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

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

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  1. chinngiskhaan

    chinngiskhaan Senior member

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    I'm considering getting the fifth street in brown... but with a more natural colored sole edge... What do you guys think? Should I stick with the normal one or go with the natural?
     


  2. Pastor

    Pastor Senior member

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    I agree with this post. There is an AE store close to me that I visit pretty often. I like the store and the staff there and there are times that we'll just sit and talk about all kinds of things (usually not shoes though...). I don't think i've every been there and there was not someone in the store purchasing shoes at full price. I sit with the knowledge that I know I could get a better deal by going the seconds route or waiting on a better sale but I want AE to do well and the majority of their profit no doubt comes from the sale of full price shoes. Even knowing as much as I do I still pay full price at the store from time to time. When new styles come out I don't mind paying full price because even then I think the quality to price ratio is worth it.
     


  3. MacktasticGDogg

    MacktasticGDogg Senior member

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    I think this is a valid thought. However, personally speaking, all these sales really have not changed my perception of AE's brand value. If anything, it has completely sworn me off Aldens because I really don't feel that Aldens are so much better than AE to be able to justify their pricing. I'd much rather pay the Alden price toward a pair of Carminas (and have), than a pair of Aldens. I think the current AE shoes are still pretty well made and at the sale prices represent a good value, so I've bought a lot (too many) of them. If there weren't all these sales, I'd own a lot less AE's, but I don't think my perception of them as a brand would change much, if at all.

    I think the "problem" with AE is that so many shoes go on close out so soon that you never really know which ones, other than the staples, end up in on clearance. I mean, there are some styles that were barely out for a few months before going on closeout. For example, I think the Spiaggias I got a for $118 last month were introduced maybe 6 months ago. Even the Neumora didn't get much of a run before being replaced by the Mora 2.0. I think the high model turnover is one of the reasons for a lot of AE's at lower prices. Not that I'm complaining.
     


  4. WICaniac

    WICaniac Senior member

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    I don't agree. AE has never been nor should be an overpriced luxury brand such as Hermès. Instead, it offers handmade shoes of exceptional quality at a fair price. Much of its customer base can walk into retail stores and pay full price, but if it wants to expand its market share and penetrate a younger demographic it needs to create opportunities for ownership among men who would not normally consider spending $345 on a pair of shoes--until they've owned a pair. The brand is becoming no less exclusive, moreover, as I suspect that these sales appeal foremost to existing customers who are on the mailing list, read this forum, etc. You need only read through the posts above to realize that this strategy pays off, as AE "addicts" binge buy during these promotions. I know too well.
     


  5. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:No doubt we are a small subset - but it doesn't really take any "digging" at all to find these sales. A week doesn't go by where there isn't a promotional e-mail of some kind from AE in my in-box. The internet can't now be viewed as some kind of newfangled toy available only to the "in-the-know" crowd. And AE is putting no small amount of effort into web sales (successfully so - they have one of the better sites out there for easy e-purchases and comprehensive product browsing). And does anyone really disagree with the proposition that e-commerce is gaining in popularity across a broad cross-section of the consumer market?
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013


  6. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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    I just got called out by two doctors in my office for wearing red pants. It was pretty funny.

     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013


  7. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:I'm not sure the choices are as stark as discounted bargain brand versus overpriced fashion brand. Carmina - another fave brand of mine - sells their products just above the AE price point - $475-$525 for calf versus $350 or so from AE. But the disparity in perception (speaking for myself, of course) is a good deal greater. Because while the occasional deal can be had from individual Carmina retailers, the manufacturer themselves aren't in the grips of a never-ending sale cycle. So my perception of the brand where Carmina is concerned is that of a ~$500 shoe. My perception of AE is vastly lower, and slipping. Understand here that I am not drawing comparisons between the two in terms of quality - just pointing out that holding the line on pricing (neither rapidly and arbitrarlily increasing price, nor constantly and deply discounting) has potential consequences for brand perception. Do you disagree with that?
     


  8. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Yes, that's another issue as well - too many here-today-gone-tomorrow models. Almost like using their primary consumer market for beta testing. I think diversity is an overall strength, but there can indeed be too much of a good thing.
     


  9. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    You know they keep very sophisticated metrics on their sales, and it doesn't take long for a company with a sales volume like AE to realize that something isn't selling the way it should. Fortunately, it's pretty easy for them at that point to pull the plug on manufacturing of the model in question and still sell the existing stock with enough profit to keep them humming along.

    Also, while we members of Style Forum do represent an extreme minority of people out there, and thus represent a small fraction of overall sales, we have proven to be a reliable voice that has been heard by AE's senior management. They keep a finger on the pulse of trends by monitoring this thread (and others). Some models get this face [​IMG] in this thread from the day they are introduced, and if sales metrics reflect the same impression, they put them on clearance pretty quickly.

    I think the Mora 2.0 is reflective of the fact that they tried to fix something that wasn't broken. That has to happen sometimes, for companies to stay "relevant", but sometimes they just need to keep what's working and simply leave it alone. The main thing is the company's ability to realize this and step back when necessary. If you never try anything new, you end up with stagnant growth, like Alden (who seems to be ok with that). Personally, I think there is room in the market for both types of company models. I like anticipating what AE will come out with next. I also like knowing that if I need a nice, good quality, perforated cap toe balmoral in a versatile color, Alden will probably always be making one; even if AE discontinues the Fifth Avenue for a while (not saying they ever will).
    I could care less if Alden is ok with stagnant growth, as long as they are around to provide me with a pair of shoes I need to fill a void in my rotation if I need them. [​IMG] It isn't like their company profits are effecting my pocket.
     


  10. mdubs

    mdubs The Mayor of Aldensville

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    A lot of Alden seconds go to TheShoeMart and get sold for $299 calf/$399 shell.

    You have to register for your size and they send you a list of what they got every few months and then there is a massive scramble to call them... :)

    http://www.theshoemart.com/contact/c-contact_irregular.html

    -Mike
     


  11. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I agree that the information is readily available, but that doesn't mean that it is caught or noticed by the masses. Everyone on earth wears shoes. The average joe doesn't think to research them the way we do, because they don't care. They are strictly a necessity. If you work in a professional environment where you need dress shoes, then the average joe goes to his local department store and buys what he thinks is appropriate. No real research takes place. The internet is so full of information on every topic known to man, that if you don't filter out the things that aren't important to you, you'll never get anywhere. Tires are a necessity too, everyone with a car has to have them, and the internet is chock full of information on why some tires are better than others. However, that doesn't stop most people from ignoring their tires until they are either showing their belts, or the mechanic says that they need to be replaced. Most people take the mechanic's word for which tires to put on their car and choose which quality level to buy based on the prices presented to them in the waiting room, and what they can afford in the moment. I don't think the information on the internet has changed this habit with most of the world. Rather, it has helped those who actually care to learn more get better deals.
     


  12. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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    I just got a nice long list of stuffs from allison, but sadly I don't see any black boots on there that I can jive with.

    The chukkamocs are only in navy and I already own walnut daltons so don't see the need for another pair in black. They're a little rich for my taste currently as well. Sigh.

    Any recs for which models I should look for? There are so many on there that it's making my head spin!
     


  13. WICaniac

    WICaniac Senior member

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    Really? It didn't make sense to me that they offered two monk strap models (Neumora and Franciscan) on the same peculiar last. Some love it, others hate, and yet others (like me) can't get a good fit in it. I was very pleased to see the Mora 2.0 unveiled, and they have jumped toward the top of my wish list.

    I don't disagree entirely, as I try to avoid retail stores in which nearly everything is always on sale, as it raises questions in my mind regarding value and, frankly, integrity. Yet in this case I don't consider the discounts to be so deep or arbitrary as to raise concern. As a previous poster points out, the price points are calculated to move inventory and enhance profitability, and most people would scoff at the idea that $269 for a factory second bespeaks a "cheap" brand or shoe. AE occupies a unique place in the marketplace in that they are able to sell an old-fashioned (in the best sense) product like this at a volume that demands / benefits from modern retail methods. I suspect readers of this forum want AE to thrive and like to get a deal on the shoes they love. Aside, then, from taking a bit of the status-symbol luster off of your Cordovan Daltons, it seems that these promotions benefit everyone who appreciates AE and their products.

    The inside of the 1818 magazine I picked up at Brooks Brothers this weekend includes this April 7, 1818, mission statement from Henry Sands Brooks: "To make and deal only in merchandise of the best quality, to sell it at a fair profit only, and to deal only with those who seek and are capable of appreciating such merchandise." My sense is that AE adheres to this vision even though it's not theirs.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013


  14. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I see how that was misread. What I meant was that the Mora should never have been discontinued in the first place. When they discontinued it and released the Neumora in it's place, they were "trying to fix something that wasn't broken." The Neumora didn't sell as well, so they have gone back to the Mora, and called it Mora 2.0. I still say they should have just stuck with the name Mora. The 2.0 part makes it sound like some sort of computer program.
     


  15. esk8mw

    esk8mw Active Member

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    I think what's being lost in this discussion is that we are in fact buying defective products deemed unfit for retail stores at a discount. Shoes which are discontinued and defective are offered at deep discounts. I don't see how offering such shoes at discounted rates reflects poorly on the brand. I would think the proper metric is primarily quality and price of first quality shoes. Unless you hit up the AE clearance rack or score some closeouts on 6pm.com or something similar, you generally can't find first quality shoes at deep discounted rates unless RDA is going on (unless I'm doing something wrong).

    Of course, being the informed ones, we know that seconds blemishes are often trivial and are willing to give it a go. The vast majority of people (especially those with the means and inclination to buy AE in the first place), however, would laugh at the thought of paying over $200 for defective shoes. I still say we are the minority of AE buyer and we are (rightly) rewarded for our due diligence (monitoring sales and outlets across the country on a daily basis) and loyalty (see MTO discount for SF members). AE knows what it's doing IMO.
     


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