shoe is "theoretically" repairable.  However, the cheap materials that most modern shoes are made from make them more disposable than repairable.  Often, the low quality leather deteriorates just as rapidly as the sole.  Thus, when the sole is ready for replacement, the rest of the shoe looks so bad that it just isn't worth it.  Similarly, insoles in cheap shoes are frequently made from fiberboard, which is nothing more than a composite of paper and fiberglass.  Fiberboard does not respond well to moisture (it responds similarly to cardboard or masonite siding on a house), so as your shoe soles get thin, wet pavement or rain gets water underneath the insole that begins to rot it.  You may have even experienced some moisture getting to your socks after wearing cheap shoes in a wet environment.  Generally, when a cemented shoe is repaired, the old sole is ripped off (assuming it isn't already falling off), which can damage the upper leather that is lasted underneath the insole before the outsole is glued on.  When the outsole of a cheap cemented shoe is ripped off, you run a substantial risk of damaging the upper leather, as well as changing the shape of the shoe (which will keep it from fitting properly afterword).  Also, if the moisture issue mentioned above has taken place, the insole can be severely damaged when the worn out sole is ripped off.  Another issue with cheap shoes is the rotting from the inside out.  Cheap leathers that are lacquered to correct their grain appearance don't breathe appropriately.  Thus, perspiration stays in the leather linings longer and deteriorates the inside of the shoe prematurely.  

 

What mimo said above about repairing Goodyear-welted shoes is true in theory.  For a Goodyear-welted shoe to be resoled more than ~4-6 times, you will need to have them resoled by someone other than the manufacturer.  This is because the manufacturers will replace the welt automatically.  Replacing the welt weakens the leather uppers every time it is done.  Think of it like perforated paper.  The more holes, the easier it is to tear.  When a new welt is put on the shoe, the needle that is securing the new welt to the leather upper punches new holes in the edge of the upper, weakening it further with each resoling.  Eventually the integrity of the leather upper is shot due to the amount of needle holes, and the manufacturer will tell you that they won't resole them.  To prevent this, you can have new soles hand stitched to the original welt, which will prolong the life of the shoe indefinitely.  Finding someone to do this can be tricky, but it can be done.  I believe that B. Nelson will do it if you don't have a local cobbler that is trustworthy to do it.  

 

Goodyear-welted shoes are able to retain their shape better during resoling.  If they are sent to the original manufacturer, then they will be put on their original last, which helps protect them from changing shape.  If they are sent to a trustworthy cobbler, and if the original welt is left in place during resoling, then the welt will keep them properly shaped.  

 

As far as determining what shoes are quality, you have to do your research.  I don't believe that Cole-Haan makes any Goodyear-welted shoes.  It is relatively easy to find out which ones are by doing research online before you go shopping.  Since Goodyear-welting has become the "gold-standard", it is often touted as a quality point by their manufacturer.  So, if they are, it will frequently say it in the description of the shoe.  Often, if the description doesn't say so, it's relatively safe to assume that it isn't (especially in manufacturers with multiple levels of quality).  A major exception to this is when you are referencing secondary retailers (department stores, online retailers, etc.).  Secondary retailers don't always go into construction details.  If all else fails, learn the ins and outs of Goodyear-welted shoe construction (easy to find online) and teach yourself what to look for so that when you are holding a shoe in your hands, you will know what you are looking at.  

 

Preliminary things that are easy to learn and look for:

 

1. Learn the manufacturers that make Goodyear-welted shoes, it'll save you time in trying to determine if a specific shoe is or isn't.  

2. When holding a shoe, determine if it has real stitching (thread) around the edges of the welt.  Often, fake stitches are used in really cheap shoes.  

3. If it has real thread, check to see if the thread is also visible on the bottom of the shoe.  Only higher end Goodyear-welted shoes conceal their stitches on the bottom (called channel stitching), whereas the more affordable Goodyear-welted shoes have visible stitching on the bottom (called "stitched-aloft").  If the shoe is below $400, with a couple of exceptions, like Meermin, it is likely to be visibly stitched aloft.   

4. If it has real thread and visible stitching on the bottom, make sure it matches on both sides (under the shoe and on the welt).  Make sure it is the same distance from the edge of the shoe on both the top and bottom.  Make sure that the number of stitches per inch match up.  If there is a small section on the bottom where there are a few extra stitches per inch, it will be the same on the top.  If a stitch is crooked on the bottom, often (not always) it will be slightly crooked on the top.  Obviously, if it doesn't match, something is wrong.  

5. Make sure the stitches go all the way to the heel.  Even in 270 degree welted shoes, the stitches should extend to the heel.  If they don't, it isn't Goodyear-welted.  

6. Make sure you don't see any stitches on the inside of the shoe that are going through the insole (if there are, it is likely Blake-stitched rather than Goodyear-welted).  Goodyear-welted insoles are smooth and stitch free on the inside.  

7. Flex the shoe in your hands.  Goodyear-welted shoe are very stiff when you are trying to flex them, whereas most other shoes bend much easier by comparison.  This is subjective and inconsistent, but it can be a good initial indicator when you first pick up the shoe.

 

I agree with others above who said that if you are only wearing the shoes on rare occasions, you can get away with cheap shoes to fill in gaps easier.  Be aware that some companies that make Goodyear-welted shoes still make them from cheap materials.  Johnston and Murphy is one of these (with the exception of their highest tier Crown Aristocraft examples such as the Georgetown II).  Lesser examples by J&M such as the Melton, and their Aristocraft line, may be Goodyear-welted, but they are made from materials that are more akin to cheap cemented shoes, and are made in places like India.  I say all this, because all too often Allen Edmonds makes it very worth your time and money to buy Allen Edmonds.  You mention Cole-Haan and J&M, which is why I've used them as examples.  So many of their shoes are priced close to Allen Edmonds, but are substantially lower in quality.  Just make sure you aren't paying a comparatively high price for a cheaper shoe when you may be able to get a nicer Allen Edmonds (even if you buy a factory second) for a similar price or only slightly more.  However, if the style is something you are in love with and it is only available in the lower quality option, then buy it if it suits you.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post
 

 

The Cole-Haans in the link you posted are a perfect example of what I was describing.  See the "normal" looking stitches around the welt in the photo showing the top of the shoe?  Now look at the photo showing the bottom.  See the comparatively wide stitches in the middle (the waist) of the shoe?  They don't match in number of stitches per inch (not to mention the obvious fact that they only have stitches visible in the waist of the shoe, which is your next give-away).  Many Cole-Haans use this decorative stitching on the bottom (and many go all the way around), but it is always wider on the bottom than the top.  

 

I also think this is a perfect example of what I was saying about making sure you aren't paying too much for a lesser quality shoe.  This shoe is $250, but if you shop around, you will likely be able to get an AE monk strap for the same or less (you may have to buy seconds).  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post
 

^^ Exactly right.  As traditional shoe styles are very much in fashion, this fake stitching on the sole can lead you astray and is very common with high street and "fashion" brands at the moment.  The giveaway is normally that the stitches are rather long, whereas those on the supposed "welt", look tight and realistic.  In reality, they are glued together crap.

 

Even without buying seconds, AE regularly has clearance items a-plenty at that price.  And there are many other decently-made options, as mentioned above.

 

 

MWS, thank you for the detailed response. I agree that $250 is too much for shoes like that as I got my McAllister and Strand firsts for $249 and $229 during sales. I appreciate the info so that I know what to look for and the comment about repairing makes sense. Even if a cheaper shoe can be repaired, the poor quality upper will make it not worth it.

 

Based on cost-to-value, style and customer service, I lean towards AE but there are a few things I've seen in other brands that I like so the education on what to look for is helpful. I know this is an AE appreciation thread but if anyone knows where to try on Carmina, Meermin, Loake, Tricker's, etc. I'd love to know.

 

Thanks.

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