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Allen Edmonds quality question.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ok, been a member of the board for a few months. One of the MAIN reasons i love the forum is the shoe threads. Ive always wanted to upgrade my shoes to a good quality shoe in the $400 range that would last years. I credit the forum for introducing me to Allen Edmonds. If not for that, i would still be looking at Cole Hanns or Johnston and Murphy, etc.

 

A few months ago after high anticipation, I purchased my first pair of Allen Edmonds, the walnut strand. Got it at a Allen Edmond store. The first pair the associate brought out were obviously ( or so i thought), display shoes, so i passed on those. Got another pair, took them home. A few weeks after that, i decided to lace them up. While lacing, noticed that the interior shell wasnt lining up with the eyelets. I had to ACTUALLY slide the strings in at a angle to get them past material that was in the eyelets. Im not kidding you, my thinking was that since these are VERY expensive shoes ( to me), that it must be the way they are made, silly me.  

 

A few days later, i wore them for the first time and BARELY touched a car door bottom while getting out and scuffed the toe of one of the shoes. Again, im thinking (must be me). Next, after taking them off, i noticed a big chip in the heel of one of the shoes, covered up with the stain used on the heels. After all this, i finally did a search a few days ago and discovered numerous accounts of people having the same issues with EASILY scratched strands, squeaky strands, QUICKLY needed resole jobs and various other issues. Not with just the strands, but other styles also.

 

My question is obvious, has the quality gone down over the years?? I had a list of A.E. shoes i wanted to purchase, but have decided to maybe get one or two more pairs and call it a day because the first run shoes appear to be the same quality as the second run shoes. These shoes are too expensive to have to SEARCH for shoes that are flawless, as i see people are doing.

post #2 of 24

Sorry, but they aren't too expensive to have issues. You may balk at paying AE's retail prices for AE's shoes (to be quite honest, I do), but "too expensive to have issues" is a lot more than AE charges.

 

As for "easily scuffed," what's your baseline? If this is your first pair of good shoes, then what are you comparing them to? Scuffs happen. I'm pretty good at avoiding them and I still pick up one or two a week. I use a bit of clear wax on the toes of my shoes, so I basically scuff the wax, not the leather. A bit of buffing, maybe some more wax, and I'm taken care of. The factory finish on AE shoes is a pretty heavy coat of dark-colored wax, which can scuff through to the lighter-colored leather. This can be quite visible, but isn't so hard to fix with a bit of equally-dark polish. I learned the "hard" way to build up my finish on top of theirs.

 

Linings aren't always lined up perfectly. If yours was particularly bad, you'd most likely hear squeaking when you walked. If the only issue is the eyelets don't line up, I wouldn't sweat it much. Expecting perfection at the AE pricepoint is like expecting to meet your soulmate on Tinder. It might happen, but in reality people have to compromise a little bit.

 

Needing a resole quickly says more about the wear the shoe gets than the quality of the shoe.

 

The real problem is that AE has nothing to prove anymore. Their reputation isn't going to be rocked by one bad review online, unlike some of the brands just starting up – which have their own issues, of course.

post #3 of 24
Some photos would help.
post #4 of 24

Where did you buy the shoes from? Have you brought them back to have them looked at? That would be a good starting point. 

 

I bought mine at an AE store, and it was obvious they are proud of their brand and wouldn't want a defective pair out there (not saying one way or the other on your shoes). 

 

As others said though, they are still just shoes and they can get scuffed. Spend some time with the polish and it will help. 

post #5 of 24

Why not ask this on the AE Appreciation Thread.  You'll find plenty of people with AE experience there (both good and bad).

 

As to scuffs, they happen, isn't that what care and polish is for?  I've had light scuffs that disappeared with a good brushing alone.  I'm also sure $2000 shoes aren't immune to scuffing.  Are there better quality shoes than AE? Of course there are.  But overall, IMO the represent good value.  Certainly better than many shoes out there that retail for $300, $400, $500+ then end up reduced 80% within 6 months so you feel you got a bargain.

 

Personally, I never encountered the eyelet problem you mentioned.  That would certainly put me in a twist, and I would have returned them for that.  My AE soles wear at the same rate as any other shoe with a sole of the same material.  Keep in mind that, certain things like Dainite and Vibram soles are not produced by the shoemakers.  I suppose that leather/butyl leather soles can vary, but I haven't experienced anything noticeable.

 

Ultimately, its possible you got a bad pair that slipped through (well a given because of the eyelets).  Where did you find the numerous accounts of issues?  and what proportion were they to good accounts?

 

I'm not trying to diminish you displeasure with your Strands, but as other have stated pictures and more info would be of help.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ace13x View Post
 

Why not ask this on the AE Appreciation Thread.  You'll find plenty of people with AE experience there (both good and bad).

 

As to scuffs, they happen, isn't that what care and polish is for?  I've had light scuffs that disappeared with a good brushing alone.  I'm also sure $2000 shoes aren't immune to scuffing.  Are there better quality shoes than AE? Of course there are.  But overall, IMO the represent good value.  Certainly better than many shoes out there that retail for $300, $400, $500+ then end up reduced 80% within 6 months so you feel you got a bargain.

 

Personally, I never encountered the eyelet problem you mentioned.  That would certainly put me in a twist, and I would have returned them for that.  My AE soles wear at the same rate as any other shoe with a sole of the same material.  Keep in mind that, certain things like Dainite and Vibram soles are not produced by the shoemakers.  I suppose that leather/butyl leather soles can vary, but I haven't experienced anything noticeable.

 

Ultimately, its possible you got a bad pair that slipped through (well a given because of the eyelets).  Where did you find the numerous accounts of issues?  and what proportion were they to good accounts?

 

I'm not trying to diminish you displeasure with your Strands, but as other have stated pictures and more info would be of help.

 

I researched some more and found out that the scuffs are to be expected like you said and actually, ive found out that they add "character" to the shoes when properly polished. In fact, ive read that the softer leathers WILL scuff easier. As far as the eyelet situation, i think i purchased a pair that SHOULDVE been marked down to seconds. The heel issue for that reason too, but i can live with the heel situation. What ive learned is to better examine the my next purchase. Not gonna give up on Allen Edmonds yet.

 

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Edited by nubirth - 12/27/15 at 7:01am
post #7 of 24
Even shoes that cost 1k more than AE can have issues. Just check the St. Crispins thread.

That said, I'm not sure I saw anything amiss in the one pic you posted (that crashed my browser), but AE has a generous return policy, so yes inspect every pair you buy before wearing!

Best of luck.
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nubirth View Post
 

 

I researched some more and found out that the scuffs are to be expected like you said and actually, ive found out that they add "character" to the shoes when properly polished. In fact, ive read that the softer leathers WILL scuff easier. As far as the eyelet situation, i think i purchased a pair that SHOULDVE been marked down to seconds. The heel issue for that reason too, but i can live with the heel situation. What ive learned is to better examine the my next purchase. Not gonna give up on Allen Edmonds yet.

 

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I think you are misinterpreting "soft" leather with natural leather.  Often shoes made by very cheap brands have HIGHLY corrected leather and bonded leather.  With these they may be more accurate to say "Genuine Polymers" than "Genuine Leather".  The uppers on these shoes are  going to have a much different wear characteristic, and care profile.  As will rubber soles compared to leather soles.  This is not to say you will not find some level of leather correcting in higher end shoes.

 

Its sad, but in todays world where style trumps quality most people don't care.  People buy a shoe that looks 'cool', 'nice', 'pops', 'makes a statement' etc and forget about thing like quality and craftsmanship.   Corporations aren't dumb, they have learned this and give people what they want, and many many people just buy things based on a brand name.  This has lead to the rise of DIFFUSION WEAR.   You can buy a Purple Label Ralph Lauren jacket and expect quality, yet you shouldn't expect that level from a green label Lauren; but people see Lauren and fork over the cash.  

 

So back to YOUR shoes.  That big dent is no big deal.   Is a small chip (about the size of one of the brogue holes) on the part of the shoe that is going to see the most wear and is designed to be replaced multiple times in the shoes life.   Had I noticed it at the time of purchase, might I have said something?  Maybe.  But its not enough that I would say, "No this is unacceptable, I'll wait for another pair if you don't have a replacement in stock."  Its sort of an individual choice, but as I stated in my previous post I would have found the eyelet issue unacceptable.

 

As to scuffs adding character and charm, well thats really up to the individual.  Just as some people buy raw denim and don't wash them to get interesting fade patterns; other toss their jeans in the washer after every wear.  Though, I suspect, most people don't go around purposefully banging their fine shoes into things, for character.  If a scuff happens you mitigate it as best as possible, and when you send your AE's back for re-crafting they will recondition/refurbish the uppers to pretty close to new, unless you like those scuffs and ask them not to..  :-)

post #9 of 24
I just want to add that the shoe in question features a 360 degree welt, and that "dent" simply looks like the seem where the welt begins and ends. Is this normal for AE? Yes. Do English GYW brands do a better job at finishing the welt ends? Yep. But it isn't a defect.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by peppercorn78 View Post

I just want to add that the shoe in question features a 360 degree welt, and that "dent" simply looks like the seem where the welt begins and ends. Is this normal for AE? Yes. Do English GYW brands do a better job at finishing the welt ends? Yep. But it isn't a defect.


I thought the same, but wasn't sure. 

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nubirth View Post

The heel issue for that reason too, but i can live with the heel situation.

IMAG0155.jpg 

There is no "heel issue" here. That's what the welt will look like on shoes with this kind of construction.

Clearly, you are new to these kinds of shoes. There's nothing wrong with the shoe in the photo you posted--at least, not that we can see in the photo.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultravisitor View Post


There is no "heel issue" here. That's what the welt will look like on shoes with this kind of construction.

Clearly, you are new to these kinds of shoes. There's nothing wrong with the shoe in the photo you posted--at least, not that we can see in the photo.
post #13 of 24
Hi. Sorry for hijacking this thread. I received my fifth street AE boots today and noticed the same "heel issue". I was actually planning to return them before I read this thread. No I not sure anymore. I'm new to hand made shoes and don't really know what to expect. What's your opinion?



post #14 of 24
That's where the welt begins and ends, albeit a rather sloppy job of it. I would melt some wax polish over it, or have a cobbler do it.
post #15 of 24

Its funny, I'm starting to think some makers opt for 270 welt stitching just to avoid the meet-up point. 

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