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Allen Edmonds vs. Alden--Which American Great Do You Prefer?!! OFFICIAL

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by JermynStreet, Nov 11, 2012.

Allen Edmonds or Alden!?

  1. Allen Edmonds

    152 vote(s)
    46.9%
  2. Alden

    172 vote(s)
    53.1%
  1. harlequin782

    harlequin782 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 12, 2012
    Yeah...i hate to admit it but the alden shitted all over the AE in that comparison...the dalton is a little sleeker, which i like, but all else considered, a pretty disappointing showing for the Dalton
     
  2. bespoken pa

    bespoken pa Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Varies
    I agree the wing tip portion of the dalton is too shallow, too much space between the vamp and broguing distorts the style.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  3. harlequin782

    harlequin782 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    Feb 12, 2012
    Thats just the tip of the ice berg..from top to bottom the Dalton looks a mess in this comparison. The opening/throat is shapeless and crude looking, the wingtip AS WELL AS the wing proportions are misaligned and off...the alden's color is sharper, prettier and shinier, the construction looks neater, better laces, speedhooks etc... just a complete schellacking . And im an AE guy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  4. wildoats

    wildoats New Member

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    Jan 11, 2015
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay
    I recently compared the AE leeds in Cordovan to the Alden PTB. I have to say, the craftsmanship on the Alden is superior to the AE model. The Alden runs a bit wider, but the stitching, lining and welt trim are all cleaner than on the AE version.

    At a very similar price, I would always chose the Alden. I also compared the same shoes in the black calf version -- the superiority of Alden in this case is more than obvious.

    Don't bet me wrong though, I also own a few pairs of AE shoes.

    J
     
  5. ReppTiePrepster

    ReppTiePrepster Well-Known Member

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    Aug 15, 2012
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    USA
    

    I tried on a pair of shell Leeds today also. You are correct in that the Alden's finish and all-around quality is superior. On the other hand, I think I prefer the shape of the Leeds. Its sleeker last is a bit more appealing to the eye. If I had to wear one for 8 hours and be on my feet most of that time, the Alden would be my choice without any reservations! In the end, not that difficult a choice.
     
  6. aDrummingDude

    aDrummingDude Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    105
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    Apr 19, 2014
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I have a pair of black Alden plain toe oxfords on the Plaza last, which is a very European tapered looking last, and they are sublime. Its actually the Alden last which fits me best, of the few I've tried. My other two pairs of Alden are on Barrie last, and are both true to size. The Barrie is known to run a little big, and these pairs are definitely roomy, but going down 1/2 size for me meant that I had some toe rubbing on the welts. The Plaza TTS though is perfect.
     
  7. sirjas01

    sirjas01 Active Member

    Messages:
    32
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    Mar 14, 2014
    Aldens, I used to have couple pairs of AE. They are great and offered substantial upgrade over other lesser brands. Aldens however, are just so much more comfortable. Easier on my knees. Fits like a glove. After a day in a pair of aldens my feet feel like they are in clouds. Maybe Alden's lasts just fit me better. I don't know. But I know which brand I prefer.
     
  8. RSS

    RSS Well-Known Member

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    I have a strong preference for my Aldens from the 1980s.
     
  9. mmarsh1976

    mmarsh1976 New Member

    Messages:
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    Jul 25, 2015
    Location:
    Southeastern Connecticut
    I prefer Aldens, though AE has some nice shoes. My reasons are:
    1. Steel shanks in Aldens. I know that AE uses a synthetic shank and though this is supposedly for safety reasons, I think it has more to do with cost savings. Im of the opinion that AE tries to sell this feature as a safety/FAA thing, when the reality is its a cost savings issue. I will concede that synthetic shanks are lighter than Steel, though it's a negligible difference. As someone who is in shoe repair and has chatted with multiple Cobblers about this, when a shoe ages or the glue around the synthetic shank ages, it tends to cause the shoe to squeek when you walk. This appears to be less likely with steel shanks.
    2. "MADE IN USA" I understand that AE has their uppers stitched in the Dominican Republic and shipped to the Wisconsin plant to finish the shoe and this is done for cost savings, but I find it misleading that these shoes can be marked MADE IN USA under the regular Allen Edmonds brand and not the "AE by Allen Edmonds" which marks their Dominican Republic produced shoes just because the majority of labor is completed on US soil.
    Unless I am purchasing running shoes, I prefer my shoes to be of USA or European origin.
    3. As someone who is involved in shoe repair, I am further disappointed to encounter AE heel bases constructed from press-paper material (glued fragments of leather) and not actual stacked layers of layer.
    That being said, AE makes a nice shoe by today's standards, but I would prefer to pay more to get more.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. reggieburris

    reggieburris New Member

    Messages:
    3
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    May 6, 2015
    Location:
    Dale City, VA
    I own 31 pairs of AEs, 6 pairs of Aldens, and one pair of Crocket and Jones. All are well made shoes. There is a distinct and more robust feel to Aldens than AEs. I didn't get my first pair of Aldens until last year when I purchased a pair of Longwing No 8 Shell Cordovan. The steel shank provides more support and a more cushioned feel as you walk, particularly long distances. However, my AEs will never be replaced. I love the svelte look of AEs and having owned inferior products, I know AEs are premium quality and of good construction.

    I can say, I will purchase more AEs because the price are great for what you get and the styles are unbeatable. Chunky or not, when I spend over $500 it will always be Alden. Regardless of looks, Aldens will get the nod when I spend above $500 because they feel more expensive. Below $300 it will be AE because they are always going on sale and for that price, they cannot be beat.

    On another note, to save money I have purchased seconds from AE and I have a irregular pair of Aldens en route. Can't beat the savings. If you don't want either, Crocket and Jones makes one hellava pair of shoes as well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  11. reggieburris

    reggieburris New Member

    Messages:
    3
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    May 6, 2015
    Location:
    Dale City, VA
    E Strand
    [​IMG]
    Alden 954
    [​IMG]
    Alden 979
    [​IMG]

    Alden 909
    [​IMG]
    Alden 975
    [​IMG]
    AE McGregor
    [​IMG]
    AE LaSalle
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2015
  12. ATLVol

    ATLVol Well-Known Member

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    Aug 20, 2012
    
    Can't wait for Fall.....I have a pair of fresh ravello wingtip boots begging for some cool weather!
     
  13. lowbudgetsnob

    lowbudgetsnob Active Member

    Messages:
    40
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    Mar 23, 2012
    Alden for me. They just look better. Do they do something to prep their leathers prior to the dye and finish process ?
    Why do AE 4 BB, with BB badging, often look better than AE's own products ? Dove tail heels on AE ! ?

    With comparable styles, yes, Alden costs more. Are labor costs a factor ? What does a Massachusetts journeyman union cobbler make at 5 years seniority, at 15 years seniority ? What does AE pay in Wisconsin ? AE offshores, too ! Which one is actually fair priced ? Which one has a larger profit margin per unit cost ?

    Looking at the entire Alden range dilutes the bulby, chunky concern. Nothing chunky about the 909, eg .
    I'm on the fence over comfort. I once got a used pair of Alden Welterweights, downsizing for the Barrie last, and they were horrid.
    The cork bed factor ? Barries are not for me ?

    There is more sizing consistency with Alden.

    Although it is lowbrow to say "mass market" , with AE it's if it walks like a duck ....... For comparison, check the number of offerings for each on Ebay. AE has been trying for years to be trendy or off edgy with styling flops, and a higher style turnover.
    AE is also offering more cemented and corrected grain styles. Which is more important at AE, market share or a flawless pair of shoes ? Where QC is a problem, a peppy CS can step in.

    All in all, I wonder where AE believes the future thrives ? Is it with Alden and other premiums (C&J, Trickers, A.Sarge, etc),
    or with the likes of (shhhh !) C--O---L---E H--A --------------- ?

    I wish there were more Alden sales !!
     
  14. clotheshorse69

    clotheshorse69 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
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    Feb 2, 2010
    This is like saying Crocket and Jones or the Herring store brand
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  15. valentinasmj

    valentinasmj Member

    Messages:
    10
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    Mar 3, 2010
    Resurrecting an old thread.... On average I's say Alden is a little better if only for consistency. AE at its best is very close to Alden. I bought my first AEs in 2004. At the time the quality was quite good. Around 2008/09 the quality really started to slip. Either they switched to a lower quality calfskin or a more plasticky finish. This was about the time they switched to black insoles/linings. I do think Paul has fixed most of their quality problems. The heels are so still crap and can not survive a Chicago winter. A little bit of salt and they fall apart. i am slowly having all my AE recrafted on dainite soles.

    Alden has been more consistent over the years. There are 3 reasons I don't own more:
    1) Sizing. Alden are difficult to fit. I can swing from a 10e to 11.5d depending on the last. I have returned more pairs than I own. AE are much more consistent across shoes. I am a 10.5e in their bluchers, 10.5eee/11e in balmorals and can't wear their loafers. The loafers are too tight across my instep. I don't need to know which last they are built on, with AE I know what size I will be based on the style. And of course, it is much easier to be fitted in person with AE.

    2) Price. Alden never go on sale, AE routinely does. AE on sale is about half the price of Alden. I wear my shoes. They don't sit on a shelf in a museum. Yes I will pay for quality but at the end of the day, it is still a utilitarian object. AE has a nice trade off between quality and price.

    3) Style. AE is good about introducing new styles every season so they get me on impulse buys.

    I am happy with the Alden I own. Quality is superb. I have a whisky shell chukka, black cap toe balmoral, indy boots and a tobacco chamois longwing. Each one is a different size. That is the real issue with me.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
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    I'm confused... you said you think Alden is better, but most of your reasons seem to sound like you prefer AE.
     
  17. valentinasmj

    valentinasmj Member

    Messages:
    10
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    Mar 3, 2010
    

    The build quality of Alden is higher and more consistent, in my experience. AE is more accessible to me, cheaper, and easier to fit, so I own more of them.
     
  18. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,370
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    Oct 4, 2012
    

    Fair enough.

    For what it's worth, I've dissected pairs from both makers, and found the Alden's to be a bit tougher to tear apart. Alden certainly uses some stronger components. They don't shy away from using plenty of nails, and of course there is the steel shank.

    Alden's welt and sole finishing is undoubtedly superior to AE.

    Believe it or not, both makers use some cheap synthetic components in the heel stacks of the main line shoes, including fiberboard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  19. valentinasmj

    valentinasmj Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2010
    I think I mentioned it in my earlier post, but my alden heal stacks have stood up much better to chicago winters. (Yeah I know I should wear rubbers over my shoes but I don't always. The weather here can be unpredictable). A little salt and snow and the AE heals delaminate pretty quickly. I guess the nails in Alden help. I do like the AE dainite soles and will eventually have all my AE recrafted onto them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. bkdc

    bkdc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    184
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2016
    Own seven pairs of Alden and have owned many pairs of Allen Edmonds shoes most of which I have donated except for two pairs of shell cordovan AEs Alden and AE both make very high quality shoes although I have to give a slight nod in quality control to Alden.

    The ultimate answer is -- WHICH ONE FITS BETTER? If you have standard happy feet, it's may not be so clear. Because both manufacturers have a variety of lasts for different types of feet, you may find comfort in either Alden or AE. For my particular hard-to-fit feet, Alden wins hands down.

    The Alden modified last is the only last among any I've ever tried that keeps my dogs happy all day. I have a huge wide forefoot and the typical Asian pronating style with a high arch (typical of many Japanese and Korean feet). When I discovered AE's wide variety of styles with EEE width, I was pleased. But when I discovered the Alden modified last in my EEE width, I discovered pedal heaven.

    It follows that I purchase most of my Aldens from the NY shoestore that specializes in the Alden modified last and has a wide selection styles in the modified last which are not available from any other Alden dealer. This particular shoe store has an extremely loyal following of customers who, like me, keep returning for the Alden modified last. When I was young and poor, I thought I was saving money by buying Allen Edmonds at discounts or sales. But this did not end up being the case since I have gotten rid of all of those shoes (and thus wasted money). I just never wore my AEs them because my modified last Aldens are far far far more comfortable.

    So Alden. No question. But that's just me. Unlike the prior poster, I find Alden sizes extremely consistent. The variation in lasts is much more extreme than in Allen Edmonds shoes... especially with more orthopedic lasts like the Trubalance or the Modified last. Like any shoe, once you learn your size in a particular last, you're good!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016

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