Allen Edmonds vs. Alden--Which American Great Do You Prefer?!! OFFICIAL

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by JermynStreet, Nov 11, 2012.

Allen Edmonds or Alden!?

  1. Allen Edmonds

    152 vote(s)
    46.5%
  2. Alden

    175 vote(s)
    53.5%
  1. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    I'd actually differentiate between lace-up and loafers. Strange, I know, but my experience with each has been a bit different.

    With respect to lace-ups, I've had better experience with the quality and finish of the uppers with Alden than Allen Edmonds. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but Alden shoes have lasted a bit longer than comparable shoes from Allen Edmonds. With respect to loafers, I've very much enjoyed Allen Edmonds (partly because Alden loafers do not seem to fit me as well) but have also been very impressed with the quality of the shoes themselves. I think that both are good quality shoes and I still shop Allen Edmonds for loafers, especially at discounted prices. For lace-ups, if I'm paying the Alden premium, I'd prefer to just go with C&J, but prefer Alden if I only get the two choices in this thread.
     


  2. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Ahh, I didn't realize you were referring strictly to shell. Yeah, I haven't quite figured out why the Dalton in shell is a full $100.00 more than their other cordovan offerings. I don't think there is another $100.00 worth of leather involved in making the boot.

    Ironically someone posted a picture of a shell Alden that is nearly identical to the shell Dalton a couple of days ago.

    [​IMG]
     


  3. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    I do love the toe medallion on those Alden boots. I find it much easier to get a shine on my alden SWBs than my AE Cambridges. I think the leather sheen is a bit better. I did read somewhere, though, that AE is going to be upping the quality of their cordovan uppers. I don't know what that means considering Alden and AE are both from Horween, but apparently, that's the deal. I'd love if someone could verify this.
     


  4. stant62

    stant62 Senior member

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    I just tried on the Fifth Street boot today - the leather seemed much more rigid than a comparable Alden. Probably quite painful to break those in.
     


  5. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    I prefer Alden. I don't own any AE's but their offerings don't do much for me. if they had styles that were a little more sleek and European i'd buy their shoes, otherwise, I think Alden has the edge in terms of quality and style. I absolutely love my Alden cap toe bal shell cordovans and look forward to buying a pair of Indy boots.
     


  6. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Last year they introduced their new dye finishing process for their shell offerings. I assume this is what you are referring to? By all accounts it is a substantial improvement, and makes them look richer and shinier (more like Alden) instead of the flat matte look they used to have. Both companies get their shell from Horween, but they add their own dye to make it a unique product. Alden's dye finishing has always been better looking than AE's according to most, but AE is trying to close that gap.
     


  7. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Alden makes a beautiful product, and if you prefer them that is great. I only comment because your reasoning seems contradictory. Between the two companies, AE makes some shoes that are much sleeker and more "European" than Alden. Alden's designs are quintessentially American, and don't have any European flair to them at all. I may be misinterpreting your comment. Maybe you aren't saying that is why you prefer Alden?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013


  8. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    no kidding. alden is about as blobby as it gets.
     


  9. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    you're right, some of Alden's shoes fall into the blobby category, but I think it has more to do with the general aesthetics of how their shoes are designed and how they look to my eyes. with AE there's always something that doesn't quite seem right. maybe it's the sillhouette of the shoe, maybe it's the arch or maybe it's because they look cheap....it's not something I can put my finger on exactly but it's there. when I look at Alden's cap toe balmoral shell cordovan and put it next to the AE Park Ave the Alden looks like the better shoe. you could attribute this to the shell cordovan or you could attribute it to how it looks. AE has a perforated cap toe from their Independence collection that I kind of like, but for that kind of money i'd rather just order a pair of English shoes from Alfred Sargent or C&J.
     


  10. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    That's fair enough! I have similar experiences. It's something you can't put your finger on, but the perception exists. I wonder if it is percieved exclusivity since nobody (including me) is really able to explain subjectively what makes Alden seem nicer, but the feelings persist.
     


  11. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    I think you're right about the perceived exclusivity with regard to Alden. Alden does a lot of MTO shoes with companies like Leffot, Leather Soul Hawaii, theshoemart, etc., and it's because you can only get specific styles of their shoes through these retailers that it makes them more desirable. Leather Soul Hawaii has had a few Alden offerings that made me with I had deeper pockets. Compare this with AE which can be found everywhere. I guess the only way I can describe it is, i'd rather be the one guy in the room wearing a pair of Aldens than be like the 20 other guys wearing AE. I think it's about standing out or being different. I won't flat out say that I hate AE, because I don't. they just don't have any shoes that jump out at me that make me want to rush out and buy a pair. likewise, while I am a huge fan of Alden, some of their offerings aren't my cup of tea....they just happen to have more shoes that are to my liking than AE
     


  12. nickrut

    nickrut Senior member

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    I don't own any Aldens but with AEs being such a great bang for your buck, especially seconds or when on sale, it's hard to think I need more than AEs. I know you get what you pay for but its hard to think a pair of Aldens is worth 80% more than the AEs based on things I read.
     


  13. myk7000

    myk7000 Senior member

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    With regards to the shoes in the original post, I think the design of the Allen Edmonds is slightly more appealing to me.

    However, now that I've owned both brands for an extended period of time, I think I'm going to go with Alden on this one in terms of quality. It's a notch higher in my opinion.

    Unfortunately, Aldens usually costs more on the whole, so with price factored in, the decision becomes a bit more difficult.
     


  14. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I keep hearing about Alden's higher quality, but no one seems to be able to articulate just what this is (with the exception of the shell finish). I admit that I don't see it. The leather does not appear to be a higher quality, nor do the last shapes appear more elegant (or whatever term you want). Am I missing something?

    PS: I totally understand buying Alden if there is an Alden shoe that AE really doesn't make, but I am talking about very similar shoes, e.g. short-wing balmoral (AE McAllister).
     


  15. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    unfortunately, their costs will continue to go up. I remember when their shell cordovans used to be in the $500 range, now they're priced over $600. I ended up buying a pair of shell cordovans because I didn't want to wait and see another price hike go into effect. the upside with AE is that their prices remain consistent with only minimal price increases
     


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