Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mild Mannered, Sep 27, 2009.
I went to Nordstroms last night to purchase a pair of walnut Strands - called ahead and they had one pair left. When I put them on, the fit was fine, but I immediately noticed the toe box on one shoe was dramatically wider than the other. I pointed this out to the salesperson and she immediately agreed they looked like two different lasts. The finish on one shoe also had some color striations that almost looked like faint tiger stripes . The sales person found another pair at a different store which she is shiping to me on Monday. Hopefully they will pass muster.
I have bought a few seconds from the shoebank and can never find any obvious defects. These could not even qualify as thirds. I own 18 pair of Allen Edmonds - I am wondering if quality is slipping.
I definitely cant comment on their quality overall, but I had a similar experience with a pair recently. Wanted to get the Rutledge in walnut and a local store had them in my size. Went to try them on and they fit perfectly; however, the colouring was so different between the two shoes it was quite striking. One shoe was so much darker than the other it was hard to believe. The salesman noticed it as well and said they would be sending them back to AE immediately for a replacement.
Just to clarify, I think the above experience is not the norm and will continue to buy their shoes. Was just very surprising to see two shoes that look so different manage to get past AE quality control.
There haven't been a lot of quality comments lately, but there are lots earlier in this thread. It is definitely an issue they are having, and hopefully addressing and improving upon.
Their customer service is great. But they wouldn't have to go out of their way so often if they just got the product right in the first place, in a lot of cases.
I wonder if anyone else has had this impression: when I watch their "shoe making" videos, I get an impression of people rushing through their jobs. When you watch a video of one of the high end English companies, people appear to be working more slowly and carefully. I know it's just a video and may not represent reality, but to me it gives off the wrong message.
Having said all than, I own AE shoes and am active on this thread. So not a hater.. just wanting them to do better.
I'm thinking about picking up a pair of AEs at the Nordstrom sale. I got Park Avenues last year at the sale, so I have the black balmoral box checked. This year I'm thinking about either the walnut Strands or the tan McTavishes. My usual work outfits are dark denim, chinos, etc w/ OCBDs. I have a navy blue suit that I think would look great with the strands, although I don't have occasion to wear it often. I'm also thinking that I would like to expand my work wardrobe to include more wool pants as well. Any suggestions as to which (if either) of those shoes might be a more useful purchase for me would be appreciated. Do either work well with jeans? If both do, is one better than the other?
Speaking as someone who owns the tan McTavishes, get the walnut Strands. The McTavishes waxed leather isn't as nice as the regular full grain leather on Strands. They're also super casual and less versatile than Strands.
Please think about snapping some cell phone photos if or when you encounter this and post to the thread. Also, It would be good to have photos for something like a "Defects To Look For When Buying Shoes" thread.
I agree that the videos shoe workers moving very fast. That doesn't mean they are less accurate. Keep in mind that they are doing the same job, operating the same equipment every day. An expert can move very quickly while retaining a high rate quality of accuracy. It would be very interesting to look at the percentage of shoes that fail QC at Allen Edmonds vs. a slower English shoe maker. Allen Edmonds probably makes more manufacturing errors, but they also make more shoes. (Think 3-5 weeks for a MTO from AE vs. 12-18 months from Alden).
Stopped by Nordstroms this afternoon with the intention of trying a few different shoes on. Some of you may remember my sweet deal on McTavishes from ebay earlier in the month, but I realized that they were indeed too big for me so I sold them to someone else. But I love the shoe and so I wanted to try a few other sizes to get it right (I think I may actually need an 8.5EEE due to the way the shoe runs so long). Went to the store today planning on pulling the trigger if I found a good fit, but they were all out of ANY wide (E or EEE) sizes in both tan and black! Too bad, but I think I may still buy online and hope for the best, sizing-wise. Looking at the McTavish again made me realize just how much I love that shoe. I plan to wear it with denim and with chinos casually (and occasionally at work when I'm feeling like "dressing down" a bit).
That said, I honestly was also thinking of buying the walnut Strands today after finally seeing them in person. What a great looking shoe. I would've dropped $400 on both pairs today if they had my size, but unfortunately they didn't have my size in the Strands either!
As a side note, also got a look at the Park Avenue in person, and I gotta say I am underwhelmed, primarily because of the oft-mentioned anemic cap toe. My Johnston and Murphy Meltons have a better looking cap, in my opinion (although the leather is obviously lesser quality). If they made the toe cap larger, I would be much more likely to grab a pair for my wedding which is in 10 months.
Both work with jeans, although I'm not a big fan of the Strands with jeans look (too clashy . . . jeans are pretty much ultra casual while the Strands are still semi-formal . . . but others choose to do it anyway with no problems). So if you were looking for a mainly casual shoe, I'd say the McTavishes are the way to go. However, I would not ever wear the McT with a suit (although I would perhaps wear them with navy wool pants if I was feeling daring, and definitely would wear them with navy chinos). So if you want a single shoe to provide maximum versatility, the Strand is probably the way to go. You can wear them in most "dressy" occasions, and still probably get away with wearing them with denim, despite my personal distaste for that.
I think the problems are mostly with the uppers which are imported from the Dominican Republic.
Importing the uppers and then attaching the sole in the US seems like it could lead to a lot of manufacturing errors. If they made 100% of the shoe in the US, there likely wouldn't be so many issues.
Walked into AE asked if they would price match and they did...forgot my size in the 5 last so the lady measured me at an 8D. Brings out a 7.5D I didn't even look put them on they were a little tight though. She came back with the 8s and said in her 11 years working there I was the first person she has seen buy the shoe true to size. Is that normal? Shoe felt great and happy paying 220. 40 to put some rubber soles on once they come in some time this week.
Not disagreeing, but I think that in the end it comes down to quality inspection. AE may be producing a comparable number of defects compared to others, but they are not catching them before shipping out. Although to be fair, there are plenty of quality complaints on the Alden thread, too.
But I'll use Tricker's as an example - they sell "seconds" on ebay. I use quotation marks, because I bought a pair and honestly could not tell what the issue was. I emailed them, and they told me they weren't happy with the colors of the leather, and that there were small variations between the two. I guess I can see it, but barely; and the first polish will take care of it. That's quite different than the AE experience.
Again, at the price point that AE sells, they need to generate volume. To me, that means things like sole edges around stitching maybe being a little rougher - though that's just looks and does not affect durability. It's the number of defective shoes that make it out to retail stores that is the problem.
In case anyone's interested, got my Pisa loafers in: http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF55205_1_40000000001_-1
I'm returning them, because the buckles rattle really loudly! I can just imagine making a scene every time I walk into the office. I had not even considered that could be an issue.
I travel a lot to some less-than-developed countries, and I've been trying to find a loafer that would be suitable for business casual wear, comfortable, inexpensive, and also rubber soled for walking on cobblestones and in rain. I thought these might pass muster, even though they appear slightly klunky due to the commando soles. I probably would have kept them if not for the noise. The search continues...
FWIW- The quality would also likely be better if 100% of the shoe was made in the Dominican Republic.
Whoa, is this true of all their models? If so, AE just lost a customer.
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