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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. Winston S.

    Winston S. Senior member

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    This is from my general observation, but I thought some people were able to resolve the bowing issues, by getting another pair of the same shoes. I do see that some people can ask for several pairs of the same shoes and still experience bowing though. Personally I have two pairs of 5 lasted shoes (Strands and Cambridges). I have a little bowing with my Cambridges, but not with my Strands, which could imply there is a fit issue or defect in manufacturing.
     
  2. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Yeah, you are seeing the reason that it is such a complex issue and not easily figured out. Also, shoes made on the same last fitting the same way isn't a guaranteed thing, it is just a good rule of thumb. Different stitching styles, different leathers, and variance in the number/size of pieces of leather involved in making a shoe will impact the end result. They are using the same lasting machine, exerting the same amount of force pulling on the leather, but the leather and stitching is different and thus will stretch differently in different places. Did I over use the word different? [​IMG]
     
  3. TheSizzle

    TheSizzle Senior member

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    Here's the follow up for you, zerostyle, but it's not very sunny today...

    (Taking the picture also makes me realize how much I need to clean up the toecap on my walnut Strands.)


    [​IMG]
     
  4. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    I don't know what the reason for bowing/not bowing is, but there is absolutely variance in leather and how it is stretched over the last. It is done by hand, with a specialized set of pliers, and it is done by applying pressure at different points, not all at once (watch one of their videos to see what I mean). So there is no way that each piece of leather is having exactly the same forces applied to it, just as there's no way each piece of leather is the same to start with.

    Having said this, AE uses the same general method as other Goodyear welted shoe makers. It's curious that they would have more incidences of bowing, if it is in fact true. It would be interesting to compare the 212-step process with someone like C&J, or even JL, and see what differences there really are. Not sure if anyone has access to that, though.
     
  5. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    Regarding the bowing/gaping issue, you are both right that it is sometimes a fit issue and sometimes a defect. Some feet just do not fit well into the 5 last and, for whatever reason, it seems like virtually all of the bowing/gaping involves the Park Avenue. Regarding a potential defect, Money Well Spent correct remembers a post by AE's CEO regarding the bowing issue on AAAC. The post attributed it to a number of factors, including the amount of time the shoe is left to rest on the last and the amount of time it has been sitting on a store shelf without shoe trees. This is why one piece of advice for dealing with bowing/gaping issues is to have a pair shipped directly from the factory. If I recall correctly, the CEO also advised that AE was leaving the shoes on the lasts longer to deal with this issue.

    Just my personal observation, but I think the majority of the gaping/bowing we see are fit issues involving the wrong size or a low volume foot for which the 5 last does not work very well. It seems like we frequently see posters that solved the issue by getting a different size. There are also a fair number of individuals who have exchanged shoes numerous times with the bowing/gaping issue occurring in each pair. Conversely, I can only think of a handful of instances where the poster claims the issue was resolved by requesting a different pair in the exact same size. Cold Iron comes to mind and maybe a few other individuals over the last few years.
     
  6. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Yeah, I left an incomplete thought on the lasting there... The equal force that I was referring to is the forepart lasting machine. The sides are lasted using lasting pliers, and will inherently have more variance. The heels are also lasted by machine, and thus should be equal force.
     
  7. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Thanks for responding, I was driving myself crazy trying to find where I had read that, and I thought it was AAAC. Do you remember which thread it is?
     
  8. TheSizzle

    TheSizzle Senior member

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    When people keep having the issue, and others never do, it can make you wonder whether it's truly the shoe or the wearer. In some cases, at least, I'd lean to the latter and conjecture that it could be related to the height of ones arch relative to that accommodated by the shoe. A mismatch could be causing the twisting of material, but I think sizing and some manufacturing mishaps cause other cases of bowing (or at least compound these).
     
  9. wdahab

    wdahab Senior member

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    I agree that it has always looked to me like people are wearing the wrong size with this bowing problem. What I've always felt caused it is people not knowing that they need a narrower shoe, usually because they have a low instep. So you lace it all the way shut, and then it sort of just collapses on top of the foot, causing the sides to flex out. It's the opposite problem of people with high insteps, where the balmoral can't lace all the way shut.

    Basically, the cause is people who haven't tried, or can't be bothered to try, different widths, or people who really want deals on D sized shoes (easier to find deals on) to fit them. In my opinion, Allen Edmonds has solved the bowing problem already, because it offers a full range of widths, unlike so many other shoe companies.

    This is coming from someone who wears 9EEE/9.5EEE. Width is king.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  10. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I've seen too many Allen Edmonds shoes, brand new on the shelf, where the opening looked more like a figure 8 than a nice, smooth oval. Not a fit issue there. It's something they need to address, period.
     
  11. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    That's what she said. Giggity!
     
  12. MarioImpemba

    MarioImpemba Senior member

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    LOL! 10/10.
     
  13. easy_golfing

    easy_golfing Senior member

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    Likewise
     
  14. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Not doubting your experience, but I can't say I've seen this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  15. Flyswatter

    Flyswatter Senior member

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    To add to the discussion of gaping...

    I purchased my first pair of Allen Edmonds shoes a month or so ago: a pair of black Park Avenues, first quality, purchased online directly from AE. I was sized in an AE store and also sized myself according to the very easy to use and seemingly accurate fit guide on AE's website. Both gave me a result of 10.5D, which seems to be spot-on. Anyway, the shoes arrived and I was mostly happy with them, but I had some slight gaping on the RIGHT SHOE ONLY. It started to bug me before I'd ever even wore the shoes, and I posted pics here in this thread a couple weeks ago. Here's one of them:

    [​IMG]

    The general opinion of the posters' in response was that I should return them and try to get a pair that doesn't have any gaping. As I haven't worn the shoes outside at all, I plan to indeed return them.

    Here's where it gets interesting. A few days after I posted about the gaping on my Park Aves, I received a pair of brown Fifth Avenue SECONDS from the shoe bank. Same size as the Park Aves of course, but the Fifth Aves have absolutely no gaping whatsoever, to my relief:

    [​IMG]

    In my mind, this is proof that the gaping issue is absolutely NOT an issue of fit (generally), but it's instead some type of flaw/manufacturing defect. Of course, that's not to say that gaping CANNOT be caused by improper fit, but this wasn't so in my case. Just something weird going on with the right shoe from my pair of Park Aves. The issue is evidently not something that would cause an otherwise first quality shoe to be sold as seconds, however, or perhaps it's just not something AE checks for in the QC process. Some might say that there's no way to check for it until the shoe is on the wearer's foot, but comparing my right Park Ave to the left one, you can notice an outward bending near where my inside ankle would be, almost as if there's simply too much leather there:

    [​IMG]

    On the whole, I'm much happier with the SECOND quality Fifth Avenues which have no gaping at all, and no other visible flaw that I can see that caused them to be deemed seconds. Not to mention, I of course paid less for the seconds. I do think the gaping issue is something that should be addressed and resolved by AE, as it's clearly not simply an issue of improper fit.

    Overall though, I'm still very pleased with my experience with Allen Edmonds products. I'm happy with my Fifth Avenue seconds, and looking forward to replacing my Park Avenues with a pair that doesn't gape. I think AE offers tremendous value for the money and I'm happy to buy made in USA products.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
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