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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. reidrothchild

    reidrothchild Senior member

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    To those of you who have cordovan, what do you do as far as sole protection? Toe taps? Topy? I called AE customer service and asked about a topy. I was told that, while rubber might be ok for calf shoes, they did not advise it for cordovan due to the fact that cordovan is less breathable than calf; therefore, adding rubber to the leather sole could cause them to retain too much moisture, which in turn could cause the lining to break down over time. Anyone ever topy'd cordovan before or had rubber-soled cordovan shoes? I plan on getting a lot of wear out of my Randolphs, but don't want to pay $125 every year to have them resoled. Of course, I also don't want to do anything that's going to ruin the upper.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    One nice thing is that the cordovan models come with different soles than those found on calf shoes. AE equips shell shoes with a J. Rendenbach (sp) oak double sole. You'll see
    ae shell cordovan models are marked/stamped "JR" on the sole. JR is supposed to be the hardest wearing, highest quality leather for soles. Cobblers like B. Nelson speak very highly of the Rendenbach soles. You can read a bit about them here, there are a few threads dedicated to JR soles.

    I haven't had my shell shoes long enough but everything I've read indicated that they wear like iron. Note, many folks have reqeusted JR soles on their calf AE shoes when sent in for recrafting. At the time, there was no upcharge for this but I don't know if it's still an option.

    That said, I wouldn't install Topy or Vibram half soles. I just like leather on my dress shoes.

    Here's some info on the Rendenbach soles for your reference:

    http://www.bnelsonshoes.com/rendenbach.asp

    http://www.lederfabrik-rendenbach.de/

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/131205/alden-restoration-vs-jr-rendenbach-resole/0_100
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  3. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    Wait - so are you saying that the JR soles are made of shell cordovan? I thought they were still calf leather, just of very high quality.

    And if they are calf leather, is the advice of AE to not put rubber soles on them specific to these JR soles?
    Or is it that because the shell cordovan upper is less breathable, you want to leave the sole as leather to enable breathing for the entire shoe?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  4. Winston S.

    Winston S. Senior member

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    Received my Walnut Shell Strand seconds a few hours ago and am a little disappointed and debating whether I should keep them. I knew there might be issues considering that these were the last ones in my size. These are quite a bit rougher than the MacNeils I received a few weeks ago.Excuse the poor camera pictures.

    The medallion was punched off-centered on the right shoe (left foot) in this picture.
    [​IMG]

    Another picture showing the off centered medallion.
    [​IMG]

    This shows how far off the medallion was punched on the left shoe[
    [​IMG]

    This shows the distance between the medallion and the sole on the right shoe
    [​IMG]

    The width of the heels are different
    [​IMG]

    The length of the heels are different
    [​IMG]

    Black marks on the upper near the welt
    [​IMG]

    More black marks near welt
    [​IMG]

    Scuff, I think this is OK, I can live with this
    [​IMG]

    Discoloration on toe, I think this is OK, I can live with this
    [​IMG]

    Discoloration near lacing, I think this is OK, I can live with this
    [​IMG]

    What do guys think? Biggest issues are the heel and the medallion. Would you keep?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  5. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    No, they are still made of cow leather, not cordovan but the method used for tanning makes them a very tough leather.

    I just tried looking around for a thread I read with some great info about JR soles but couldn't find it. Maybe it was at AAAC.

    Edited to add:

    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?81753-Word-on-the-street-re-leather-soles

    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?67216-AE-Redenbach-sole-question

    http://asuitablewardrobe.dynend.com/2008/07/sole-food.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  6. ElDave

    ElDave Senior member

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    Off-center medallion would kill it for me.
     
  7. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    Are you saying the medallion is off center on the left shoe? If it's something that would be really noticeable to me, I'd lean toward not keeping them.

    The other items are all small enough to put me on the fence. If I were planning wear these very casually, like with jeans, I might keep them. But if I wanted them in my business attire rotation, I think the sum of all the small items would make me want to pass.

    JMO, though.
     
  8. bucksfan

    bucksfan Senior member

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    I don't topy my shoes, nor do I use taps - however, I know others certainly do. I would imagine that if you let your shoes rest with shoe trees a couple days between wearings, you could get away with topys no problem. I frequently wear my cordovans with only a day off between wearings, when I am on business trips or the like, and I have not noticed any problems with them still being damp.

    I'm not sure that you'd need to resole them every year, even without topys. I have 1.5 year old shoes (including Graysons, Randolphs, Bradleys and Strands, with single-oak JR soles) on which I can still see the JR logo on the bottom of the sole. Obviously, it depends a lot on how much walking you do on a daily basis, the pavement you walk over, and how often you wear them. I tend to wear a pair of shoes once every two weeks in normal rotation.

    In any case, whether you choose to topy them, tap them, or wear them au naturale, just be sure to let them rest between wearings and enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
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  9. Winston S.

    Winston S. Senior member

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    I spoke with Nick of B. Nelson last week when dropping off a pair of shoes for resole. The JR soles are not shell.
     
  10. New Shoes1

    New Shoes1 Senior member

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    My experience as well. With the elongated toe, you have to get the fit just right. If the shoe is too big, the elongated toe exacerbates this. If the shoe is too small, the elongated toe pinches the pinky toe. The other issue is that the toe box is not as tall as the 5 last. For me, this results in chafed toes if I walk too much in the shoes. Not much forgiveness in this last as compared with the 5 last, which fits me well.
     
  11. Winston S.

    Winston S. Senior member

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    Yes, I'm saying it is off center on the left shoe. Whether or not it's noticeable to other people while being worn is iffy. Obviously I noticed when I was inspecting them.
     
  12. reidrothchild

    reidrothchild Senior member

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    patrick_b: thanks a lot for the info. I had no idea that the cordovan soles were any different from the calf. The AE person said the cordovan soles took longer to wear out b/c they were double oak soles. I assumed she was mistaken because the Randolph sole only comes in single oak, but I do now see on AE's website that all cordovan models come with the JR sole. Looks like I'll just be getting toe taps.
     
  13. bucksfan

    bucksfan Senior member

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    Quote:
    Of those, the toe medallion would be the only thing that would bother me, and it would probably cause me to return them for another pair or (if not available) a different shoe. But, I am pretty picky with my shoes.

    Ultimately, you are the one who will be looking down at them each time you wear them. Will you notice how great the design is and how wonderful the cordovan color is, or will you curse under your breath that the medallion is off-center?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  14. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    I like the look of flush metal taps but have never had them installed. One consideration would be to look at your older shoes and see where they wear the most as a result of your gait. I tend to wear toes more than heels but since most of my shoes only get a wear a week, it takes a long time to need a re-sole. I think the shoe care thread had a good discussion about flush mount taps. They look (and sound) cool IMO. The plastic version that's not flush looks cheap IMO.
     
  15. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    We are a fickle, picky bunch aren't we?
     
  16. ElDave

    ElDave Senior member

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    Another note...it's amazing how different cordovan shoes look after a little care. i got my black Leeds last night. Out of the box they looked like junk. Within the hour I had them looking like shoes befitting their price tag. I think AE would do better with their cordovan sales if they didn't let every cordovan shoe on the shelf look like a dried out piece of beef jerky.

    My Leeds now bring back memories of dad's USAF dress attire.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    True. But then again, most of the non-fickle, non-picky folks won't drop $300 on a pair of shoes, seconds no less, nor $500+ on a pair of firsts!
     
  18. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    That is so true. And to top it off...we think $300 for a pair of shoes is an ABSOLUTE STEAL!!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  19. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    :D :slayer:

    OMG.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  20. bucksfan

    bucksfan Senior member

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    ... And I am sure in 20, 30, 40 years, while I am still wearing all these shell cordovan shoes, it will be even more so! [​IMG]

    I was mentioning to my wife last night, that some of these shoes might last me through my entire career (roughly 30 more years) and hopefully many years of retirement. A sobering thought.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
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