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Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread - Page 2438

post #36556 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by markkohfm View Post
 

 

If you can't wait till V-Day, you could try to call the stores to see if they have they have them on sale and if there is a quantity you can buy to qualify for free or discounted shipping.

post #36557 of 46987

Just bought two pairs from AE so I can afford to wait. Don't think the number of new shoes will surpass the additional shoe trees I bought! But if you guys happen to see a sale for shoe trees going on, would very much appreciate a shoutout :fistbump:

post #36558 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by TM79 View Post


Why would you ask any of this when you seemed to reply so matter-of-factly while that conversation happened the first time around?

I don't remember this conversation happening before... What happened last friday (I think thats what you are referring to) was a different conversation as far as I'm concerned. I don't remember any of the questions that I asked yesterday being answered in last fridays "conversation." Maybe I just missed it, I don't know.

post #36559 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by bespoken pa View Post


IMO the seconds are an accepted trade off for the number of shoes they produce. I have been advised that EGs rejection rate is around 2%. EG uses much more handcrafting along the way. In addition their raw materials are much more expensive as such I am sure management frowns upon waste. Additionally I would bet EG discourages a seconds or subs market as it dilutes the brand. I was in CJ a couple of weeks ago and they were actually selling their subs in showroom which I found interesting. They had a few mto model rejects that were fairly unique.


Thanks for the info! I'd be interested in seeing just how fast it takes an Allen Edmonds shoemaker to put a shoe together. If I remember correctly they changed their processes so that one person puts one entire shoe together, whereas before, it was more of an assembly line type thing (one person is responsible for one part of the shoe). I wonder what effect this change in methods has on the final product of the shoes if any.

post #36560 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by NWTeal View Post
 

@chinngiskhaan regards to your question about the number and frequency of seconds, I have to raise the question regarding the competency and experience of those involved in AE's manufacturing process.

 

From my understanding alot of the common flaws from seconds and even firsts is that we see uneven pinking/stitching, crooked lasting and bulging. Bulging, I think has been discussed at great length, and the culprit seems to be AE's manufacturing process. Stitching, pinking and general crookedness is more of a user error from the shoe crafts(wo)men at AE in Port Washington or the Domican Republic.

 

Now I'm not sure if in the DR they do the pinking and stitching, but I do recall that the workers there do make the uppers which I'm assuming is also to cut the patterns. From what it seems like, that doesn't seem to be the majority of the flaws we see in AE shoes. For the most part, the clickers seem to be doing a fine job following the set patterns. I'd imagine this isn't where most flaws occur since it's like cutting around a stencil (to put it in very simple terms).

 

When the shoes are stiched, lasted and finished in PW, it seems like this is where there is the most room for error. This would mean that 1)  this job might be more difficult and subject to the skill and judgment of the crafts(wo)man, or 2) there are not enough workers to keep up with demand which leads to less time allowed per shoe and less attention to detail or 3) the skill level of the employees is not as good enough to consistently produce near perfect shoes.

 

My guess is a combination of all three, but one point I'd like to make that I think gets forgotten is that the ones making shoes at Vass, G&G and John Lobb are low volume and also very few and likely skilled craftspeople who have been doing it for years and maybe even as a family trade. My guess at AE is that alot of people are trained after being hired to work on the factory floor. I say this because I don't believe there is any way Port Washington has that many shoe makers who are experienced to keep up with the demand. I haven't visited the factory, but I have to imagine that not all the shoe makers are ones who've been doing it for 25 years or those brought up through apprenticeship.

 

I think AE is unique in that their employees likely are newer at the craft, more likely to have turnover, have less time per shoe than many of these other makers and thus could produce more flawed shoes per employee. To me, this is the nature of the business and the sacrifices AE has to make to meet the demand and the price point they wish to sell their shoes at.

 

This isn't a knock against AE, as I personally only own AE shoes. Not because I think they are the best out there, but I think they put out a pretty good product for the price, even at $345 (which I've never paid for). The others at this price range are either relatively new and untested (Paul Evans) or inconvenient due to lack of domestic presence (Meermin). I would eventually like to get some Carminas, Alden shells or C&Js but currently the value isn't there for me.

 

I think overall we're pretty critical of shoes on this thread and like they say, bad news travels faster and I'd say more pervasively than good news. For every one person here that posts flaws in their first quality shoes, there are probably many more shoes AE produces with no real issues. I would say that AE could do a better job with some of our special make ups and there seems to be a disproportionate number being sent back, but I think that making one off shoes in a different material than their stock catalog might be more difficult than we think.

 

This post went on alot longer than I originally planned and I rambled, but just my two cents on the whole AE flaws "issue". Also, I guess I started the whole debate a few days back about the acceptability of bowing with the post about my Delrays. Totally did not mean for that to happen....:stirpot:


Thanks! I think you've got a lot of valid points. It seems like maybe a combination of what everyone is saying. Like you say, clearly there is no way the AE craftsman are as trained as those that work on the higher end brands, and like others have said, it's not really in AE's best interest to hire the best of the best when it comes to shoe making because A. They make far more shoes a year than any of the higher end brands B. The materials AE uses are not as expensive as the materials used by the higher end brands C. AE's seconds market is a big part of their income, so they don't worry as much as the higher end brands do about a shoe being imperfect.

 

And yes, AE shoes are in my opinion more than acceptable at their price range, and like I said in my original post I personally have never had any issues with AE shoes, nor have I ever seen these issues in another persons shoes outside of the online realm.

 

I also liked your point about bad news traveling fast. I'm sure that the vast majority of their shoes are major flaw free.

post #36561 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinngiskhaan View Post
 


Thanks for the info! I'd be interested in seeing just how fast it takes an Allen Edmonds shoemaker to put a shoe together. If I remember correctly they changed their processes so that one person puts one entire shoe together, whereas before, it was more of an assembly line type thing (one person is responsible for one part of the shoe). I wonder what effect this change in methods has on the final product of the shoes if any.

 

I don't remember hearing that.  Any idea where you read it?  That sounds counterintuitive to me for what would make a better product coming from a company of their size.  Given their output, I'd expect an assembly line to be far more efficient.

 

If they have changed their methods, I think that may have a lot to do with prevalence of flaws.  At least until the person has several years of experience under their belt, and they can perform all the tasks will equal skill, they would end up being a "jack of all trades" rather than a master of one. 

 

Otherwise, I just ascribe most of the flaws to expediency.  They are trying to make so many shoes during a work day that they just rush through each process.

 

I think the employees are probably more trained than one may think, and most shoe companies (AE included) have a very loyal employee population.  AE pays very well for a blue collar company from what I've read, and they treat their employees very well.  Like any company, I'm sure their turnover rate is an issue to deal with, but they also have many "lifers" who complete an entire career and retire from the company.

post #36562 of 46987

Am I the only one who likes to wear shell in bad wear?  It cleans up so easily!

post #36563 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post
 

 

I don't remember hearing that.  Any idea where you read it?  That sounds counterintuitive to me for what would make a better product coming from a company of their size.  Given their output, I'd expect an assembly line to be far more efficient.

 

If they have changed their methods, I think that may have a lot to do with prevalence of flaws.  At least until the person has several years of experience under their belt, and they can perform all the tasks will equal skill, they would end up being a "jack of all trades" rather than a master of one. 

 

Otherwise, I just ascribe most of the flaws to expediency.  They are trying to make so many shoes during a work day that they just rush through each process.

 

I think the employees are probably more trained than one may think, and most shoe companies (AE included) have a very loyal employee population.  AE pays very well for a blue collar company from what I've read, and they treat their employees very well.  Like any company, I'm sure their turnover rate is an issue to deal with, but they also have many "lifers" who complete an entire career and retire from the company.


I read it on here. Though I could be completely mistaken. I remember hearing that it happened some time during the recession. I to wondered how this would save them money... Does anyone no the answer to this?  Did they change their ways? Or am I up in the night?

post #36564 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerpac View Post
 

Am I the only one who likes to wear shell in bad wear?  It cleans up so easily!

 

I'm wearing my shell strands today and it's raining pretty good in NY/NJ. I have a pair of shell PA's that have an older finish and they get the water welts like crazy but the newer shell seems to be fine in the rain. I used some Alden Leather Defender on them as well which helps. It also helps get a great glow on my shell shoes.

post #36565 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinngiskhaan View Post
 


Thanks! I think you've got a lot of valid points. It seems like maybe a combination of what everyone is saying. Like you say, clearly there is no way the AE craftsman are as trained as those that work on the higher end brands, and like others have said, it's not really in AE's best interest to hire the best of the best when it comes to shoe making because A. They make far more shoes a year than any of the higher end brands B. The materials AE uses are not as expensive as the materials used by the higher end brands C. AE's seconds market is a big part of their income, so they don't worry as much as the higher end brands do about a shoe being imperfect.

 

And yes, AE shoes are in my opinion more than acceptable at their price range, and like I said in my original post I personally have never had any issues with AE shoes, nor have I ever seen these issues in another persons shoes outside of the online realm.

 

I also liked your point about bad news traveling fast. I'm sure that the vast majority of their shoes are major flaw free.

 

I agree that much of AE's employee population isn't likely to have the training that those of the higher end brands may have, but don't carry that thought too far.  They are still Goodyear-welted shoes, made using the same type of machinery and overall processes.  The biggest difference comes from time spent per shoe, and quality of the leathers used.  After all, once the concept has been mastered, it is the two hands that are guiding the machinery that leads to the end result.

 

Under the often proclaimed "10,000 hour rule" of practice to become an "expert" at something, you will have many employees who have mastered their specific tasks.  I'd wager that if you took a veteran AE employee and had them slow down, and use the same quality components as a higher-end brand, you would probably be surprised at the quality of product they could produce.

 

None of this negates that Port Washington certainly doesn't have a "culture" of shoe manufacturing with families that are fully vested in the trade, passing down their skills to their children.  Northamptonshire in  England does have this culture, as do certain parts of Maine where the hand-sewn shoes are made (Rancourt, Quoddy, etc.).

post #36566 of 46987
Re: the JAB sales, look for a 70% off everything or (more likely) a buy one get two (or three) free sale on everything, not just a "shoe tree" sale.

In the spirit of posting pics if shoes (though I find the discussion if seconds and of AE manufacturing intriguing) here are my Chili Strands on their maiden voyage today. This color is so great in person, far better than pictures or the name suggest.
post #36567 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Septimus View Post

Re: the JAB sales, look for a 70% off everything or (more likely) a buy one get two (or three) free sale on everything, not just a "shoe tree" sale.

In the spirit of posting pics if shoes (though I find the discussion if seconds and of AE manufacturing intriguing) here are my Chili Strands on their maiden voyage today. This color is so great in person, far better than pictures or the name suggest.


nice!  I really like that color! I think I like those better than the walnut.

post #36568 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinngiskhaan View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Septimus View Post

Re: the JAB sales, look for a 70% off everything or (more likely) a buy one get two (or three) free sale on everything, not just a "shoe tree" sale.

In the spirit of posting pics if shoes (though I find the discussion if seconds and of AE manufacturing intriguing) here are my Chili Strands on their maiden voyage today. This color is so great in person, far better than pictures or the name suggest.


nice!  I really like that color! I think I like those better than the walnut.

 

Beauty.  I'm still torn between these and the merlot . . . I'll keep looking for more pics of both!

post #36569 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinngiskhaan View Post
 


Thanks! I think you've got a lot of valid points. It seems like maybe a combination of what everyone is saying. Like you say, clearly there is no way the AE craftsman are as trained as those that work on the higher end brands, and like others have said, it's not really in AE's best interest to hire the best of the best when it comes to shoe making because A. They make far more shoes a year than any of the higher end brands B. The materials AE uses are not as expensive as the materials used by the higher end brands C. AE's seconds market is a big part of their income, so they don't worry as much as the higher end brands do about a shoe being imperfect.

 

And yes, AE shoes are in my opinion more than acceptable at their price range, and like I said in my original post I personally have never had any issues with AE shoes, nor have I ever seen these issues in another persons shoes outside of the online realm.

 

I also liked your point about bad news traveling fast. I'm sure that the vast majority of their shoes are major flaw free.

 

I agree that much of AE's employee population isn't likely to have the training that those of the higher end brands may have, but don't carry that thought too far.  They are still Goodyear-welted shoes, made using the same type of machinery and overall processes.  The biggest difference comes from time spent per shoe, and quality of the leathers used.  After all, once the concept has been mastered, it is the two hands that are guiding the machinery that leads to the end result.

 

Under the often proclaimed "10,000 hour rule" of practice to become an "expert" at something, you will have many employees who have mastered their specific tasks.  I'd wager that if you took a veteran AE employee and had them slow down, and use the same quality components as a higher-end brand, you would probably be surprised at the quality of product they could produce.

 

None of this negates that Port Washington certainly doesn't have a "culture" of shoe manufacturing with families that are fully vested in the trade, passing down their skills to their children.  Northamptonshire in  England does have this culture, as do certain parts of Maine where the hand-sewn shoes are made (Rancourt, Quoddy, etc.).

 

I'd love to hear how Paul Grangaard would answer this question.  I suspect they aren't too worried about the number of seconds that result from their manufacturing processes.  Even if it turns off a subset of their customers, that group is probably pretty small and it seems likely they've taken it into account in their business model.

 

As an aside, I still have a dream in the back of my mind of moving up to Port Washington and starting a second career as an apprentice shoemaker . . .

post #36570 of 46987
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfnhalfnhalf View Post
 

 

I'd love to hear how Paul Grangaard would answer this question.  I suspect they aren't too worried about the number of seconds that result from their manufacturing processes.  Even if it turns off a subset of their customers, that group is probably pretty small and it seems likely they've taken it into account in their business model.

 

As an aside, I still have a dream in the back of my mind of moving up to Port Washington and starting a second career as an apprentice shoemaker . . .


+1 to that!

 

I have actually given serious thought to pursuing a career in the shoe crafting business. It's been an interest of mine since I was around 10 years old. I know a guy in Mongolia that makes shoes by hand. I plan to live there for a few years after I graduate. If he allows it, I would spend the majority of my free time following him around learning the trade.

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