300+ dollars for shoes is not cheap...Some of the seconds sales like the 2 for 250 etc are probably getting there though.
I don't think you understand how a normal distribution works.
AE as a brand is definitely like 1.5-2 standard deviations above the average dress shoe. The cheapest goodyear welted dress shoe I've found is made by johnston and murphy. It's entry level to the high end stuff. It's a tiny skinny tail from there on. If you look at the population of shoe wearing people or even dress shoe wearing people, then this is where they would probably fall.
This might help.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I agree. Out of everyone I see at work (and I travel to multiple client sites and have worked in two large cities), I will likely see maybe one person wearing what I would bet are goodyear welted. Everyone else is wearing square toed or beat up black loafers/derbies.
Also, Carminas are currently 325 euros for the cheapest pair and for the most part 340 or 400 plus euros. Converted to USD thats over 430 for the cheapest pair. It's not fair to compare.
Edit: I assume the VAT deduction would bring 340 euros down to be around $400 USD, more comparable. Likely better compared to the independence collection or aldens at that range though.