• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Thomas Crown

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
1,533
Reaction score
7,433
Great stuff. Thanks so much. I have three pair from the 80s - Strands (88), shell MacNeil (88), Nassau shark (83). I also have some St George boots (currently at Bedo’s) from either ‘70 or ‘71. I agree that the 80s quality is supreme. I have The Bartlett from just a couple of years ago that I like quite a bit but the craftsmanship is not close to the earlier vintage.

Here’s the pair of Cambridge I was looking at. Thoughts besides that they are way overpriced?

They’re also misidentified as MacNeils—but they are from the 80’s judging by the “handcrafted world of AE” on the insoles and I really love the ones you clued me to from the 80’s but $300 is too much by a lot. I’d keep searching “brown AE oxfords” and hope to stumble across an undervalued “secret shell”!
 

tocohillsguy

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
217
Reaction score
188
I just checked my gator (or croc) Park Aves. The 4-digit number is 5362. If the first two numbers indicate the week of the year, that would be impossible to have 53 weeks in a year. The last number is 2, so if that indicates the year, it would likely be 2002. There's no way these could have been made in 2012 based on the insole. I also checked my Delray shoes, but sadly, there is no 4-digit code. They have a white insole, so maybe they were made in 2008 or 2009, or after the black insole period in 2011-12.
I believe the black insole period was more like 2009 - 11.
 
Last edited:

tocohillsguy

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
217
Reaction score
188
Keep in mind, some of what I say applies more to calf than Horween shell.

Based on owning AE’s across 6 decades, they hit a quality high-point from roughly 82-92. Primarily, the materials used were better than those of the 60’s and 70’s and general workmanship is extremely good on 80’s examples. While I love many of the styles of 60’s and 70’s (including hold-over 40/50’s models, like my all-time favorite MacGregor wingtips), when John Stollenwerk bought AE from the Allen’s in 1980, he took the company up-market and subsequently the quality of the leathers used (even the Polished Cobbler CG stuff) are incredibly good, some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen on any shoes. When it comes to NOS and near NOS stuff, if it’s in my size and it has the big block letter Allen Edmonds logo on the insole, I’m probably a buyer.

By the mid-90’s workmanship (due to substantial increases in production) began to slip, but was still pretty damn good and the leather quality was still excellent).

Things degraded a bit further in the 2000’s, but some of that had to do with the tanning industry simply not producing the quality of leather that was once available. Hell, the bend of leather used Alden, Church’s, etc., in the 00’s and 10’s isn’t comparable to that used by AE in 80’s through mid 90’s.

Today, I think AE quality is hit or miss, depending on how stretched production is. The last pair I bought (last year) were pretty damn good; the pair just before that, I haven’t been all that impressed by. The leather they use on their “bench-welt” (aka real AE) line is still good, but finish can be iffy. While the shoes are still made the same way, things like SPI are down from 15 years ago. Some of this is the whole industry - things like outsole stitching are purposely made chunky, prominent and obvious because you’re supposed to see it, versus AE’s 80’s and 90’s tendency toward obfuscating the top outsole stitch by using a very tight stitch, channeling the welt top and tightly cropping the edging. As for uppers, nobody does uppers stitching today like they did in era’s past.

So yeah, based on my experience, there are notable differences in quality across decades. While I’m still a contemporary AE customer, the 80’s stuff is my favorite decade (even if my favorite model was discontinued before the start of the Stollenwerk era).

That said, I saw a pair of Cambridge’s in my local store a few months ago, and they were still pretty damn nice (to nice for me, since I’m still atoning for what I did to my pair of Cambridge’s). But I’m always looking for a pair of NOS or lightly worn 80’s or early 90’s examples because they never made them better than they did in that era (IMHO).
Not debating your assessment, but isn't the current channeling of the sole stitching an improvement over the earlier manufacturing process? Also the earlier shell models didn't indicate JR soles, so I'm not sure what AE was using, but was it as good as the current JR soles?
 

wasmisterfu

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
3,052
Reaction score
8,190
I just checked my gator (or croc) Park Aves. The 4-digit number is 5362. If the first two numbers indicate the week of the year, that would be impossible to have 53 weeks in a year. The last number is 2, so if that indicates the year, it would likely be 2002. There's no way these could have been made in 2012 based on the insole. I also checked my Delray shoes, but sadly, there is no 4-digit code. They have a white insole, so maybe they were made in 2008 or 2009, or after the black insole period in 2011-12.
Plz 2 post full shoe-porn spread of gator PA’s at your earliest convenience. Vintage violation waived due to being gator PA’s.
 

ProfilaBinding

Distinguished Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2016
Messages
4,053
Reaction score
12,520
Plz 2 post full shoe-porn spread of gator PA’s at your earliest convenience. Vintage violation waived due to being gator PA’s.
Well alright. I'm not sure if they are gator or croc, but they are real. I wish they had a leather sole, but that can be easily fixed. You can tell by the insole that these were produced before the black insole period.

1205661

20190711_225114_HDR.jpg
20190711_224941_Burst01.jpg
 

wasmisterfu

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
3,052
Reaction score
8,190
Not debating your assessment, but isn't the current channeling of the sole stitching an improvement over the earlier manufacturing process? Also the earlier shell models didn't indicate JR soles, so I'm not sure what AE was using, but was it as good as the current JR soles?
When it comes to channeling the bottom outsole stitch, it’s more for aesthetics, as it doesn’t substantially change the durability of the sole or the outsole stitch as it’s a dual thread lock stitch. Plus, the channel wears down quickly on the toe and edges, so it’s not massively changing the durability or that bottom stitch.

As for JR soles, they started using them in the early 90’s as an option IIRC. I can’t really comment because I can’t say I’ve found the regular AE soles to be more or less durable (even the recent ones). The only soles I’ve found to wear much faster than I’d have liked have been on 80’s era blue-label Florsheim’s (the leather soles Florsheim used on those wear pretty damn fast - it’s a good thing they were GYW).
 

wasmisterfu

Distinguished Member
Joined
May 11, 2018
Messages
3,052
Reaction score
8,190
Last edited:

friendlygoz

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2016
Messages
731
Reaction score
2,789
They’re also misidentified as MacNeils—but they are from the 80’s judging by the “handcrafted world of AE” on the insoles and I really love the ones you clued me to from the 80’s but $300 is too much by a lot. I’d keep searching “brown AE oxfords” and hope to stumble across an undervalued “secret shell”!
Totally agree. I’ll hold out. I’d Only buy these if he accepted a really lowball offer. Plus, I’m not too jazzed about the condition of the insoles. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

actionjbone

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2018
Messages
295
Reaction score
1,040

suitforcourt

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 11, 2012
Messages
4,242
Reaction score
6,826
Totally on point with my green dyed AE 5th Avenues. And matching tie and cuff links.
 

Attachments

meister

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
9,024
Reaction score
1,406
Need a little help here. One of my workmates asked me a year ago to fi nd him a pair of spectators in 12D. A couple weeks ago some "brown and white" Florsheims popped up on the bay in "12D" and I sent him the link. He won the auction.
Today when I got to work they were sitting on my desk with a note asking how to clean them up.
I'm not sure how to clean them up. The white is a bone colored almost nubuck suede. I thought they would be all calf.
What was their original condition? @meister @mormonopoly @davidVC
What do?

Interesting sizing for Florsheim
View attachment 1204139

Original soles/heels
View attachment 1204135

Flash and no flash
View attachment 1204136View attachment 1204137

Nice stitching, confusing texture
View attachment 1204138

I just be using either some suede and nubuck cleaner or lightly with detergent but first I'd use a rubber eraser. Then leave them or hit them with the traditional buck white powder. Good news is that they have not been painted. Leather and buck look in particularly good shape but apply some Bick4 or Cadillac cremes underneath the buckskin vamp and on the leather. Then tape off the white and apply wax for shine. They will be pretty shiney without much effort.
 

Featured Sponsor

What's your favorite type of loafer?

  • Tassel loafers

  • Penny loafers

  • Horsebit loafers

  • Kiltie loafers

  • I hate loafers


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
421,253
Messages
9,058,228
Members
190,678
Latest member
spalwart

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top