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Dress Shoes

Allen Edmonds Shoe Review

Allen Edmonds is one of the most well-respected shoe companies in the United States, widely known for their high quality, upper leather. Kirby Allison, Founder of The Hanger Project, goes through the most popular styles and why Allen Edmonds are quality dress shoes that you should invest in.


Hi I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project. In today's video, I'm going to be talking about one of the most popular American shoe brands; Allen Edmonds. Customers call us often saying I'm looking to buy my first pair of really nice dress shoes what should I invest in? And what I tell customers is that you really should be at the Allen Edmonds level or better. At 395, these aren't cheap shoes; they are certainly an investment. But with Allen Edmonds you can know that you're buying a shoe that is really substantiated with quality that's well made from quality components and that if taken care of properly can easily last you a decade or more. And in this video I'm going to show you some of the most popular dress shoe models and talk about the construction techniques that really make this a shoe that is worthy of your investment and that can last decades if taken care of properly. If you have any questions during this video please ask them in the comments section below. I make a point to get back to all of those questions personally and I always love to hear what viewers think of our videos. Let us know, do you own Allen Edmonds? Do you enjoy wearing these? What's your favorite shoe? Do you think that there's a different shoe that someone should be investing in to start out with? Let us know. Allen Edmonds is one of the few remaining Great American dress shoe companies. Manufactured in Wisconsin, they're still made today less than 10 miles away from the original factory.

They use a 360 degree goodyear welt, which means that it goes all the way around. And the reason that that's important is it allows the sole to be easily replaced without having to deconstruct the entire shoe. So it's certainly one of the most important hallmarks of quality and certainly any shoe that is going to last more than a decade needs to be goodyear welted so that the sole can be replaced easily. One of the other hallmarks of quality you find with an Allen Edmond shoes is that the uppers are made from high quality open grain leather. What that means is that the leather hasn't been excessively treated in order to correct for any blemishes or unsightly characteristics. And so what you have with an open grain leather, is a leather that one looks better and then is going to last longer and look better as the shoe ages. It's a hallmark of durability and quality. Allen Edmonds also applies all of their finishes by hand which creates a beautiful natural variation from pair to pair; so you could rest assured that your Allen Edmonds are completely unique. And one of the best things about owning a pair of Allen Edmonds and something that will keep your shoes looking fantastic for a very long time is that they have a comprehensive re-crafting program. Where for $125 you can send your shoes back to Allen Edmonds, they'll replace the sole, replace the corking which goes underneath the sole to create kind of a soft cushion and then they re-last the shoe where they stretch the leather back over the original last, re-welt it and then strip, refinish the shoe, replace the shoe laces and replace the heels.

One of the other things that's really cool about AE's crafting program is that you can replace the soles with a completely different kind. So let's say that your shoes originally had an all leather dress sole, but you wanted something that you could wear in the rain or in the snow. You could have that replaced during re-crafting with a day night for as little as a $30 up-charge. Shoe cobblers can do great work, but no shoe cobblers ever going to be able to do the restoration work that the factory can. So if you have the time to send your AE's back to the factory for re-crafting, I absolutely recommend that. Allen Edmonds has an extensive collection of models. But the four that you see here today are the most classic traditional dress shoes offered by Allen Edmonds. The Park Avenue, the Fifth Avenue, the Strand and the McAllister Wingtip. If there's four shoes that every man needs in their wardrobe these are probably the ones to look at. The Park Avenue is easily Allen Edmond's most iconic traditional dress shoe. Shown here in black, It's the first dress shoe any man should invest in. The reason is because it's easily the most versatile. It's that lowest common denominator that you can wear in almost any occasion. You can wear it: during the day to work, for an interview, you can wear it in formal occasions after 6 o'clock. If you have a proper high shine on the toe, you can even wear it with a tuxedo or a morning suit. This shoe is a shoe that is never out of place.

And so although it's available in many finishes, if you were to have just one dress shoe the black cap-toe Oxford Park Avenue would be the one I would invest in. One of the other design elements that's quite unique to Allen Edmonds is that they use six eyelets in all their dress shoes and it's really kind of the American way. A lot of the European companies you see with five eyelets. And so the six eyelets of Allen Edmonds, they're one of a few companies still committed to doing six eyelets, is a small subtle detail that you're wearing Allen Edmonds. If you're looking for a slightly less formal shoe maybe something that's got a little bit more character. The Allen Edmond's Fifth Avenue is a great choice. This is almost exactly the same as the Park Avenue, except there's a little bit of broging across the toe-cap. Now any time you add broging to a shoe the less formal it becomes. So the more holes you put in a pair of shoes the less formal it is. So this is a great shoe. Equally as appropriate during the day but isn't something that you'd necessarily want to wear after six o'clock to a formal dinner and you really couldn't get away with that properly with a tuxedo. But if you're looking for a little bit more visual interest you want something that isn't just plain then this is a fantastic shoe. Even slightly more casual, is the Allen Edmonds Strand. So this is still a cap-toe Oxford, but as you can see it's added a medallion and even more broging detail to just create an even more formal shoe.

This is a great shoe to have in an light brown like this Walnut pictured here, because you can easily wear it on the weekends with jeans or with a more casual suit. And finally we have the McAllister Wingtip. Now there is very few more quintessentially American dress shoes than a wingtip. Most of the sales people for IBM in the 1960s all wore black wingtips. Now as you can see here it's got a tremendous amount of broging. And so it is the least formal of all these shoes even though it's the most closely associated with formal business dress. This shoe in black is a perfect day time formal dress shoe. But in a dark brown like this chili, or even a walnut It's a beautiful dress shoe that is certainly not out of place in any well-appointed wardrobe. Now Allen Edmonds has way more shoes than the four models that we have pictured here but these represent the core of any business dress shoe wardrobe. You've got your plain cap-toe Oxford, you've got a cap-toe with a little bit a toe-cap broging, you've got your less formal cap-toe Oxford with a medallion and full broging, and then you have your Wingtip. These are fantastic shoes that will be as timeless and as classic today as they will be 20 or 30 years from now. So if you're really looking to invest in something of quality I always recommend going with those timeless classic styles that you can be confident you'll enjoy wearing just as much in 20 years as you do the day you buy them.

The five standard finishes that you can find at Allen Edmonds Black, Oxblood, Brown, Walnut and Dark Chili. Each of these four models that I just showed you are available in any of these five finishes. Another great benefit of buying Allen Edmonds shoes is that they have one of the widest selection of sizes and widths of any stocked dress shoe program that I think exists. So you can find everything from a B to a triple D width, from a six and a half to a size 15. So you can walk into an Allen Edmonds store and trust that you can find a pair of dress shoes that is going to fit you well. The other thing that I really like about Allen Edmonds is that they manufacture all of their shoes in a variety of different dress sole options. You can get a full leather sole. Right, which is the most traditional dress shoe sole. You can get a B tread, which is what they call it where the front half is rubber. So if you're someone that walking a lot or often times is walking in rain or snow, the rubber soul is just going to provide that additional protection to the shoe. And if you really need durability you can go with the day night. Now this is a great sole for people that either live in big cities where you're oftentimes walking in the rain or if you live anywhere with snow. Because it's a fully rubber sole, you don't have to worry about any salt or water getting into the shoe and delegating the construction. A question we receive often here The Hanger Project, is that I just bought a new pair of dress shoes, do I need to polish them? The short answer is that absolutely.

If you just bought a new pair of shoes, polishing them with some Saphir Medaille d'Or cream polish and a little bit of Pate De Luxe wax polish is really going to make those shoes look great. The reason is is any factory made shoe does not receive any type of actual polishing at the factory itself. So there's no protective waxes, there's no nourishment that a cream polish is going to provide that leather and they just don't look as polished as a properly polished pair of shoes. If you want to learn how to shine a new pair of shoes, take a look at How To Shine New Shoes video on our YouTube channel. The other thing I recommend for any new pair of shoes is to buy a pair of shoe trees and to always use a shoe horn. That when combined with regular polishing would ensure that your shoes continue to look great for years. Another question we receive often is how do I know if my shoes need to be resoled? One, you want to see whether or not holes are beginning to develop in the dress sole itself. If you see any type of round holes developing that definitely means it's time to send them in the be resoled. The other thing is if you're pushing down on the sole and it seems soft, then that means that the cork filling on the inside of the shoe has been worn down. Another tall tale sign that it's time to send your shoes in for resoling. This pair of Allen Edmonds, which was part of our $50 eBay challenge, you can see has a worn sole but doesn't have any holes and still is quite firm to the touch. This shoe easily has several years ahead of it before the soles need to be replaced. And of course there's always the question of how often should I polish my shoes? The short answer is that you should polish them as often as they look like they need to be polished. One of the first things people will notice when they meet you for the first time is your watch and your shoes. And for that reason, it's very important to not only invest in a high quality pair of dress shoes, but to take care of them with regular and proper polishing.

So a great story a friend of mine recently shared with me was how his mentor took him into his closet to show him an area on his floor that was worn down and black. And he asked his mentee, you know do you know why my carpet looks like this? Of course he said no and he said this is where I have polished my shoes every morning for the last 40 years. I thought it was an incredible story because oftentimes in this day of age you know we forget how professionals always polished their shoes as a sign of integrity. Showing up to work having polished your shoes and having shoes that are well-made and well looked after is a sign that you take care of the details that are often overlooked by other people and therefore you can be trusted. So anyone that's serious about their career, their identity or their profession, looking after your shoes is as critical to that as showing up to work wearing appropriate clothing. So I challenge you to shine your shoes regularly. Either on Sunday while you're watching football or even during conference calls at the office, polishing your shoes regularly will ensure that they continue to look great and last a long time. And if you're shining your shoes. tag The Hanger Project or hashtag #ShoeShineSunday and we'd love to feature you on our Instagram page. I'm Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project and here we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. If you had any questions about anything we discussed in this video, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. I love getting back to those questions personally. If you like this video give us the thumbs up and subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you can receive notifications whenever we release our next video. I'm Kirby Allison thanks for joining us.