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New Allen Edmonds Quality

Aju

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I've read a lot about AE quality slipping and have experienced it first hand with a pair of calf Leeds I ordered. They had a few relatively minor issues including loose grain on one of the blucher flaps, and some inconsist burnishing, some waviness in the welt, etc. Later I ordered a pair of strandmoks that were on sale (these I don't have any complaints with, quality-wise).

I used to sell men's shoes back in the 90's and moved a lot of volume (mostly AE and Alden's) and never really saw more than a handful of pairs with quality issues. It was during this time that I grew to love the qualities of shell cordovan, and bought myself a pair. Unfortunately, I outgrew them, and they were the largest size manufactured by Alden. I sort of gave up on the idea of ever owning a pair as my feet grew to an American size 16, but recently I noticed that AE offered shell in my size. So I ordered a pair of Leeds in black that required several weeks of lead time to manufacture and ship.

I received the shoes yesterday and noted immediately upon trying them on that they fit better than their calf counterparts, but have even more cosmetic defects. The pictures show most of these. I've reached out to AE and am awaiting a response. Is this the kind of quality everyone here has come to expect from them? Is there any hope that a replacement pair will be any better? Even at F2 pricing I think I would be disappointed. The thing that bothers me, though, is that the sole seems to fit so much better than the calf pair do (much more supportive) and I'm not sure another pair would fit the same way.
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ducatiti

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Pretty much the norm for AE nowadays. I’ve only been purchasing AE’s lately @ major Holiday sales. Were you able to avail a 15% discount at least?
 

Phileas Fogg

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Shell is a more difficult material to work with than calf.

With that said, other shoe makers are able to execute a finished product that looks better than that. Perhaps AE should get out of the Shell Cordovan game. That shoe should never have left Port Washington.
 

Genericuser1

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Best thing to do is contact one of the better stores like Charleston or Paramus and they will handle a return for you. AE makes probably 50x the amount of shoes as Alden so their percentage of QC issues may not be higher but that equates to more shoes with issues.

I agree those should have been caught before shipping. You can keep sending them back until they get you a pair you are happy with although that is a hassle. I'd definitely send those back for a new pair.
 

American_Psycho11

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I own a few pairs of AE and every single one has issues. It's not even worth wasting time on that company anymore, just let them fail. They're a different company than they were in the past and there's no point supporting them anymore, let them fail
 

JFWR

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I own a few pairs of AE and every single one has issues. It's not even worth wasting time on that company anymore, just let them fail. They're a different company than they were in the past and there's no point supporting them anymore, let them fail
I own about 30 pairs of Allen Edmonds. The only flaws I've identified are on two shoes in terms of inconsistent broguing.
 

manowar

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In the first photo are the shoes laced up on your feet? If so, they look horribly large for you based on the lacing. When properly fitted on the fit, that waviness in the shell shouldn't be there.

The other defects I think are accentuated by lighting and angles, and probably won't look bad when worn normally. Still likely should have been seconds though.
 

Aju

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Thanks for all of the input. To be clear, I'm really not looking to cast aspersions on the brand - I think they have a lot of good to offer, especially given the fact that they are one of very few shoemakers who offer anything in my size.

The waviness in the blucher flap exists only on the one, whether on my foot or not. It looks like the way it was mated with the liner is causing the rolls. Here are a couple more shots.
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Phileas Fogg

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Thanks for all of the input. To be clear, I'm really not looking to cast aspersions on the brand - I think they have a lot of good to offer, especially given the fact that they are one of very few shoemakers who offer anything in my size.

The waviness in the blucher flap exists only on the one, whether on my foot or not. It looks like the way it was mated with the liner is causing the rolls. Here are a couple more shots. View attachment 1711741 View attachment 1711742
thats an example of what I meant about shell just being more difficult to work with, but it’s not an excuse for poor craftsmanship. The above is such an example.

AE still offers a pretty decent value and for many just starting out, it’s the ideal entry level “grown up” shoe. They shouldn’t be messing around with Shell unless they are committed to proper execution.
 

bicycleradical

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I own about 30 pairs of Allen Edmonds. The only flaws I've identified are on two shoes in terms of inconsistent broguing.
I have about a dozen pairs of AE, half of which are factory seconds. Any flaws are so minor that no one would notice unless they looked up close.
 

jack webb

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I recently bought a pair of Chukka's from AE and am perfectly satisfied, although when it comes to shoes - and assuming It's a style I like - I'm willing to tolerate a thing or two if the fit is right.
 

Joe Schmoe

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I've had mostly good experiences with AE quality, and have probably owned around 50-60 pairs. I can't think of any major defects, except for one pair of factory second boots which had lace hooks that popped off when I'd lace the shoes up. But I sent them back to AE, they fixed the problem, and there were no more issues.

The issue I have with current AE quality is the little details, like stitches per inch, wheeling on the welts, things like that. If you buy a vintage pair from the 70's or 80's on eBay and compare the vintage shoes to a new pair of AE's, the difference is very, very noticeable. The vintage shoes were manufactured to a much higher standard of quality. The fit and finish is much, much better on the vintage shoes. I don't like saying this, because I have been very satisfied with my AE's, but there's just no denying it.

That said, AE's are much cheaper than shoes that are still manufactured to vintage standards -- Aldens, for example, never go on sale and as a result cost a whole lot more than AE's. Those AE models that are priced like Aldens -- like the shell models -- are pretty comparable in quality. I have two pairs of shell AE Park Avenues, and a pair of the Alden equivalent of the Park Avenue, and to be honest the difference in quality is pretty minimal. Alden does have a slight edge, because there are more stitches per inch, etc.... but it's a really slight difference. It's not like the AE's have fallen apart because they have fewer stitches per inch. The shoes are very very similar.

One thing that vexes me -- and maybe this i just because I don't know anything about how shoes are made -- is, how hard could it be to just dial up the stitches per inch, or add wheeling to the welts? Aren't a lot of the shoes made by machine anyway? There's probably a reason but I do wonder.
 

ValidusLA

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I've been fairly harsh on AE around the forum for a while now.
I would advocate moving to a different brand. That being said, your sizing issues are fairly extreme, and it may be difficult for you to do so. It might be worth it to just really hammer at them until you get shoes you are happy with.

In the last few years, AE has:
Experienced a marked increase in quality problems based on forum anecdotes (and my last experiences before I moved on).
Moved to a constantly on sale model (which means their real price is the sale price).
Engaged in deceptive marketing sloganeering to cover up their offshoring.
Started producing really abhorrent styles that belong in an incinerator.
 

Phileas Fogg

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Out of pure curiosity, I went online to see how much AE was now asking for shell and didn’t see anything offered online. I wonder if they’re selling those online in their stores.
 

ld111134

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thats an example of what I meant about shell just being more difficult to work with, but it’s not an excuse for poor craftsmanship. The above is such an example.

AE still offers a pretty decent value and for many just starting out, it’s the ideal entry level “grown up” shoe. They shouldn’t be messing around with Shell unless they are committed to proper execution.
I hosted a sartorial meet-up 12 years ago, and both the CEOs of AE and Horween attended. I found out that AE is the biggest purchaser of Horween shell. I have a pair of shell Macneil longwing brogues whose quality is superb.
 

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