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Shoes for Black Tie Wedding: AE Leeds or Kenilworth?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm going to a Black Tie wedding in December. My first ever black tie event!

Here's the thing: I own no black dress shoes. I've got brown shoes and boots of many stripes (wingtip bluchers, brogued cap toes, split toes, chukkas...), but I'm a grad student/teacher and never have cause to wear a suit or business attire.

So, I need shoes to go with a tux, but I don't want to go for patent or pumps. I want calf shoes that I can polish up for this, but work as black dress shoes thereafter. I'm aware that oxfords are preferable to bluchers/derbies, but from what I can tell, nowadays a plain blucher is basically ok. Besides, I have very wide feet and find bluchers more comfortable.

I can pick up AE Kenilworths or Leeds from the shoebank in my size for basically a song, so I want to stick to one of those.

AE's description of the Kenilworth explicitly mentions it as a tuxedo shoe, but most people seem to think that the Leeds is a more casual shoe. To me, they look like they could be worn more or less interchangeably; they're both very plain, unadorned bluchers. The Leeds has a thicker sole, which I suppose is more casual. But honestly, I have a more or less athletic physique with wide shoulders and large thighs and calfs, and I think excessively sleek shoes look anemic on me.

Mostly, I find AE's 1 last a lot more comfortable and suitable to my feet than the 5 last, so I'm inclined to go with the Leeds, though I acknowledge it is the less traditional choice. I am mostly looking for people to caution me if this is way off base, and that the Kenilworth is much more appropriate in a black tie situation.

post #2 of 4
I own both styles. Neither is, strictly speaking, appropriate for black tie (but you know that already). The Leeds is a very substantial (some might say bulky) shoe. Both are extremely comfortable and two of my all time favorites. If I were forced to choose, I would go with the Kenilworths.

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post #3 of 4

The kenilworth is as appropriate as you can get with an non-balmoral AE shoe. Pretty must the sleekist most formal derby they offer, I frequently wear with a suit. The leeds is way too clunky/casual for black tie imho.

post #4 of 4

Here is a side-by-side comparison. The welt is much larger on the Leeds. This is a Leeds 2.0, by the way, and not the one that's available at the ShoeBank. 


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