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.