I just got a pair from the clearance and the left shoe has tiger striping top and side. Must be hard to deal with when you're having leather sourcing issues (AE makes a LOT of shoes) and have to deal with the inherent issues of a natural material like that.
@middlepP I understand the grumpy. I'm in the same boat. I really like the shoes I have, but I just got another pair of firsts that probably shouldn't be considered first quality. I haven't decided whether to send them back, yet, but I shouldn't have tiger striping on a first quality shoe. Also, the pair I ordered at the beginning of November came in structurally poor (extreme bowing at the throat), the in-stock that they had didn't pass inspection, so now I'm waiting another month to get some made. Four attempts at firsts with five returns is not a good ratio.
Oddly, both my gambles on seconds came up with really nice shoes. Go figure. And I get plenty of compliments on my AEs, the ones I have kept being really excellent shoes that I am sure will last me for a decade or more with an occasional resole.
On the positive side, my Rogues were looking dry and I got my hands on some Bick 4. Absolutely fabulous results when I cleaned them up last night. The formerly somewhat dry leather just glows like new, and the color didn't darken at all. It's raining cats, dogs, and a few other species right now and I'm really bummed, as I want to wear them out and about!
I'd tried VSC on a different pair at someone's suggestion, and it really darkened the walnut color noticeably. Luckily I like where it ended up, but the Bick experience was really satisfying, getting the things cleaned and polished properly. Like you spend some time then when you're done you have a whole new pair of AEs you want to show off again.