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Allen Edmonds vs. Alden--Which American Great Do You Prefer?!! OFFICIAL - Page 7

Poll Results: Allen Edmonds or Alden!?

 
  • 45% (122)
    Allen Edmonds
  • 54% (149)
    Alden
271 Total Votes  
post #91 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaseousclay View Post


unfortunately, their costs will continue to go up. I remember when their shell cordovans used to be in the $500 range, now they're priced over $600. I ended up buying a pair of shell cordovans because I didn't want to wait and see another price hike go into effect. the upside with AE is that their prices remain consistent with only minimal price increases

I'm not sure how true that is for shell. Most AE shoes are $595 for shell, while Alden is $650. The price gap here is significantly less (especially in % terms) than between their calf shoes, which is like $345 vs. $475.

post #92 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

I keep hearing about Alden's higher quality, but no one seems to be able to articulate just what this is (with the exception of the shell finish). I admit that I don't see it. The leather does not appear to be a higher quality, nor do the last shapes appear more elegant (or whatever term you want). Am I missing something?

PS: I totally understand buying Alden if there is an Alden shoe that AE really doesn't make, but I am talking about very similar shoes, e.g. short-wing balmoral (AE McAllister).

ps2.jpg

you're right, aethetics are going to be subjective but i've yet to see anything by AE that looks as good as the above Alden straight tip balmoral from Leather Soul Hawaii
post #93 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

I keep hearing about Alden's higher quality, but no one seems to be able to articulate just what this is (with the exception of the shell finish). I admit that I don't see it. The leather does not appear to be a higher quality, nor do the last shapes appear more elegant (or whatever term you want). Am I missing something?

 

PS: I totally understand buying Alden if there is an Alden shoe that AE really doesn't make, but I am talking about very similar shoes, e.g. short-wing balmoral (AE McAllister).

 

That seems to be the general theme of this thread, with a few exceptions.  Those who stick to their feelings that Alden is better don't seem to be able to say why. 

post #94 of 203
Aside from shell cordovan which Alden has the clear advantage, the Alden calf and suede shoes/boots I own are much softer/finer than AE leather/suede. There is no 'break-in' period with any of my Aldens, they are comfortable from day one. As for shoe designs, which is subjective, the 6 eyelets and short cap-toe on the Park Avenue just looks off - Alden 907 looks much more balanced. Both the 5 and Hampton lasts appear sleek and appropriate for a cap-toe balmoral.
post #95 of 203

For what it's worth, here are my objective criteria for determining a shoe’s quality, ranked in order of importance to me:

 

Availability of lasts that fit my feet properly. (Tie)

 

Uppers made of Shell Cordovan or top quality, fine grain Calfskin with no use of corrected grain leathers. (Tie)

 

The upper material must also be skillfully processed and deeply finished so it can take a shine well.  I've also found that the rich patina of most finely made uppers improves over time.  However, these qualities can’t be accurately assessed until I’ve owned a particular pair of shoes for a while. (Alden’s finishes beat AE’s finishes overall in my opinion).

 

Durable leather outsoles with open channel stitching and dovetailed leather heels nailed with pins. (Alden)

 

Welted construction with relatively discreet stitching. (Tie)

 

Soft leather insoles and stitched glove leather lining. (Alden)

 

Longevity – given proper care and rotation. (Tie)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

I keep hearing about Alden's higher quality, but no one seems to be able to articulate just what this is (with the exception of the shell finish). I admit that I don't see it. The leather does not appear to be a higher quality, nor do the last shapes appear more elegant (or whatever term you want). Am I missing something?

 

PS: I totally understand buying Alden if there is an Alden shoe that AE really doesn't make, but I am talking about very similar shoes, e.g. short-wing balmoral (AE McAllister).

 

Quote:

 

Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post

 

That seems to be the general theme of this thread, with a few exceptions.  Those who stick to their feelings that Alden is better don't seem to be able to say why. 

post #96 of 203

I have tried for years to find an AE shoe or last that I like, but to no avail.  I find their sizing to be inconsistent... I'll try a Strand at one store and 10.5D would seem to work well.  A week later at another store, the same size and same shoe would feel too small and narrow.  I am a huge LWB fan, and in this regard there is absolutely no comparison.  I want the McNeil bc they look good and are significantly cheaper than Alden, but have not been able to find the right size (I've tried them all; that last is horrible)... I have one pair of AE, Auburn (short wingtip blucher).  They look good, but for God's sake they are terribly uncomfortable after a couple hours of wear.

 

Every time I think I'm going to buy an AE and save some money, I decide that it's far better to have one pair of Alden that look great and feel comfortable ALL day long, than to have two or even three pairs of AE that look pretty good but aren't that comfortable and have lasts that are difficult to size.  I never thought leather soled shoes could be so comfortable before I found Alden.  Clunkier and heavier?? Maybe, but if you compare similar models with similar soles, I don't think so.  Alden does have sleek lasts and rounded clunkier ones; but so too does AE with comparable models.

 

The Alden pricing does stink, but I think anyone that values solid construction, comfort and style will tell you that's what you're paying for... with all three criteria, that's why you're paying more for Alden in comparison to AE.

 

Final two comparisons... dressier boots by FAR have to go to Alden.  Shell finishing and offerings unequivocally go to Alden.  Not sure you can find an AE aficionado that would disagree with these last couple, but I could be wrong. Any takers?

post #97 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReppTiePrepster View Post

I have tried for years to find an AE shoe or last that I like, but to no avail.  I find their sizing to be inconsistent... I'll try a Strand at one store and 10.5D would seem to work well.  A week later at another store, the same size and same shoe would feel too small and narrow.  I am a huge LWB fan, and in this regard there is absolutely no comparison.  I want the McNeil bc they look good and are significantly cheaper than Alden, but have not been able to find the right size (I've tried them all; that last is horrible)... I have one pair of AE, Auburn (short wingtip blucher).  They look good, but for God's sake they are terribly uncomfortable after a couple hours of wear.

 

Every time I think I'm going to buy an AE and save some money, I decide that it's far better to have one pair of Alden that look great and feel comfortable ALL day long, than to have two or even three pairs of AE that look pretty good but aren't that comfortable and have lasts that are difficult to size.  I never thought leather soled shoes could be so comfortable before I found Alden.  Clunkier and heavier?? Maybe, but if you compare similar models with similar soles, I don't think so.  Alden does have sleek lasts and rounded clunkier ones; but so too does AE with comparable models.

 

The Alden pricing does stink, but I think anyone that values solid construction, comfort and style will tell you that's what you're paying for... with all three criteria, that's why you're paying more for Alden in comparison to AE.

 

Final two comparisons... dressier boots by FAR have to go to Alden.  Shell finishing and offerings unequivocally go to Alden.  Not sure you can find an AE aficionado that would disagree with these last couple, but I could be wrong. Any takers?

Aldens for me, for much the same reason: fit.  I have three pairs of AE in my normal size, on three different lasts, all of which are too tight in the toe box, so much so that they are unwearable.  I have tried on several other AE lasts, with the same result.  Alden Hampton and Plaza, however, do not have this problem, and I can wear them all day.

 

I see no real difference between the two brands in quality of materials or construction.  Alden has the cachet, I suppose, but I personally could not choose on the basis of any objective criteria.  I just wish AE fit me, because they're cheaper.

post #98 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by stant62 View Post

Aside from shell cordovan which Alden has the clear advantage, the Alden calf and suede shoes/boots I own are much softer/finer than AE leather/suede. There is no 'break-in' period with any of my Aldens, they are comfortable from day one. As for shoe designs, which is subjective, the 6 eyelets and short cap-toe on the Park Avenue just looks off - Alden 907 looks much more balanced. Both the 5 and Hampton lasts appear sleek and appropriate for a cap-toe balmoral.

I am curious why it is claimed that "Alden has the clear advantage" when it comes to shell. The fact of the matter is that both Alden and A-E get their shells from Horween Tannery. The claim that is sometimes made that Alden gets better or more choice shells than A-E is pure nonsense! It has been widely believed in the forum culture that Alden re-dyes Horween's #8 shells to give them a deeper color, but I don't know if this has ever been officially confirmed by Alden. My source for most of this is my very good friend the eminent holstermaker Greg Kramer, who also works in shell and is friends with the Horween familiy.

As to the perennial "A-E vs. Alden" debate, since I have never owned any Aldens, I can't really speak with authority. Aldens seem like very nice shoes, but I have never seen anything in them that would induce me to pay a substantial premium over A-E, especially since a goodly percentage of my A-Es were purchased for $129 and sometimes even less, back in the halcyon days of A-E's outlet in Cabazon.

About the only exception would be in formal shoes. There is a Brooks-Alden patent-leather bal that sells for $343 the last time I looked, while the only thing A-E has in patent-leather is a blucher, for some odd reason (although I think this is required in some U.S. military full-dress uniforms).
post #99 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post


I am curious why it is claimed that "Alden has the clear advantage" when it comes to shell. The fact of the matter is that both Alden and A-E get their shells from Horween Tannery. The claim that is sometimes made that Alden gets better or more choice shells than A-E is pure nonsense! It has been widely believed in the forum culture that Alden re-dyes Horween's #8 shells to give them a deeper color, but I don't know if this has ever been officially confirmed by Alden. My source for most of this is my very good friend the eminent holstermaker Greg Kramer, who also works in shell and is friends with the Horween familiy.

As to the perennial "A-E vs. Alden" debate, since I have never owned any Aldens, I can't really speak with authority. Aldens seem like very nice shoes, but I have never seen anything in them that would induce me to pay a substantial premium over A-E, especially since a goodly percentage of my A-Es were purchased for $129 and sometimes even less, back in the halcyon days of A-E's outlet in Cabazon.

About the only exception would be in formal shoes. There is a Brooks-Alden patent-leather bal that sells for $343 the last time I looked, while the only thing A-E has in patent-leather is a blucher, for some odd reason (although I think this is required in some U.S. military full-dress uniforms).

 

I'm not replying in defense of Alden, because I really do consider myself neutral in this arguement (I think there are pros and cons to both companies making me neutral on average), and I agree completely that AE is the better value overall.  That said, I think most anyone can tell that the colors really aren't the same (Alden Color 8 vs. AE Burgundy), which means that have to be adding dye at the respective factories.  Besides this visual evidence, AE did confirm that they changed their finishing for their shell last year, and the shell shows a marked improvement in appearance since then.  Additionally, the Alden Factory Tour video by Epaulet actually does show them putting dye on their shell.  Do a google search to bring up the video and watch it if you haven't seen it.    

post #100 of 203
^The "Color 8" designation is actually Horween's, and the same shells are purchased by both A-E and Alden for their burgundy shell cordovan shoes. It is interesting that both companies are now touching it up. Shell, because of its impermeability, tends to take dye unevenly.
post #101 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post

^The "Color 8" designation is actually Horween's, and the same shells are purchased by both A-E and Alden for their burgundy shell cordovan shoes. It is interesting that both companies are now touching it up. Shell, because of its impermeability, tends to take dye unevenly.

 

Yes, that is correct.  Color 8 is Horween's name, but Alden tends to retain that name for their "burgundy" colored cordovan shoes.  The dye that Alden adds to it makes it more of a purplish eggplant type color, while AE's has traditionally been a more muted pinkish burgundy color.  AE's new dye is much closer to Alden's finished product. 

post #102 of 203
Thread Starter 

Any chance of revival for this thread?

post #103 of 203
Quote:
Originally Posted by JermynStreet View Post

Any chance of revival for this thread?

 

There is as far as I'm concerned!  We just need a new subject to debate. fight[1].gif

post #104 of 203
Refurbishing?
post #105 of 203
Thread Starter 

Well I've never actually gotten anything refurbished by Alden so I can't attest to that. I can say that my AE PAs that I got refurbished recently were goregous. They basicaly got every single wrinkle out and made them look almost good as new.

 

One other topic I'd like to return to is the issue of construction and finishing. In my mind, I really believe that AE has superior construction. I think that their shoes don't wrinkle as much or as often, their patterns are designed better, and they just have an overall better fit versus aldens. I said earlier that Alden shoes can become bulbous at the toe after just a few wears. Additionally, the gimping on the sides of the wing looks gnarled and when the shoe is flexing, it looks as though its going to burst at the seams. I haven't run into this problem with AE and believe their quality control is far superior.

 

One thing I will say about Alden is that it just seems to look like a premium product. Something about the finish on Aldens when they first come out of the box just makes the look like they were well put together. I think it is at this point where most people who end up choosing alden are convinced. thoughts?

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