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Alden #907 Straight Tip Bal Calfskin

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Pros: Classic style with fit and finish details that take it up a notch
Cons: Cost and limited opportunity to try on in a brick and mortar store
The straight tip black calf Oxford is a classic style offered by nearly every men's dress shoe shoe manufacturer. A cap toe oxford is a closed lacing shoe with a straight stitch cap, with the quarters sewn under the vamp and fastens together by laces over the tongue, which is sewn onto the vamp. This means they have a very similar look, but a wide variation on price. The nearly identical appearance will cause some to simply purchase the cheapest version and this may be the proper course for those who will only wear them once a year to a wedding or a funeral. But read on if you are building a shoe wardrobe and desire durability and quality. While there are MANY versions of the cap toe from many countries, I will list a few points of comparison with the Park Avenue (PA) from Allen Edmonds as both are made in the US.

The retail of the PA is currently $395, versus $522 for the 907. Both are calf and Goodyear welted with a cork layer for comfort and fit. The PA has a 360 degree welt and the 907 uses a 270 degree welt which helps give the 907 a more formal and sleek appearance at the rear of the shoe. The 907 is shown first.




Both shoes have a single oak leather sole. The PA has the standard leather sole and rubber heel but the 907 has a dovetail heel and a black finish to the sole for a more formal appearance. This black sole can also be touched up with black edge dressing to maintain the appearance even after it has been worn.



The top of the sole normally shows stitches on AE shoes, but their Independence line uses wheeling to improve the appearance. This added touch is one of the upgrades on the Independence line. The 907 has wheeling as a standard feature. This image shows the difference between wheeling and standard stitching on other shoes.





The PA is made on AE's 65 last and this causes fit issues for people with high insteps. My personal high instep resulted in an excessively wide V gap when lacing the PA that destroyed the formality of the shoe. My personal attempts to increase the size of the shoe for a better closure caused bowing at the ankle and unacceptable gaps. This is a fault with my feet as opposed to the PA, but my personal issues were addressed with the 907. The 907 is made on the Hampton last that has higher side walls in the vamp and was a better for my high instep. The V gap closure was now acceptable and this is a shot of my pair.



The 907, in my opinion, is a high quality made in USA shoe that is stylish, comfortable, recraftable and the previously mentioned fit and finish differences more than compensate for the price. The shoe is a stock model from Alden and relatively available in widths up to EEE. There are very few Alden retailers and you will likely have to order a pair online. Feel free to PM me with any specific question.
Overall
4.5
Purchase Price
522.00
Purchase Date
2016-11-06

Comments

Nice synopsis, Alden do make a high quality shoe but hard to source outside the US esp if you need to fit the shoes on prior to purchase which imo is always a good idea unless you have purchased from that manufacturer before and know you sizes and even then it can be problematic for some.
 
An update on prices for the Allen Edmonds PA and the 907. As of 2/1/18, the price of the Park Ave. is now $425 and the 907 is now $541.
 
An update on prices for the Allen Edmonds PA and the 907. As of 9/1/18, the price of the Park Ave. is now $395. They have changed the sole options to the V tread and Dainite. In my opinion this is not an improvement. The 907 is now $557.

Allen Edmonds has also introduced the Hopkinson, which looks similar to the Park Avenue. It is part of their Independence collection. It also has the 360 welt, but has a higher grade of calf skin and is lined with lamb skin. There is a two toned sole found on all of the Independence models. The Hopkinson is built on the 201 last, which usually provides more room in the vamp for those with higher insteps. The improved materials brings the current retail price to $530.
 

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