Originally Posted by northamptonshoes
As an English shoe enthusiast from London (and seller) new to styleforum, may I ask how these American brands such as AE compare to the British made shoes? Perhaps the styling is more contemporary in a lot of cases but are they made very well? I may order some to the UK to see for myself. Where can one buy them at a fair price? Oh and I can get wide fit shoes easily for all Northampton makes but certainly it is the medium/ average fit that most people have here. Many thanks.
AE generally speaking is excellent value for the money if you can get it on special offer or discount, which means a price of $100-$200. Closeouts/2nds can go as little as $99 from the AE store on ebay or direct from the factory stores (who do mail order as well) Used ones on ebay can go for as little as $50.
Construction unfortunately is not 100% consistently good...more like 80%. I've found that the stitching on the ankle portion of the shoe to be uneven on 1 pair in the store and in another, the glue had been sloppily slapped on the leather insole. Minor quibbles if you can get it for a good price though. AFAIK, all of them are goodyear welted in a channel.
Their appearance can depend on the model as well. Pictures can be deceiving. Most of the newer models are built on the 0 or 8 last, which are a little more contemporary. The more traditional ones are built on the 5 last, which can be a little staid.
The leather is quite good in most cases though. Thick, built to last, lovely feel, takes a good shine. My brown Moras are the simply the best shoe I own.
Comfort wise - no problem. All my AEs are delights to walk in and I think it's hard to find many unhappy customers with respect to shoe comfort.
Sizing - I'm lucky to have very typical feet so my size has been consistent across all the different models I've tried.