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

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

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  1. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:No doubt that for the "masses" as referred to previously, a $200 shoe purchase is indeed an outlier. And you make a fair point about our perception being impacted by exposure to, and ownership of higher end shoes. But in my case, I have been an AE customer for nearly a quarter century. And I have made purchases of their product as recently as this year, notwithstanding that the bulk of my purchases are indeed now from higher end brands. So I don't think it is a case for me of having "moved beyond" the brand, and now looking back - and down - upon it. I feel there has been a shift over time in how I perceive the brand (again, as distinct from the product) that very likely flows from the way the company has managed the brand. Beacause I really don't think any less of the products themselves.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  2. cincikid

    cincikid Senior member

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    I agree with your assessment. I think that the Larchmont and MacNeil might be indeed different enough to warrant their peaceful co-existence in the AE line-up. However, the Strand, the Elgin and the Strandmok are all built on the same last and have relatively few differences between them to justify each having their distinct name. MacNeil is very similar to the Aberdeen, even though the lasts are somewhat different. This can go on and on.

    Fwiw, I think Alden has its own stores in NYC, DC, and SF.
     
  3. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    This, along with some of the other posts in this discussion, is starting to sound like the whole issue is resting with the very fact that AE can be purchased at these low prices. Is that the issue we are really discussing? I'm sure AE would be happy to charge you twice the price if you really want them to.

    It is very common in the Alden vs. AE discussions, for Alden to just barely inch out a win over AE. One thing I've noticed though, is that most people readily concede that Alden doesn't win due to better build quality. Yes, most agree that Alden's dyes on their shell cordovan looks better. Many prefer certain proportions of Alden shoes over AE, and there are other subtle differences that people can favor. But, all too often, people just say that they "can't put their finger on it" or something to that regard. I would contend that it is mostly perceived exclusivity which results from Alden's business model. Even above (in bold), it was said that paying full price for Alden's (which literally comes out to over twice the price of a well discounted AE second in calfskin), would be perfectly ok even though there may be no discernible difference in quality.

    As my Style Forum user name may indicate [​IMG], I can't quite relate to that. If the heart of this whole discussion is simply that AE isn't as nice simply because more people can afford them, then I'll probably check out of the discussion. I don't enjoy my AE's less because more people are wearing the same brand, compared to other more expensive brands. In fact, I enjoy seeing nice shoes on others. It's a refreshing break from the crap most people wear, and it gives you a chance to give an understanding nod to a total stranger. I am happy to buy Alden (or even more expensive) shoes for a unique feature that they bring to the table, but not if the product is such a close call that it simply comes down to how many other people will have it. Even if that were a concern of mine (which it isn't), you have to remember that even AE isn't that prevalent.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  4. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:This quite precisely gets at part of my concern about the perma-sale practices: it affects your perception of what the shoes are worth. You wouldn't pay full retail because they can always be had on sale. Therefore you begin to perceive the discounted price as the effective retail price. The actual retail price comes to be perceived as "too much".
     
  5. jungleroller

    jungleroller Senior member

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    Aha! I see. Well. I'm going with the Fifth Ave.'s because the bourbon is beautiful. Stop all this cordovan talk, I'm trying my best to resist more spending [​IMG]
     
  6. NWTeal

    NWTeal Senior member

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    Ahh, yes you are right about those stores.

    I agree to some extent. It's true that there are lots of similar shoes, but from what I've seen I think the unique names are a derivative of the shoe's purpose. For example, I would never my black McTavish for the same purposes as my black McAllister. I guess AE uses the different names as marketing tactics or maybe it's easier for consumers to see different names of similar shoes rather than having 10 options for the same shoe. Actually, now that I think about it, I probably would not have both a black McTavish and black Mcallister if they were both called by the same name. They totally got me! [​IMG]
     
  7. cincikid

    cincikid Senior member

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    This is exactly the point I was trying to make. It's a largely perceived issue, but it is important nevertheless. Again, I am a loyal AE customer and I am sure AE will dominate in my closet in a foreseeable future, but I will always be cherishing my Aldens a bit more and wear them on special occasions whereas AE--which I consider the same quality--will be my workhorse shoes. I know I should be able to get any AE shoe at about 50% off if things keep looking the way they are now, but I am also confident, Aldens will go up in price.
     
  8. ridethecliche

    ridethecliche Senior member

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  9. cincikid

    cincikid Senior member

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  10. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Perception is indeed an important factor when it comes to branding. Very important.
     
  11. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:I consider them (for the most part) to be very much worth the retail asking price as well. But I would never buy a pair at full pop (unless I were doing a special order) for the very reasons you mention. For me, the retail price has effectively become a fictional number. I wouldn't pay it. You wouldn't pay it. Note that neither of us are hating on the brand, or saying the shoes are themselves unworthy. If that became the view of the bulk of AE customers, what would that say about the brand?
     
  12. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I can understand the desire for AE to not become ubiquitous, and in all of my previous comments, I haven't lost sight of that. There is a side of me that says the AE's that we know now, would have been ubiquitous 50 years ago. As they say, they don't make them like the used to. Goodyear-welted shoes were normal in the mid-1900's. Now they are exceptional. I wouldn't mind it if they became a bit more normal again. I think your comment about not wearing dress shoes to be a hipster strikes an important chord as well. I think the goal of how people dress is having a large impact on the points of view in this discussion. I wear nice dress shoes for many reasons, and being a hipster is probably lowest on the list.
     
  13. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I fully agree.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  14. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I think we've come back full circle now though. [​IMG] I completely agree. However, I still contend that the "masses" do pay full retail, and we are a relatively small group of "in the know" people who share hints and information to come out ahead. Most of the world considers AE to be extremely expensive shoes, and they consider all the brands that are more expensive to be for the insane.

    As I had an email in my inbox this morning from Jos A Bank, I was reminded of their business model. I think it may be their model that you are fearing AE is similarly representing. Regular retail prices at Jos A Bank are a complete sham. Anyone who goes to their site even once a week will see that if you wait around, you will pay pennies on the dollar compared to what their "retail" prices are. AE isn't anywhere near this, and their handful of annual sales on select styles won't get them anywhere near that.
     
  15. Scottyb06

    Scottyb06 Senior member

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    Saw my new seconds suede Strands on my porch while I was leaving for work. Took them with my in the car for inspection and snapped a few pictures before walking into my office. Overall they look great with only a minor blemish near the heel of one shoe. This is now my seventh pair of AEs purchased as seconds where the flaw cannot be found or is very minor:

    Black Hastings (purchased from Nordstrom's Rack. Cannot find a flaw anywhere)
    Walnut Strands with the V-Tread tap sole (AE sent me a pair of seconds with the tap sole but honored Nordstrom's recent sale price of $229)
    Bourbon McAllisters (firsts - no flaws as expected)
    Snuff Suede Neumoks (seconds - very minor flaw near the inside of the welt on the left shoe. A few drops of superglue fixed the issue immediately.)
    Snuff Suede Amoks (they had a pair made from the factor for me for $99 because they were out of stock in seconds. I was shocked that they did this - I didn't even ask them to!)
    Tan Ashbury Chelsea boots (seconds - I can't find the flaw anywhere)
    Natural Tan McTavish (purchased as seconds but they seem to have sent me firsts - they don't even have the seconds stamp on the sole)
    Suede Strands (purchased for $229 during current sale)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll post more pics when I get home actually wearing them. I also think I'll keep my colored laces in my Neumoks and the originals in these...
     
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