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Allen Edmonds 2014 Quality and Service? Not my first impressions....

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I've been a lurker for some time and appreciate all the advice and information...

 

I've finally started upgrading my wardrobe and opted to pick up a pair of the Allen Edmonds Harrison shoes as my first relatively expensive pair of shoes. Nice leather, they offer a square cap toe bal oxford, sounded perfect for my needs especially after reading some of the praise for their products and service on this site.

 

I wish I could say I was on board after my experience and I'm curious as to the sentiment of members on this board. The short-"ish" version of my story first and then my questions...

 

I went in store to purchase these shoes after seeing them online and liked them, unfortunately they didn't have my size available so they offered to have a virgin pair made for me and sent to my home, an offer I readily accepted and for which I paid full retail. I was told it would take 3 to 4 weeks for my shoes to arrive.  Four days later a package from Allen Edmonds arrives at my home. The shoes that arrived were absolutely horrendous, not one or two issues, but 8 or so immediately visible defects as can be seen in this album:

 

http://imgur.com/a/AC5ec#0

 

I was obviously upset and immediately documented the issues and emailed customer service to give voice to my shock and disappointment; these were clearly not first (or even second) quality and they definitely were not a 'fresh' virgin pair as they were shipped the morning after I placed my order.

 

Fast forward a couple of days, I get a less than extremely apologetic email from customer service with a terse apology and an offer to have a new pair made and sent to me.... that's it.  I took the way it was written as "sorry we tried to screw you, and you caught us, we'll do what we should have done the first time now".  No other expression of regret or compensation for this incident.

 

So.... I say all of that to say... is this what you all are seeing as the new standard of quality and service from this incarnation of AE after being bought out?  Is it worth allowing them to simply replace them or should I push harder for compensation for the wasted time and aggravation?  

 

It sounds as if I'm not better going to Alden (the Independence vs. reg Alden shoes are the same cost so that isn't a consideration) as they have the image of having quality issues as well.  Also, before anyone suggests it, I'm in Atlanta so a C&J isn't exactly an option for me until I make a trip to NYC, we're limited here (GA) on what's available to us.

 

Thanks for your thoughts and happy to learn and be a part of SF.

post #2 of 13
Welcome to Styleforum NickinAtlanta.
It appears that most of the issues come from their buffing process, where the brush wheels are hitting the last. The factory operator in question needs to apply less pressure when buffing. The sole edge issue is another matter. Have you not contacted Allen Edmonds directly first before posting your concerns here?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response, I did contact Allen Edmonds and their response was simply that they'd replace them, no more, no less. I have ordered the replacement and I'm holding my breath to see if they come in at a higher quality level.

 

I think my main concern is whatever happened, be it the buffing you've described or something else, someone still QC'd these and sent them to me as a first quality pair. That is what I was most upset about.

post #4 of 13
AE provides excellent customer service so rest easy. You're only upset because you are excited to start enjoying your shoes. I own many pairs of AE shoes and am very happy with my purchases. I am sure everything will work out fine for you. Keep us updated. wink.gif
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

I am sure you are correct... I went in yesterday to re-order the shoes and we'll see how they come out in about 3 weeks.

 

On a related note and in regard to your statement on customer service... I actually received a "care package" in the mail today from one of the store managers who assisted me in ordering the shoes at my local store.  It contained a hand written note addressing the issue and expressing apologies as well as a not insignificant amount of free shoe care product for the trouble. This wasn't expected, especially in such quantity, so I have been so far rather pleased with the service response at my local location, if not with the service level of Allen Edmonds as a whole.

post #6 of 13
Good to read Nick. Thank you for sharing this update.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yet another update for posterity should anyone read this thread... my shoes came back in and looked perfect.  Wore them a day or two later and they creased across the cap toe; needless to say it was not the most comfortable day I've ever had in shoes.

 

I went back to Allen Edmonds yet again the next day to ask if they could do anything; my rationale was that either it was a defect in the cap or due to the Harrison being slightly longer than the rounded toe, the shoe was too long/sized wrong.

 

Without hesitation they offered to order me another pair in the original size and a pair a size smaller for me to try on the foot that creased on the cap. (I'd venture to guess they were so accommodating as they actually sized me for the shoes, I didn't just order them blindly myself, which I would say would be 100% my fault)

 

So...I still do not have my shoes several months later but its hard to be upset at how responsive they are in ensuring you are totally satisfied with your purchase.

post #8 of 13
Nick,

I think your experiences with AE has been less AE's quality or customer service, but just the normal pitfalls of ordering shoes that you haven't tried on beforehand. I regularly order MTO shoes from trunk shoes, and even though I only order MTOs on last I am familiar with, I hold my breath a little because you can never be 100% sure. But hang in there... you'll get it right!
post #9 of 13

There is definitely a problem with AE quality these days.  I've owned MANY pairs over the last 20 years but I've had a great deal of trouble lately.  Similar issues with clear manufacturing defects such as tongues cut too short, heels and soles popping over prematurely and also the same crease in the toe cap that the original poster mentioned. 

 

In comparing new shoes with the toe cap crease to older shoes of the same model, the reason for the crease became clear -- if you put your finger inside the shoe, and feel where the crease is, on the shoes with a crease there is a seam there that's causing the shoe to bend there.  On the shoes without it, there's no seam there.  So at some point they made a change in manufacturing that is causing this.  It's a shame because it makes a beautiful shoe look silly after a couple wearings.

 

In all cases the stores have been very helpful at getting them replaced, etc, but it's just getting old and I don't think I'll buy another pair.   Would be very interested to hear from other folks if there's a similar brand, even at a higher price point, that would provide the comfort and durability that AE had been known for previously.

post #10 of 13

A decade or so ago, I started lurking on SF (long before I joined) and one of the first things I came across were threads and posts about Allen Edmonds. Growing up, there was only one dress shoe in our household and that was Ferragamo. My father loved them (and had a large collection) and I simply followed suit. Then I discovered AE and I can unreservedly say that I love my AE's. They are, for my feet, regardless of last, the most comfortable shoe I know of. In my experience, I don't even have to break them in, I can put them on and they are comfortable from minute 1. I also happen to love the styling of many of their shoes; when they get it right, they make one of the best looking shoes you can buy at any price (IMHO).

 

However, in my experience with AE products, assembly quality and consistency has never been one of their strong points. My very first pair of AE's, an original balmoral Clifton, is still my favorite pair of shoes. Unfortunately, from day one there were quality problems; broguing where the punch wasn't complete (pulling out the little leather "chads" is practically a right of passage for AE owners) and a heel that separated after just 6 or 7 wearings, which required an emergency trip to the cobblers to fix both heels permanently.

 

In addition to those first generation Cliftons, I also have the Sheltons, Broadstreets, Park Ave Cords and (as of a few weeks ago) a pair of Carlyle plain toes. Every single pair has had at least a minor flaw. Most recently I returned a pair of McAllisters due to not wanting to have to pick out a bunch of brogue chads and that annoying toe box line that McAllisters are prone to. Comparing my oldest and newest AE's both visually and from experience, the quality looks to be about the same with the same type of problems occurring: occasionally sketchy stitching, incomplete broguing and heels that come apart.

 

Where the AE's seem to be strong is in the materials used as they do last (once you get the heels put back on) and if cared for they age very well (all my AE's still look new). I don't think the quality has changed much, they have always had problems. If you like their shoes, you just learn to accept them, quirks and all.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks all for your insights... an update on my original thread.... the abridged version as this is still going on

 

They ordered and sent me a pair in a size smaller lengthwise (as this was the probably culprit for the toe crease), sadly these were too narrow for both of my feet so I brought them back with no luck

 

So they then ordered a pair one size smaller and one size wider to see if that would work and Eureka, we found a size that matched my left foot! (already had comfort with right foot in original size).

 

For the trouble, they waived the custom order fee (I did not ask for this as I frankly felt bad for going through about 5 pairs of shoes at this point....) and got me a custom pair of mismatched (sized) shoes and said I'd receive them in about 3 months.

 

Fast forward to about 1.5 months later, they arrived today.

 

The shoes look like they were made by an intern... the seam on the back of the heel is uneven and bubbled and the leather is even curled over itself/bunched up at one point.... so back we go to the store tomorrow to return pair #6.

 

We finally got to the right size but the defect problem still persists.. I think I'm ready to give up on AE at this point and just give Alden a go.. I have one pair of Aldens so far and they came out perfect on first order. Though admittedly they feel stiffer and less buttery soft than the AE independence shoes I've been trying to get for about 6 months at this point.

 

We'll see what mood I'm in when I hit the store.


Edited by NickinAtlanta - 5/27/14 at 6:08pm
post #12 of 13

I am living your nightmare, too.

 

AE quality has definitely become erratic.  I believe they are trying to grow too fast and cutting corners to do it.  They are making subtle changes on established models, such as seamed tongues which were once all one piece.

 

I received a pair of Dalton boots which fit absolutely great and look extremely beautiful.  Unfortunately, it is hard to describe, but a piece of leather was miss-cut too short so it did not get tacked down by the stitching which was meant to keep it in place.  The net result is that I can everything inside the lining.  If I fold everything carefully while lacing it is not visible from the outside, but it kind of killed my enthusiasm for the boots and made me question the longevity, in general.

 

Time will tell, but they are clearly loosening their standard on what they are willing to let leave the factory.

 

I find it kind of sad, because when the quality goes down so does the customer service - something which AE is legendary for providing.  If they would simply step up quality, customer service might not be barraged with issues.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFOGHORN View Post

I am living your nightmare, too.

AE quality has definitely become erratic.  I believe they are trying to grow too fast and cutting corners to do it.  They are making subtle changes on established models, such as seamed tongues which were once all one piece.

I received a pair of Dalton boots which fit absolutely great and look extremely beautiful.  Unfortunately, it is hard to describe, but a piece of leather was miss-cut too short so it did not get tacked down by the stitching which was meant to keep it in place.  The net result is that I can everything inside the lining.  If I fold everything carefully while lacing it is not visible from the outside, but it kind of killed my enthusiasm for the boots and made me question the longevity, in general.

Time will tell, but they are clearly loosening their standard on what they are willing to let leave the factory.

I find it kind of sad, because when the quality goes down so does the customer service - something which AE is legendary for providing.  If they would simply step up quality, customer service might not be barraged with issues.

First off, return them if the defect bothers you. Second, as I said in my post 7 months ago, in the last decade I have been buying AE's, they have had these stupid little problems. I like their shoes, but if flawless construction and highly consistent manufacturing are a big deal for you, AE will drive you nuts.
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