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

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

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  1. Cold Iron

    Cold Iron Senior member

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    It depends, because shell varies from both AE and Alden. In my case the Ravello has no red undertones at all and are identical to my AE Walnut Dundees. I can not tell them apart on the shelf unless I take them down and look for 2 eyes vs. 3 eyelets.
    [​IMG]
    Ravello far right, 3 Walnut shell to the left. And of course over time and with UV exposure as mentioned all brown shell changes color.
     


  2. jasonmx3

    jasonmx3 Senior member

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    Not really sure what they're called. There's some letters stamped on the rubber -- VKL -- but I don't have any idea what they stand for. Unfortunately, I'm currently on a trip and this is the only picture I currently have that shows the taps. I can probably take a closer shot once I get back. So let me know if you still want to see those. And oh, my local (Japanese) cobbler installed them.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013


  3. PlaceboFX

    PlaceboFX Active Member

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    Dropped by Nordstrom Rack and found these on clearance for $99!

    My first pair of suede shoes, the AE Player's shoe in bitter chocolate.

    [​IMG]

    The only defects I found were in the stitching of the welt, which will disappear with the first recraft.

    Looks great with jeans, and the suede feels very supple and soft compared to my calfskin shoes (I have this shoe in walnut calf, too).

    Very happy with this purchase.
     


  4. PlaceboFX

    PlaceboFX Active Member

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    That looks really sleek, I agree. Some Internet research says VKL might stand for a brand called "Village Klean"
     


  5. joonian

    joonian Senior member

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    Has anyone achieved a spit-shine on a pair of Bayfields? I have been trying for ages but to no avail. Only the slightest hint of shine appears on the toe. Is this a property of chromexcel leather? The waxiness and slight roughness means that a spit-shine can't be done? (i've done spit-shines on smooth (ie non chromexcel) calfskin shoes of many different makes so it's probably not a problem with my technique).
     


  6. deburn

    deburn Senior member

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    Thanks Jason. They look great - so much sleeker than [​IMG]. No need for another pic, but if you could find out where your cobbler gets them that would be great
     


  7. spitshine123

    spitshine123 Senior member

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    A question about sizing down for the 3 last. If I fit perfectly as a 8.5E in the 5 last, should I go 8E or 8EEE in the 3 last? The store I visited only had 8.5D in store for me to try in the 3 last, and it was way too long and narrow
     


  8. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    The issue with repairing "cheap" shoes definitely rests with the cheap materials that they are made from. As others said, any shoe is "theoretically" repairable. However, the cheap materials that most modern shoes are made from make them more disposable than repairable. Often, the low quality leather deteriorates just as rapidly as the sole. Thus, when the sole is ready for replacement, the rest of the shoe looks so bad that it just isn't worth it. Similarly, insoles in cheap shoes are frequently made from fiberboard, which is nothing more than a composite of paper and fiberglass. Fiberboard does not respond well to moisture (it responds similarly to cardboard or masonite siding on a house), so as your shoe soles get thin, wet pavement or rain gets water underneath the insole that begins to rot it. You may have even experienced some moisture getting to your socks after wearing cheap shoes in a wet environment. Generally, when a cemented shoe is repaired, the old sole is ripped off (assuming it isn't already falling off), which can damage the upper leather that is lasted underneath the insole before the outsole is glued on. When the outsole of a cheap cemented shoe is ripped off, you run a substantial risk of damaging the upper leather, as well as changing the shape of the shoe (which will keep it from fitting properly afterword). Also, if the moisture issue mentioned above has taken place, the insole can be severely damaged when the worn out sole is ripped off. Another issue with cheap shoes is the rotting from the inside out. Cheap leathers that are lacquered to correct their grain appearance don't breathe appropriately. Thus, perspiration stays in the leather linings longer and deteriorates the inside of the shoe prematurely.

    What mimo said above about repairing Goodyear-welted shoes is true in theory. For a Goodyear-welted shoe to be resoled more than ~4-6 times, you will need to have them resoled by someone other than the manufacturer. This is because the manufacturers will replace the welt automatically. Replacing the welt weakens the leather uppers every time it is done. Think of it like perforated paper. The more holes, the easier it is to tear. When a new welt is put on the shoe, the needle that is securing the new welt to the leather upper punches new holes in the edge of the upper, weakening it further with each resoling. Eventually the integrity of the leather upper is shot due to the amount of needle holes, and the manufacturer will tell you that they won't resole them. To prevent this, you can have new soles hand stitched to the original welt, which will prolong the life of the shoe indefinitely. Finding someone to do this can be tricky, but it can be done. I believe that B. Nelson will do it if you don't have a local cobbler that is trustworthy to do it.

    Goodyear-welted shoes are able to retain their shape better during resoling. If they are sent to the original manufacturer, then they will be put on their original last, which helps protect them from changing shape. If they are sent to a trustworthy cobbler, and if the original welt is left in place during resoling, then the welt will keep them properly shaped.

    As far as determining what shoes are quality, you have to do your research. I don't believe that Cole-Haan makes any Goodyear-welted shoes. It is relatively easy to find out which ones are by doing research online before you go shopping. Since Goodyear-welting has become the "gold-standard", it is often touted as a quality point by their manufacturer. So, if they are, it will frequently say it in the description of the shoe. Often, if the description doesn't say so, it's relatively safe to assume that it isn't (especially in manufacturers with multiple levels of quality). A major exception to this is when you are referencing secondary retailers (department stores, online retailers, etc.). Secondary retailers don't always go into construction details. If all else fails, learn the ins and outs of Goodyear-welted shoe construction (easy to find online) and teach yourself what to look for so that when you are holding a shoe in your hands, you will know what you are looking at.

    Preliminary things that are easy to learn and look for:

    1. Learn the manufacturers that make Goodyear-welted shoes, it'll save you time in trying to determine if a specific shoe is or isn't.
    2. When holding a shoe, determine if it has real stitching (thread) around the edges of the welt. Often, fake stitches are used in really cheap shoes.
    3. If it has real thread, check to see if the thread is also visible on the bottom of the shoe. Only higher end Goodyear-welted shoes conceal their stitches on the bottom (called channel stitching), whereas the more affordable Goodyear-welted shoes have visible stitching on the bottom (called "stitched-aloft"). If the shoe is below $400, with a couple of exceptions, like Meermin, it is likely to be visibly stitched aloft.
    4. If it has real thread and visible stitching on the bottom, make sure it matches on both sides (under the shoe and on the welt). Make sure it is the same distance from the edge of the shoe on both the top and bottom. Make sure that the number of stitches per inch match up. If there is a small section on the bottom where there are a few extra stitches per inch, it will be the same on the top. If a stitch is crooked on the bottom, often (not always) it will be slightly crooked on the top. Obviously, if it doesn't match, something is wrong.
    5. Make sure the stitches go all the way to the heel. Even in 270 degree welted shoes, the stitches should extend to the heel. If they don't, it isn't Goodyear-welted.
    6. Make sure you don't see any stitches on the inside of the shoe that are going through the insole (if there are, it is likely Blake-stitched rather than Goodyear-welted). Goodyear-welted insoles are smooth and stitch free on the inside.
    7. Flex the shoe in your hands. Goodyear-welted shoes are very stiff when you are trying to flex them, whereas most other shoes bend much easier by comparison. This is subjective and inconsistent, but it can be a good initial indicator when you first pick up the shoe.

    I agree with others above who said that if you are only wearing the shoes on rare occasions, you can get away with cheap shoes to fill in gaps easier. Be aware that some companies that make Goodyear-welted shoes still make them from cheap materials. Johnston and Murphy is one of these (with the exception of their highest tier Crown Aristocraft examples such as the Georgetown II). Lesser examples by J&M such as the Melton, and their Aristocraft line, may be Goodyear-welted, but they are made from materials that are more akin to cheap cemented shoes, and are made in places like India. I say all this, because all too often Allen Edmonds makes it very worth your time and money to buy Allen Edmonds. You mention Cole-Haan and J&M, which is why I've used them as examples. So many of their shoes are priced close to Allen Edmonds, but are substantially lower in quality. Just make sure you aren't paying a comparatively high price for a cheaper shoe when you may be able to get a nicer Allen Edmonds (even if you buy a factory second) for a similar price or only slightly more. However, if the style is something you are in love with and it is only available in the lower quality option, then buy it if it suits you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013


  9. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    The Cole-Haans in the link you posted are a perfect example of what I was describing. See the "normal" looking stitches around the welt in the photo showing the top of the shoe? Now look at the photo showing the bottom. See the comparatively wide stitches in the middle (the waist) of the shoe? They don't match in number of stitches per inch (not to mention the obvious fact that they only have stitches visible in the waist of the shoe, which is your next give-away). Many Cole-Haans use this decorative stitching on the bottom (and many go all the way around), but it is always wider on the bottom than the top.

    I also think this is a perfect example of what I was saying about making sure you aren't paying too much for a lesser quality shoe. This shoe is $250, but if you shop around, you will likely be able to get an AE monk strap for the same or less (you may have to buy seconds).
     


  10. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    ^^ Exactly right. As traditional shoe styles are very much in fashion, this fake stitching on the sole can lead you astray and is very common with high street and "fashion" brands at the moment. The giveaway is normally that the stitches are rather long, whereas those on the supposed "welt", look tight and realistic. In reality, they are glued together crap.

    Even without buying seconds, AE regularly has clearance items a-plenty at that price. And there are many other decently-made options, as mentioned above.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013


  11. Shiny

    Shiny Senior member

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    Looks great! Great price. Send me a pm if you see any 9.5ds, lol.
     


  12. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    This image of the new suede Strand on AE's website shows that they do have the Poron insole, like I feared. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     


  13. GOP Shoe Guy

    GOP Shoe Guy Senior member

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    All Shell Cordovan seconds are on sale at the shoe bank for $299. Shirley was able to locate the MTO Walnut Shell Cordovan Macneils I had made over the summer that did not pass inspection. I can't wait for them to arrive. They have a brown welt, the ones I got I had them change it to a natural. She said she can't see why they are seconds. I am so excited, Walnut Shell for $299. :)
     


  14. peppercorn78

    peppercorn78 Senior member

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    Wait, what?

    Just when I thought I was done buying shoes for the year!

    Did she say the dates for this promotion?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013


  15. AdamAdam

    AdamAdam Senior member

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    MWS, thank you for the detailed response. I agree that $250 is too much for shoes like that as I got my McAllister and Strand firsts for $249 and $229 during sales. I appreciate the info so that I know what to look for and the comment about repairing makes sense. Even if a cheaper shoe can be repaired, the poor quality upper will make it not worth it.

    Based on cost-to-value, style and customer service, I lean towards AE but there are a few things I've seen in other brands that I like so the education on what to look for is helpful. I know this is an AE appreciation thread but if anyone knows where to try on Carmina, Meermin, Loake, Tricker's, etc. I'd love to know.

    Thanks.
     


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