The Poron insole, while sort of a slap in the face of tradition, is quite comfortable under foot. With that said, I still do prefer the "old style" plain leather insole. Too bad the Poron is not just an option.
I busted my AE cherry with a pair of MacNeil 2.0s in dark chili. I love them even though they are just a tad big on me.... but that's a problem between my foot and the last not a problem with the shoe. Not having an older pair of MacNeils to compare against, my commentary ends there.
I think the price increase you mentioned was a temporary website error a while back. They look to be the standard main line $395 at the moment fwiw.
Yeah, the poron in my BB models is pretty comfortable, but I'd still rather have a choice in the matter.
I know it looks like the $395 is AE's standard at the moment, but I feel like the standard used to be closer to $300, or at least low $300's. It is very possible that I am mistaken though, this would have been a several years ago when I started becoming interested in nice shoes (and I also thought I'd never spend more than $150 on a pair of shoes...). However, I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about the $395 price tag. The quality to price ratio is still very good, in my opinion.