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I have not been a fan of Allen Edmonds for about 15 years now. Since the day their new stock came in at Nordstrom (while I was selling there) and I could see that they had cheapened the outsole and insole of their new collections, at the same time while raising the price. For me, that day marked the demise of the brand, and in my opinion, it has only gotten worse since then. Prior to that, I was a huge fan of theirs and loved selling their shoes because they were only $295, made of very good quality and the customers were getting a super good deal on bang for their buck with how long a pair lasted versus how much they spent. But that all went out the window the second they started using cheaper materials which were so blatantly obvious.


While I feel their value for money declined, I will say that I have appreciated the fact that the design team have stepped it up in the last years and doing things a bit more bold and unique, not overly classic which is what they built their name upon. But putting that aside, I really do not rate them like once did. However, The Elegant Oxford, shoe shine/care extraordinaire has built a nice little business turning Allen Edmonds shoes that look lost, into beautiful pieces of art as you can see from many of the pictures shown here. And that is no easy feat with the leather used that is not the most easily shined.

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From shoe shining/leather repair jobs, Preston Soto, of The Elegant Oxford, has recently introduced full resoles, toe taps, patina, and the selling of Saphir shoe care to their list of tricks. And building a nice business doing so. A smart one too as there are a lot of Allen Edmonds wearers in the US. But that is not the only brand he works on naturally, just that for some reason, he gets a lot of them. So if you are an AE wearer and want to see your AE shoes look better than they have ever before, just send them to Preston for the uplift of a lifetime. You won’t be disappointed. The highlighted pair of this post is probably the best looking Allen Edmonds shoe that I have ever seen, thanks to his work done on them!



5 thoughts on “Take Your Allen Edmonds to the Next Level”

  1. Steve Wierhake

    I agree with your assessment. I got my first pair in 1995 – the classic “Park Avenue” model. It’s too bad the quality went down – it was a classic American brand. What do you think of Alden? I have not examined them in person recently, but am impressed with the one pair of Alden shoes I got probably 20 years ago – they were noticeably a small step up from Allen Edmonds.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      I am not crazy about Alden per se, at least not as a dress shoe. For solid well made shoes, then I like them. I see them more as casual shoes. Well made. Just not super refined.

      1. Steve Wierhake

        I have a black wingtip Bal from Alden. Its style is traditional – not modern like something from G&G, but for the money, I think it’s a well made dress shoe. I know their “work boots” have a loyal following and I think some of their casual shoes look good, but a bit old fashioned.

        1. Justin FitzPatrick

          Hey, if someone doesnt mind their style then yes they are a solid dress shoe for sure 😉

  2. We all owe a lot to AE. They somehow figured out how to continue making quality shoes in the US, unlike other brands that have fallen off or folded up. They gave us consumers in the US a gateway to understanding quality construction and good fit. I wish they had better quality and more fashion forward, but that is not in the cards for them. Preston really does great work, and can do wonders on a pair of AE’s…or any brand. He also supports good causes. I’m not sure we would have the Elegant Oxford if it weren’t for AE. And you realized from your early experience at Nordstrom that there could be so much more, and set out to do something about it. You are an innovator and entrepreneur, pushing the envelope to provide consumers what they could not obtain 15 years ago. Kudos and thanks to you for all that you do. It benefits the shoe industry and consumers like me. We all have to start somewhere!

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