Alden chukka vs AE Amok review (Click to show)
I anticipated purchasing the Alden 1493 and AE Snuff Amok to compare colors. Your price comparison is $460 for a pair of the Aldens, to $250 for the Amoks. Factory second Amoks would be $199. I can tell you that I've never spent over $220 on a pair of shoes before, the Aldens were a big jump for me...
I did not end up purchasing the Snuff Amok. After receiving the Alden, I compared to my olive Amoks and found the following:
1. The quality of the Alden suede far surpasses AE's suede quality. AE's suede isn't horrendous by any means, but Alden's is truly buttery smooth. My AEs have only had about 4 wears so far, and there's already some marks that I know I'm gonna have a difficult time removing. And they've been babied, in my opinion. (Note that I did not clean these up at all before snapping the pictures below). I feel I can confidently say that the Alden suede is going to hold up much better in the long run.
2. There are subtle differences in the shape of the shoe. You'll notice that the AE is a bit more pointy in 2 aspects. First, in the overall shape, the toe is a tad bit more pointy. Secondly, the AE's cut a bit more pointy or forward where the quarters (??) meet the vamp (??) (somebody correct me if I'm using the wrong terms...). The Aldens round downward at this area, and I personally prefer the rounded shapes of the Alden more.
3. The Alden has a small heel support on the insole. At first, it was annoying...felt like a big piece sticking into my foot. But comparing back and forth between the Amok and the Alden, the support is helpful and more comfortable. As soon as I got used to it, I tried the Amoks back on and if felt like I was now missing something. The support makes a difference in daily walking.
4. Better appearance of "layering" in the heel. See side-by-side pics for what I'm referring to...
There aren't many other differences to speak of. They both are 2 eyelet chukkas with an oil soaked sole and split-reverse welts. The shape and the suede quality were my 2 big factors between the 2 shoes.
So, regardless of the price, I ended up keeping the Aldens. My thoughts can be summarized as this: Nobody besides you, the wearer, is going to recognize the differences in these shoes. They honestly look nearly identical. If the little things change your opinion though, you're going to struggle with the AEs after trying the Aldens. The Aldens are just a bit nicer. Are they worth an extra $210-260 over the AEs? No, not really. The AEs are far and away a better value. But, to me, the details made enough of a difference that I knew I wouldn't be truly satisfied with the AE version and I'd always be wanting the Alden pair. I hope this helps anybody who's been on the fence one way or the other. If you have money to kill, try the Aldens (I didn't, but hey..finances be damned..). If you don't, please please please go with the AEs.
I've included some pictures below. Again, these are the olive Amoks versus the snuff Aldens, and I had originally planned to try the Snuff AEs until I saw the differences above... Pardon the crappy cell pics. Lastly - please note that I am normally an 8.5D in AE. I took an 8E in the Aldens. Feel free to PM if you have any questions about either of these.
mcass - thanks for that informative write up on the Amok vs Alden's suede chukka. It helped to clarify a lot of things I had already suspected, but it was nice to see it articulated like that. I tried an Amok from an AE outlet, and I liked it a lot, but I'm not sure the sizing will work for me. I tried a 12D but it was too tight in the toebox, so I'm going to try a 12E, but that might be too wide in the heel. Probably a 12.5 would work better, but I'm not sure AE makes that size in the Amok. Since you said the Alden has a more rounded toebox, that may fit my foot better. I'll definitely give it a try if I can't get the AE sizing to work.
The AE outlet near me finally got the snuff suede Amok in 12E that I wanted to try on, but they don't work for me either. 12D was too tight in the toe, 12E was too wide in the heel, 13D was too long and generally too big all around, and 12.5 doesn't exist in this shoe, outside of a special order size I suppose. I guess this shoe probably isn't going to work for me, so I think I'll try the Alden, which I know are available in a 12.5.