Believe me I've wanted to find AE shoes that suit my feet well. (Aldens have killed my clothing budget.) I have not been able to find a single AE shoe that meets the comfort, fit, and construction that Alden has. The 5 last (Fifth Avenue, Park Av, and strands) is pretty nice and I could go with it, but the shoe is not even close in comfort (IMHO). I am a huge fan of the LWB, and the McNeil is quite possibly the most impossible shoe to size for me. It is incredibly uncomfortable. I thought the Player in walnut might be a nice short wing blucher alternative, but they're even more difficult to find a comfortable pair.
While AE may have great CS, better QC, and they'll stand behind their shoes better, I have decided that buying an uncomfortable AE shoe is not worth it. I would rather spend a little more and know that I will be pleased. I have 12 pairs of Aldens (11 of which were bought BNIB) and I do not have any that I would consider flawed to the extent of a seconds declaration, but I may be a little more forgiving than Mediahound (no offense intended my friend).
Sorry for my AE rant. I know there are many here who enjoy both, just not me.