No wrong answer to the question. For me, it's always been AE's.
No wrong answer to the question. For me, it's always been AE's.
Grandson of an Italian barber. Must have this in my blood.
Be there or be square. Only I can do both!
I've got a cat named Beefeater and a dog named Beefeater, and two goldfish called Beefeater and Beefeater. There's Beefeater my hamster and Beefeater my horse, and my piglet, known as Beefeater of course.
Veteran of the Great Irisch Moos Campaign of 2008-09
Unless things have changed at virtually all of the high-end English manufacturers, if you don't wear a D or E/E+ width (or a C in rare cases) you are out of luck, since they don't offer a full range of sizes, unless you go to a bespoke cobbler, have a last made, and then pay upwards of $1000 or more. I wear a 12AA or AAA, or a 12 2A/4A on a combo last, and there are only three manufacturers left that I can buy a shoe from that will fit: Alden, AE, or J&M (the Aldridge has always been a favorite, although it's not nearly as well made as it was 25 years ago). Have you been professionally fitted? If you are buying high end shoes and haven't been properly fitted, you are throwing your money away. Lastly, the J&M Custom Selects are very nice, the only drawback being that they retail at $375-$425. Frankly, I don't care for the leather finish on most English made shoes, so I'll stick to the U.S. makers.
"Genius is the fire that lights itself" -Buddy Rich
I wear both and must give Alden the nod generally speaking. I think the build quality and materials are a bit nicer. Fit depends on the last and style of the shoe. As far as foreign shoes go, you have to be aware that the length converts easily but the width is a bit tricky for both English and continental shoes. Best if you can try foreign shoes on if they were not built to US sizing. I try to buy American as much as I can and you really can't go wrong with either one.
A combination of clean elegance with a vague forboding of dread is attractive.
In my own shoe collection I have 3 pairs of Allen Edmonds, 1 pair of the Indian made Florsheim Imperials (it was a steal on E-bay, $90 for a brand new pair which is of reasonable construction and decent leather), 2 pairs of English-made Church's from their City Line (which I rather fancy though one day I will get a pair of their Consuls in ebony), 1 pair of Loake 1880s (which are English-made and comparable to Allen Edmonds in quality and price), 1 pair of English-made Barker shoes, and 2 pairs from Herring Shoes (who use some of the English companies to manufacture their shoes, if ordering English shoes then I'd go online to their website). I lived in the UK so I have no problem with converting back and forth, my 11.5D US size is a UK 11F generally but I know it can be tricky if you don't have access to shoes to try.
I have 0 Aldens mostly because their styles don't appeal to me at the price point they're at but they do look like quality shoes. I just happen to prefer AE if I want American-made shoes but I generally prefer English-made shoes and their styles are ones which I favour greatly. AE are my go-to daily shoes when I teach in a sports jacket, tie, and chinos. The walnut Strands are my favourites (I own one pair) but their black Strands and black Park Avenues would be a great go to for interviews, I think. I'd definitely buy more AE shoes should I have the need but then I also know which lasts work for me and I also take advantage of sales or their Shoe Bank (seconds).
I have many pairs of Aldens the biggest majority made from Horween's cordavan leather and a few pair of AEs and to me the Aldens are a much superior shoe but then again I have been a huge Alden fan for years.
A note about the Aldens. From another forum the price is increasing about 8% for 2012. I think this is due to the demand for the shell cordovan shoes. Trying to find Whiskey, Cigar, and Ravello is difficult even with the extremely high price. They sell out almost immediately.
Alden. Horween shell cordovan. Nuff said.
I'm pretty much in agreement with byscott.
So far I've only bought AE because I can actually find a pair to try on. I don't like to waste money shipping shoes back and forth, so unless Zappos starts carrying Alden, it might be a while before I try some.
Both Allen Edmonds and Alden make fine shoes. I own one pair of Aldens and five pairs of Allen Edmonds. You can't go wrong with either. Keep the shoes polished, rotate your shoes, and replace the heels and soles when its time. They will last you for years. I killed a pair of Allen Edmond shoes when I wore them to work everyday for a year. I now own about 20 pairs of shoes. I will not have that problem anytime soon. Oh, and keep cedar shoe trees in the shoes. It will help them keep their shape.
I vote Alden for boots and Allen Edmonds for shoes. I don't find any of the AE boots visually appealing, and almost every Alden boot is absolutely awesome (with cool leathers too!). In my opinion, the shoe offerings from both brands are fairly similar regarding construction and quality (with quality control leaning slightly towards AE). The reason I go to AE for shoes is because I have personally found that the service from the company itself is head and shoulders above that of Alden. I have found with Alden it is important to purchase your shoes and boots from an excellent store to get the best service. For example, I usually only purchase Aldens from Alden of Carmel because I know that Adam is tops in customer service and is a very effective liaison between me and Alden. With AE I can be less careful where I shop because if I have any issues I can contact AE directly and expect my issue resolved quickly and to my satisfaction. It is the same reason that I buy Apple products. The ease of going to the Apple Store should anything go wrong trumps my want for any technical benefits from purchasing at other companies.
FWIW, there are a whole bunch of 11D AE's on ebay right now.
I'm Bruce Wayne. Not Batman. We are two separate people.
I wear EEE shoes and I like both equally. Long term, I give the edge to AE due to their recrafting services. I have some AE shoes that are almost 20 years old and they still look great thanks to this service.
Both are fine, ditto to what has been said above. I do like Allen Edmonds boots and have 3 pairs. Ordering from them is great, very easy. If you have a wider or narrower width it can take a while to get the shoes, as it seems they must make them to order (which is kind of nice). I have 1 pair of Peal & Co., opera pumps, and they are narrow echoing advice from above. I'm always tempted to buy from Lobb when I'm in New York or Europe but haven't made the plunge. Seems as though you'd want to have them made for you rather than OTR and the $$$ involved puts me off.
"Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night."
Alden. I have 4 pair. The AEs never fit right and always went back.
But I'm pretty lucky--I have the Alden store only 30 min from my house.