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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. Thanks SF (a new me)

    Thanks SF (a new me) Well-Known Member

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    gotta agree with MoL. I bought my wife a couple of items from their "old/new stock" back in '96 from their Port Washington store. For the longest time, she thinks it was awfully designed and looks dated. But for the last 5-6 years, it is her go to wheels, possibly due to the "Classic revival" fashion brands has been promoting
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  2. SuitedDx

    SuitedDx Well-Known Member

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    I think this might be the exact reason. For women's fashion, there is so much transition and maybe more turnover at a faster pace. I am also not sure the longevity of women's shoes? My girlfriend's heel maybe last a year or two because of the thin soles.
     
  3. JTA

    JTA Well-Known Member

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    Owned both in the past (European shoes nowadays) and prefer Alden than AE.

    Agree that most AE models have sleeker last nevertheless for comfort Alden beats AE. My feet hurt after a long day with AE yet no similar issue with Alden. In terms of leather, again, Alden win hands down though AE have better price overall.

    My personal assessment:
    (since beauty is in the eye of the beholder last is not included plus using the assumption that availability is not an issue for both)

    Comfort: Alden 8.5 and AE 7
    Leather: Alden 8 and AE 7.5
    Price: Alden 6.5 and AE 7.5
    Overall: Alden 23 and AE 22
     
  4. cincydavid

    cincydavid Well-Known Member

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    The garden spot of the universe, Cincinnati OH, US
    E for sure, they just fit me better. I truly wish Johnston and Murphy had more of a Made-in-USA presence, because I prefer my Crown Aristocrafts and Aristocrafts to AE and Alden as far as all-day comfort.

    My calf Aldens seem to be hard to polish, too...the finish seems to dry out and almost get scaly, more readily than any other calf I've dealt with. I'm meticulous about conditioning and polishing, and I don't have that issue with any other brand. I wonder if their calf comes from Horween, or another vendor.
     
  5. blue collar

    blue collar Well-Known Member

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    Toronto
    +1 for Alden. I'm built pretty solid (6'1'', 210lbs, 7 suit drop) and find that Alden's 'clunky/less sleek' look helps balance out my silhouette. I have 3 Pairs of AE and 7 pairs of Alden and I've found that when i sport my AE i look like a bear wearing ballet flats ie.
    [​IMG]

    I also feel like i've never ben impressed with the finish of AE''s uppers. i cant quite put my finger on why, but i feel like there is less care in the construction of them, almost a rushed/mass production feel to them.

    And I i'll finish with this gem. I've yet to see ANYTHING from AE that can compete with a make-up like this:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  6. Owen Meany

    Owen Meany Well-Known Member

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    Like many, after discovering SF, I proceeded to indulge myself in new shoes after AE had been my gold standard for 15 years. I have (3) pair of Alden and find nothing compelling about them, they clunky and chunky, IMO, of course.

    For the record, I don't by AE's anymore either, my collection is more Carmina, C&J and C&J Peal & Co, Grenson and AS Exclusive.

    I would be interested in a poll that pits AE against Carmina....
     
  7. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

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    Those shoes are stunning to say the least. [​IMG]
     
  8. Outlaw 06

    Outlaw 06 Member

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    I’d like to add my 2-cents to this thread. I currently own 4 pairs of Allen Edmonds dress shoes and 2 pairs of Alden dress shoes (including a pair of 4060 Shell Cordovan boots) and both brands produce high-quality, durable, made in the USA shoes.

    That said, I prefer my Aldens based on their overall better materials, finish, styles, comfort and other subtle differences. My decision as a customer boils down to this though; are those subtle differences worth the substantial price premium at the check out counter?

    While the retail prices of Alden and Allen Edmonds shoes are comparable, the reality is that Alden dress shoes are rarely discounted below $450/pair while comparable Allen Edmonds dress shoes routinely sell for under $225/pair on sale (neither brands’ Cordovans ever go on sale). That’s my experience in the New York City area anyway. In fact, I recently purchased a pair of Allen Edmonds brown calfskin Strand dress shoes on sale for $180 marked down from an MSRP of $335 (for firsts not seconds). At this discounted price point, no other shoe brand even comes close to matching Allen Edmonds’ quality/price/value ratio. They’re simply an excellent shoe for the money that last for 10+ years with proper care and rotation. I haven’t found any other shoe brands in the $300 and under price range that are even remotely comparable to Allen Edmonds in terms of quality, construction and durability (they’re a MUCH better value than cheaply-made Johnson & Murphy and Florsheim shoes that routinely sell for under $150/pair on sale but start falling apart in less than a year of normal wear).

    The fact that there are numerous posts on this site comparing Allen Edmonds shoes to Alden shoes (that cost at least 2 times more) is a testament to the remarkable quality and value that Allen Edmonds shoes provide. That said, I definitely think that my Alden shoes are nicer than my Allen Edmonds shoes, but I’m not quite sure they’re 2 times nicer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  9. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your conclusion. The only thing I would respond with is that the retail prices of the shoes aren't really that comparable. What you said about AE's being readily discounted is completely true, but if you are strictly looking at MSRP or retail price, Alden shoes are about 34% more expensive. I think that is a substantial price jump for a non-substantial quality difference. I'll admit, there is just something about Alden that makes them seem nicer, but nobody is really able to objectively explain it. I have started to wonder if it is simply their un-wavering dedication to timeless and unchanging designs. You can put off buying a shoe (that isn't a special make-up) for years, knowing that it will be there when you want it. With AE, you have to buy when a shoe is available, because they will quit making it when the season is over. I think this "dependable" timeless feel makes Alden seem like higher quality shoes sometimes. I do like Alden's boot selection a lot more, but it is more of a stylistic thing rather than intrinsic value or objective quality differences.
     
  10. NukeMeSlowly

    NukeMeSlowly Well-Known Member

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    E hands down.

    Their dedication to customer service is what seals it for me. I know that I can count on any issue I may have being resolved to my satisfaction and beyond. Case in point, Paul Grangaard (the freaking CEO!), unsolicited, responded to my forum posted disappointment about the original Fifth Street model not being put into production by arranging a special one-off for me to purchase. I mean, does anyone even know who the CEO of Alden is?
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

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    Art Tarlow, Jr. [​IMG]

    You are spot on though! AE keeps me as a firmly loyal customer for the exact same reasons.
     
  12. Outlaw 06

    Outlaw 06 Member

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    I agree with "MoneyWellSpent" that Alden boots are superior to Allen Edmonds style-wise. The construction of the AE Cordovan boots is very similar to Alden though (much more so than AE's regular line of shoes). I looked at the AE Cordovan Dalton Boots, but the perforated wingtip style was way over the top for me. Less is more in my opinion and I really disliked the AE’s garish wingtip style with perforations all up and down and around the boot. My Alden #4060 Cordovan Cap Toe Boots are simple and stylish in my opinion. They were also LESS money ($645 MSRP for my Aldens vs. almost $700 MSRP for the AE Daltons). That’s what led me to say that the prices between Alden and Allen Edmonds are “comparable”, although more often than not, Aldens are more expensive for similarly styled shoes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  13. Varmant

    Varmant Well-Known Member

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    Count me in for Allen Edmonds. I wish I could afford Alden but I just can't. even Allen Edmonds is a stretch for me (at retail) but I am very happy with their products.
     
  14. Thanks SF (a new me)

    Thanks SF (a new me) Well-Known Member

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    my 0.02,
    - AE for calf, Alden for shell cordovan
    - Alden for perceived "exclusive item" factor due popular retails channels (e.g. LS, Epaulet, Leffot) ..
    - Customer Service, AE hands down..
     
  15. Gauss17

    Gauss17 Well-Known Member

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    Agree. The customer service of AE is just light years beyond Alden. Alden's CS is quite frankly awful, but I will admit, Alden's seem to fit me more comfortably and their cordovan seems to take a better shine for me at least.
     
  16. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    I'd actually differentiate between lace-up and loafers. Strange, I know, but my experience with each has been a bit different.

    With respect to lace-ups, I've had better experience with the quality and finish of the uppers with Alden than Allen Edmonds. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but Alden shoes have lasted a bit longer than comparable shoes from Allen Edmonds. With respect to loafers, I've very much enjoyed Allen Edmonds (partly because Alden loafers do not seem to fit me as well) but have also been very impressed with the quality of the shoes themselves. I think that both are good quality shoes and I still shop Allen Edmonds for loafers, especially at discounted prices. For lace-ups, if I'm paying the Alden premium, I'd prefer to just go with C&J, but prefer Alden if I only get the two choices in this thread.
     
  17. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Well-Known Member

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    Ahh, I didn't realize you were referring strictly to shell. Yeah, I haven't quite figured out why the Dalton in shell is a full $100.00 more than their other cordovan offerings. I don't think there is another $100.00 worth of leather involved in making the boot.

    Ironically someone posted a picture of a shell Alden that is nearly identical to the shell Dalton a couple of days ago.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Well-Known Member

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    I do love the toe medallion on those Alden boots. I find it much easier to get a shine on my alden SWBs than my AE Cambridges. I think the leather sheen is a bit better. I did read somewhere, though, that AE is going to be upping the quality of their cordovan uppers. I don't know what that means considering Alden and AE are both from Horween, but apparently, that's the deal. I'd love if someone could verify this.
     
  19. stant62

    stant62 Well-Known Member

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    I just tried on the Fifth Street boot today - the leather seemed much more rigid than a comparable Alden. Probably quite painful to break those in.
     
  20. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Well-Known Member

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    I prefer Alden. I don't own any AE's but their offerings don't do much for me. if they had styles that were a little more sleek and European i'd buy their shoes, otherwise, I think Alden has the edge in terms of quality and style. I absolutely love my Alden cap toe bal shell cordovans and look forward to buying a pair of Indy boots.
     

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