Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mild Mannered, Sep 27, 2009.
That boot sounds awesome! I cannot wait to see it
Dundee - 10D
5 last - 10E (I could fit the 10D but it is a little snug; I prefer a little room)
Well, whether or not the relatively frequent AE sales is good or bad for the brand, apparently the RDA sale is working on me. I had no intention of buying another pair of shoes in the foreseeable future after ordering the Jefferson WebGems last week, but after learning about the RDA sale being able to apply to the SF MTO offer, I thought about what makeup I might want and just now placed an order with Allison. It will be a Mora 2.0 in snuff suede with Dainite sole and wheeling on the welt. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.
I agree AE definitely sells a significant number at full retail. A SA at the AE store in the Chicago Loop has told me that a large portion of their customers are people traveling or on business for the day that need to buy an emergency pair of shoes or belt. Conversely, she said the Michigan Avenue store does a significant amount of busines selling the more casual Rough collection shoes to tourists and others on shopping trips. Not sure if this is actually true, but I have to admit both stores are usually empty when I visit during the work day, which leaves me wondering who their customers really are.
Also, to add a different twist to the value issue being discussed, I have considered buying a pair of suede strands, but have held off because they have never been discounted below $290 as of yet. I have a tough time paying $320 (with tax) for AE's, when I can get Carmina for only $100 more. Yet, if the AE's get discounted to around the $250 mark, I have no such issue. While others have said they would have no issue paying full retail for AE's, I think I would based on what I could obtain for the same amount of money. I think AE nees to stay in the $200's to keep its niche as the affordable, quality shoe.
Thank you for the advice everyone, much appreciated.
I currently have the Saunders, which should be longer and narrower than the Dundee?
Good heavens - what are all these people doing to their shoes to need emergency replacements? I have done a good bit of business travel in my day, and have yet to encounter a shoe emergency.
Hmmm - another "wouldn't pay retail" buyer. I wonder how uncommon this really is? I don't doubt the majority of walk-in customers and probably all tourist buyers pay full retail more often than not. But I also wonder what percentage of AE's business is now web-based, and where they project that percentage to be in 5 or 10 years. I'm willing to bet that among THAT group of buyers, the "wouldn't pay retail" customer is more prevalent than among the brick and mortar crowd.
So, just double checked with Allison on an aspect of those custom Neumoks that will make them super-duper epic (and she thinks it will indeed be the case). The inside of the neumok has a bit of the outer leather used for a heelcup lining and in the toe. Since the MTO Neumok will be to those spec, I'll therefore have unstructured shell wingtips that are half-lined with shell cordovan... that's something you just can't get with the other models! How awesome will that be? Anyway, she's checking on that to confirm, and then I'll put in the order.
I agree that with most here who believe Alden shells are simply dyed better, at least for my personal tastes. The difference is negligible at best as far as the quality of construction. I have witnessed QC issues from both manufacturers. I attribute AE's to the the sheer volume of shoes they produce, while Alden's can be attributed to the increased handwork (human element).Often I hear terms like "finished better" which is difficult to quantify in my opinion and mostly subjective. Either way both have a spot in my rotation. Two great American companies who excel at what they do.
I'd venture to say that pretty much everyone who is a regular poster in this thread could be grouped into the "wouldn't pay retail" buyers. At least, I was considering that a relatively safe bet (give or take a few). However, there are less than 100 people who are truly regulars. Of course there are always those who will just read the thread, learn, and take their knowledge with them without actually being an active participant.
AE's revenue in 2012 was ~$120 million. I say we are a pock mark on a wall when it comes to how many shoes they sell annually.
I don't think we will ever know for sure, and there's really no way to calculate it.
There are some things about Alden that are objectively better than AE, and some things that are subjective on both.
In my opinion, the stitching on Aldens is objectively better. Higher stitches-per-inch, straighter lines, and the welt stitching is just a work of art. Seriously, if you hold Aldens next to a pair of AEs it's night and day.
Leather lining-wise, Alden uses a much finer quality leather, but AEs is more durable. Alden's is a bit too delicate for my taste.
Shell quality wise, well, that's tougher to compare. I like AEs burgundy much much more than Aldens. AE's patinas better and shoes more variations. Alden's is better if you want a darker shell and/or a more consistent shade. My AE's have all sorts of the horse's scars visible, and variations in the color. They also are an odd color if you don't love #8 for #8.
Last wise, well, that's a toss up. The Barrie last is terrible if you have wide feet, because the heel is wayyyyy too wide (most people with wide feet have narrower heels). The toe of Alden long wings is nicer, but the heel of the MacNeils is better fitting.
At the end of the day, I think it all depends on what you want. Custom AE MTO's at $500 easily trump Aldens at $650 *unless* you get exactly the Alden make-up you want. Remember, those great rare shades can take over a year in pre-order with Alden.
We don't have "Uncle" MacArthur here calling everyone nephew, and just page after page of quoted images saying "here's what I'm wearing" and him saying "nice shoes nephew" and them saying "thank you uncle."
As for the idea of lower prices being a problem, it's a tough capitalism call. AE does huge volume, and so has huge numbers of seconds. If they can be profitable while selling the seconds, then so much the better. Most people have no clue about these prices, so it doesn't damage their image that much. And then those of us who do have tons of shoes, letting other people know that AE's are awesome, and probably driving more sales. I know I've driven friends to purchase at least 2-3x the number of shoes that I've bought, and that probably makes it worth while.
Is the RDA sale the best deals of the year? I will be interviewing for new jobs in November/December and want to get my first pair of AE but not sure if there are better deals around the corner. Looking for the Park Ave in black. Not sure if I should risk getting seconds or just get firsts.
I'd pay above current retail price, if that's what they cost, simply because no other manufacturer on the planet offers quality shoes in size 14AA. I'm certainly grateful to AE for making an excellent product and discounting it often -- I just placed an MTO order three hours ago! -- but price is secondary to shoes that fit.
While the number of shoes SF members purchase may be small compared to total sales. I wonder how many people (casual readers) are steered towards AE by this threads existence.
^^^ I certainly appreciate Alden's welt stitching compared to AE's. While technically subjective, I agree that it certainly looks better to my eyes.
That's a great point. I have a narrow foot that is somewhat large (11B). Places like Alden would tell me to get a wider foot if I wanted their shoes, vs. the MTO process of AE. Customer service of AE is far and above one of the best reasons to purchase from them....compared to the "the beatings will continue until morale improves" attitude of some of their competitors.
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