Originally Posted by mafoofan
"Sleek" is like "slim-fittnig" in that both tend to be very one-dimensional aesthetic judgments. Most of the forum gets hung up on those sorts of overly simplistic metrics (arm hole height is another favorite). In truth, a shoe's aesthetic character is defined by much more than how "sleek" it is. For example, a shoe can be very low-profile (hence, sleek), yet have very little shape or be shaped inelegantly. Even more low-profile AEs tend to lack shape and have odd proportions. They're very snouty compared to Aldens, for example. Sure, one can argue that the differences are subtle, but that is going to be the case with almost all things discussed on the forum.
Now that you mention it, I suppose I would classify my Bel-Airs as "snouty," if I'm understanding how you use the term. They're still a pretty good-looking shoe to my eyes, and I think the Delrays have a pretty well-balanced shape. And yeah, obviously if someone wasn't interested in getting into subtleties most others would find trivial, they should not be on this forum. As far as Alden, I think the question is whether the subtle differences you allude to are worth the price premium. I'm not sure I've ever seen Alen's calf offerings on sale for less than $300 per pair, whereas AE can be had regularly for around $150.