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Allen Edmonds Appreciation Thread - reviews, pictures, sizing, etc...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mild Mannered, Sep 27, 2009.

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  1. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Distinguished Member

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    While that might be true, it ignores the fact that AE is currently offering an extensive amount of traditional dress shoes. In using the filter "dress shoes" on the website, I came up with 81 different pairs of dress shoes currently in production. I don't see how you can argue that AE is losing track of its identity when it offers 81 different styles in dress shoes. That's unprecedented for most modern day shoe companies.
     


  2. random-adam

    random-adam Distinguished Member

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    My meaning wasn't as clear as it should have been. I'm lamenting the fact that XXXL tall is no problem to find, but small tall (my size) straight-up doesn't exist.


    To balance these viewpoints, I'd suggest poking around their catalog archives. There were some BEAUTIFUL shoes out there, right alongside some horrendous miscues that would rival the worst of what we see on their site today. I'd love to see the wholecuts and shell and proper formal options return, and I expect that they will; things are cyclical, to judge by their offerings from decades past. Consider the selections we've had recently -- the Dalton, Fifth Street, Strawfut, Bayfield... those didn't exist five or ten years ago.

    Now if two or three more years go by and their unadorned wholecuts and closed-laced patent offerings don't return, I'll happily join the pitchfork-and-torch brigade and march on Port Washington. :nodding:
     


  3. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior Member

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    +1. watch any interview with Grangaard and you'll know that this guy has his eyes on the prize. Plus, I think you could also look at it the other way around. By getting to the mainstream, they are taking the average Joe Blow and educating him on why he SHOULDN'T be buying colehaan or Kenneth Cole. Grangaard has on multiple occasions lamented the bicycle toed shoe that so many Americans did stylish. I think by having these other lines, more Americans can be drawn into the classic style of AEs regular offerings. Grangaard is the Steve Jobs of the American shoe industry. If AE ipos ever, and Grangaard is CEO, I'll put down $20k on the company. The guy is the man.
     


  4. msulinski

    msulinski Distinguished Member

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    They are lacking in certain areas though. Many don't like the Park Ave toe cap placement. Just a few years ago though, AE offered the Soho model, which, to many, looks much better. They don't make this model anymore. Their suede offers are also very poor. With the Players' shoe gone, they don't have any dressy suede options left. The Neumok is very casual, and don't even get me started on the current webgems. You would have to go back to the discountinued Quinton to find a suede balmoral, but that shoe has a Danite sole.
     


  5. TheSizzle

    TheSizzle Senior Member

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    They do offer an expansive assortment of traditional dress shoes, but my comments are meant to highlight the voids that exist in that collection. While there may be quite a few offerings in that department, those voids send even your most loyal consumers to your competitors. Retaining those sales improves your ability to command the sales in styles the company presently offers. AE isn't exactly losing track of its identity, but it may be letting down some of its established demographic and leaving those individuals with motivation to explore competing manufacturers. If a company were to lose those shares, and continue to do so, it would have to keep reinventing itself to a greater extent, altering the brand to try to capitalize on other demographic brackets. I'm a long-time AE fan, and I intend to stay that way, but I make these comments to try to bring something specific out of the company. If you look through my posts, you might notice that a fair amount of them included directed criticism. I, and others who post regularly, don't just discredit random styles and chastise the design department, but my posts include directed comments to indicate how a style could be improved and made more desirable. For instance, we pointed out the contrast stitching of the webgem Strands just days after I mentioned how nice it would be in a slightly lighter suede.

    I'm well aware that AE has had its fair share of flops, but, as I just mentioned, my comments, and others like them, are intended to nudge the company through marginal alterations to existing styles. The hope would be to increase the amount of successful offerings that emerge from its design department. No matter how it may have been interpreted, my intentions were never to say that the company is failing, but rather that, like a young kid, it still could benefit from some direction, as opposed to blind support or silence. That's not to say that the comments in this thread support the company no matter what it does, but I believe it's fair to point out what would make a style more desirable. I don't consider my influence large, but I feel I've exhibited enough interest in the brand over the years to make posts like mine worthy of inclusion in the discussion. AE still pumps out some beautiful shoes, and my habitual purchases thereof attest to my belief in that statement, and I feel they are going in the right direction, with great guidance from Grangaard. Nevertheless, subtleties that entirely change the identity of the shoe slip into production, and slight tweaks could really turn a passable offering into a terrific one.
     


  6. suaviter

    suaviter Senior Member

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    Is this deal still going on?
     


  7. cbtaylor

    cbtaylor Senior Member

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    Lots of good commentary in here on both sides!
     


  8. tampatravel

    tampatravel Senior Member

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    He certainly is the man. I had my g/f listen to that interview Grangaard did and even she was impressed. It's too bad there's not really a women's shoe company that makes shoes like this in America.
     


  9. OptoDoc

    OptoDoc Senior Member

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    Was the Brady designed by Tom "the Golden Boy" himself?

    It's awful.

    Sizzle, your post is most poignant.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013


  10. MarioImpemba

    MarioImpemba Distinguished Member

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    Consumers vote with their dollars.

    Judging by the full gamut of Crayola colors showing up in pics over the past several months of posting, I'd say the people have spoken.

    AE would be foolish to turn away this money, and catering to this market is good for everyone since it helps the company thrive and maintain classic offerings instead of outsourcing or folding altogether.

    AE has always represented a good value of US-made footwear with good materials and construction at the right price. I personally find more value in the "classic" offerings than some of these mutilated offshoots with less favorable materials and trendy designs that will sit at the back of the closet after they've had their run.

    But, if others are so inclined to purchase the spunkier designs, in some ways it makes the world more interesting than being inundated with minute variations in black and brown wingtips and captoes every day.

    It's the opposite scenario walking around Nike-country out here: it's almost impossible to find someone wearing anything but Fresh Prince of Bel Air colorway sneakers. Showing up to work with brown captoes under proper trousers and a dress shirt is peacocking out here since #Dadcore is otherwise nowhere to be found. Silly.
     


  11. mikeynyc

    mikeynyc Well-Known Member

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    My office recently went casual, like jeans and polos casual. I don't plan on making it a habit but I will wear jeans once in a while.
    I'm looking for a new pair of casual shoes. I know some of you here don't like the new direction of some of the AE shoes.
    But these have caught my eye. Any comments on quality of these vs something like the Dryden or Fairfax?

    Thoughts on the durability of sole on the Spiaggia?


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     


  12. TheSizzle

    TheSizzle Senior Member

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    The sole is basically a Vibram Gumlite sole, but it is recraftable. As far as rubber soles go, it's a pretty solid setup, but it's very casual.
     


  13. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Distinguished Member

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    Rather than quoting a bunch of other posts, it is probably easier to just say that I also agree with pretty much everything that is being said (even the stuff that is contrary to my original comment). AE receives tons of respect from me, and I think Paul Grangaard is a fantastic CEO. I can't say that I would definitely do anything different than what they are doing if I were in control. I think those of us that are falling into the slightly annoyed camp with the current trends and offerings are just expressing the fact that the current trends aren't catering to our camp. It's more of a selfish comment than a belief that AE is headed down the wrong road. I'm not saying it's a bad business model, not saying he is a bad CEO, not saying that they are headed downstream as a company, etc. For me, it simply boils down to the fact that I don't wear the types of shoes that represent almost all of their new releases. There is simply some disappointment that you are hearing because I had been anticipating the spring line-up, hoping that I would have a reason to buy a new pair of shoes, but almost everything has been orthopedic or fashion forward. So another season goes by and I just keep enjoying the shoes I already have... That's not a bad thing, but for a shoe enthusiast it can start to seem kinda drab. The buildup and anticipation to the release of a new season's line has become anticlimactic, and I'm stuck with saying "maybe next year."

    One of the points that I do think bears a lot of weight that was said above though, is the one regarding the fact that AE has several major "gaps" in their classic styles that could stand to be improved. It is not unusual to hear someone say that "I'd buy more AE's instead of Alden's if only AE had..." or "Alden just does such and such better." Given that AE is a classic American dress shoe company first, those of us who fall into the classic camp simply wish that they would perfect their classic line-up before delving into the fashion forward business. I know its all about balance, and not everyone will be satisfied though.
     


  14. Cold Iron

    Cold Iron Distinguished Member

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    Quote:Yes, there is. And as I've said before the CEO knows what it takes to keep the lights on at the plant and what direction they are headed. I don't think he is driving the bus off the edge of a cliff by any stretch of the imagination. Still doesn't stop me from wanting more shell offerings, boots, suede PTB, etc.
     


  15. tampatravel

    tampatravel Senior Member

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    ...and if someone out there gets introduced to AE from buying a more trendier version of their shoes. So be it. Maybe they'll quit wearing those stupid bicycle toe junk they've been wearing. That's an epidemic at my office. Unfortunately most of them are corrected grain and in horrible shape.

    I like what MoneyWellSpent said in the fact that we're probably the hardcore AE fans on here and we'll tend to lean towards the more conservative side. I for one, will be stockpiling the more traditional picks first, then I'll go after a trendier/fun pair later. I suppose I've put my toe in the water already since I just bought those WebGem Neumok Customs (not the MLB ones).
     


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