Lieutenant

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Allen Edmonds seems to be an affordable and well made shoe (I say that with an asterisk...you know what you have done to me Mr. Edmonds!:) and I see many members here also remark on their seconds. Not exactly living near a major U.S. city (D.C. is 2.5 hours away) to be able to easily attend tent sales and trunk shows, I have to rely on ebay and tidbits from websites dropped from this distinguished forum in forming intelligent decisions for well thought out purchases; here is the question:

What usual defects can be expected in an Allen Edmonds second? I am looking for a tuxedo shoe in the wide spectrum, and God bless Allen Edmonds they carry them. However, I do not have the desire to drop 300 dollars for a 1st, as my semi-formal and formal events are very rare; I would consider a second if I knew what to expect from them.

That being said, I have purchased two pairs of their shoes recently, including a Wilbert that had to be returned twice to Nordstrom before I got a defect free pair; I love 'em but I am leary of 'em. Any thoughts?
 

guitone

Elite Member
I don't find much difference in finding an acceptable pair with AEs in firsts or seconds, but having said that the flaws are generally marginal. My Burton has the most pronounced issue of all of my shoes, the tip of the sole is more squared off on the right than the left and I didn't notice it for awhile or I would have returned it. I am about the only person in the world who notices it. On one pair (a chili bradley) there was a crease or maybe that is the wrong word, on the leather on the side, no issue for me. My biggest issue with AE shoes is the lacing, having the eyelets be even from left to right, so I just tell the salesperson what I want them to look at and 50% of the time I have to return these as well but I do find ones that are acceptable as long as I am patient. I must be patient as I have over 20 pair of AE's with another on the way.
 
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eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Over the years I have bought more than thirty pair of AEs, many of them seconds, through their factory store network. Any defects on seconds have been very minor and purely cosmetic in nature. As long as you look the shoes over very carefully and simply select the ones you are satisfied with, you will have a very fine pair of shoes, purchased at a remarkably good price.
 

hcivic91

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
One common flaw I've found -- Shop handled shoes

I have been waiting for quite some-time for an appropriate time to convey my experience on this very issue. My post is a bit long but, I think, it contains some good information.

Some months ago I was in search of proper fitting business shoes. Not wanting to make another full price mistake, size-wise, I decided to mail-order from the AE factory store in Port Washington. Because I wanted to get my size just right and I have access to a very cheap shipping source over about a 2 month period I received and returned many many pairs of AEs.

Among the defects I noted were, un-uniform dying/antiquing on chili colored shoes, small scratches on the leather and mis-trimmed welts. Although I was able to detect these faults they were very acceptable, when the discount was taken into account.

Because I was being hyper sensitive about sizing the shoes I was able to detect the most common defect, shoes that were shop worn. By this I mean shoes that were tried on in a store and not purchased. The way I came to this concusion is interesting.

One of the shoes that the AE store sent along the way was a Chili colored Delray in 8D. My wife commented that she really liked the shoe and that I should keep them. The problem was they did not feel just right. I had tried the same shoe on at Nordstrom's previously and thought it fit well so I returned that evening. After ensureing a proper fit in the store I made the full retail purchase that evening. When I got the new pair home to compare it became obvious the AE second was a little different.

As I mentioned the second was a little looser and when I looked closer it looked a fraction bigger too. As a result I concluded that the shoes had been tried on in a store and the vamp creased. AE then used some stretching device to stretch the leather a tiny bit to get rid of the crease. I noticed the same thing on several pairs that followed from the factory store as well, another clue this had happened was wear I could detect on the tip of the sole. There had been just enough friction from carpet to rub off the edge dressing.

At any rate I concluded that AE seconds don't work for me as a result, YMMV.
 

jazzy1

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Where is the best place to look for these seconds? The salesman at Harry's Shoes did not seem to know what I was talking about.
 

smr

Super Member
Not certain if this is the most current list of AE locations with factory seconds:

Allen Edmonds Desert Hills Premium Outlets Cabazon, CA
Allen Edmonds Silver Sands Factory Stores Destin, FL
Allen Edmonds Freeport Outlets Freeport, ME
Allen Edmonds Burlington Manufacturer's Outlet Center Burlington, NC
Allen Edmonds Tanger Outlet Center I & II Riverhead, NY
Allen Edmonds Prime Outlets at Jeffersonville Jeffersonville, OH
Allen Edmonds Manchester Designer Outlets Manchester Center, VT

I've always been able to order by phone, but of course it's better if you can be at the store to inspect the shoes and try them on. I haven't ordered from them in a while, but if you are interested, some members here might have salesmen with whom they deal who are knowledgable and helpful.
 

Fred H.

New Member
AE Seconds...

I have just completed a major profile of Allen-Edmonds for Issue No. 3 of Classic Style. In doing my research I had several email exchanges with the AE Marketing Dept. and one of my questions (not reported in the CS Article) had to do with "seconds." The Q&A follows:

What constitutes a "second"?
Our quality standards are so high that the slightest imperfection constitutes a factory second. In many cases, these slight imperfections cannot even be noticed by an untrained eye.

Can you describe a typical "flaw" in a second?
Factory second flaws are subtle imperfections. Examples include a scuff in the leather, an uneven stitch or an imperfection in the leather.

Seconds are about what percentage of production?
Less than 5 percent of total production.

Channels for seconds?
We own and operate 13 Allen Edmonds Outlet Stores.
 
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Francisco D'Anconia

Senior Member
Not certain if this is the most current list of AE locations with factory seconds:

Allen Edmonds Desert Hills Premium Outlets Cabazon, CA
Allen Edmonds Silver Sands Factory Stores Destin, FL
Allen Edmonds Freeport Outlets Freeport, ME
Allen Edmonds Burlington Manufacturer's Outlet Center Burlington, NC
Allen Edmonds Tanger Outlet Center I & II Riverhead, NY
Allen Edmonds Prime Outlets at Jeffersonville Jeffersonville, OH
Allen Edmonds Manchester Designer Outlets Manchester Center, VT

I've always been able to order by phone, but of course it's better if you can be at the store to inspect the shoes and try them on. I haven't ordered from them in a while, but if you are interested, some members here might have salesmen with whom they deal who are knowledgable and helpful.
There are also the Shoe Bank outlets in Port Washington and Mequon, Wisconsin.

Here is a link to a list of US AE stores, the factoryy store/outlets are denoted by the location: https://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/StoreLocatorView?storeId=1&langId=-1&catalogId=40000000001
 

RunningBeagle

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I went to the Burlington, NC store some time back and tried on several pairs. They all had obvious defects: stitching in places it shouldn't have been, cracks in the leather, etc. I would say chances are you're going to do better being in the store and checking them out yourself.
 

Lieutenant

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Thank you

Thank you all for the very detailed information...hcivic91 especially...convinced me to buy seconds only if I can get them in store and inspect them prior to purchasing. Thanks again!
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
I went to the Burlington, NC store some time back and tried on several pairs. They all had obvious defects: stitching in places it shouldn't have been, cracks in the leather, etc. I would say chances are you're going to do better being in the store and checking them out yourself.
"Obvious defects"?! Your experience is completely different from mine. I have purchased over 30 pairs of A-E seconds for my boy and myself. In the vast majority of these cases, I have been quite at a loss to discern the imperfection. In others, I can, but it has been minuscule, usually a slight irregularity in the stitching of the welt. On only one pair of shoes was the irregularity in the welt really noticeable, and these I bought for $129, so I can't complain too much.
 

fullgrain

Senior Member
I have just completed a major profile of Allen-Edmonds for Issue No. 3 of Classic Style....

Fred, I'm as much of an AE fan as the next AAer, but as a journalist, I would never trust the world of a company spokesman alone. The info you received was pure spin. I''ve seen dozens of seconds, and while many, yes, have very slight imperfections, many are obviously defective. This includes wildly uneven polish, scuffs, and even actual cuts in the leather. I've even had to return two pairs of first because the polish color on the shoes did not even closely match. That said, AE will cheerfully look for a good second for you and return a bad one, but one does have to be careful when shopping. I pretty much only buy seconds I have seen in person.
 

cdavant

Elite Member
I have around half a dozed AE seconds. I can wear a first for an hour and it has more defects that any of my seconds. Ok, I'm clumsy and have really strange feet, but AE seconds are very cost effective. I'll take all I can get on eBay.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
JLibourel, out of curiosity, do you share a shoe size?

I recall when my father took me to purchase a dress shoe for the first time, and it felt like a coming of age ritual.
No, I am a 13D. He's a 10D. I can recall buying him some J&Ms before I knew better because his father had loved J&Ms. Of course, back when his father was alive they were excellent shoes. The shoes were a disappointment. The first time he scuffed the corrected grain leather, the shoes were pretty much ruined.
 

Nick V

Senior Member
Correcting imperfections

Aside from stitching, many imperfections such as trimming and finish work can be corrected at a local reputable shoe repair shop. Usually for a nominal fee. So....If you add the cost of the second and the cost to correct the imperfection you wind up with a near perfect shoe at a great price.
 

Fred H.

New Member
Fullgrain...

I did conduct interviews with others besides the AE folks. In addition, I mined the online forums (this one included) for lots of opinions. In addition, I own some 8-10 pairs of AE seconds and have my own experience. Nonetheless, it is good to have your perspective. Frankly, the suggestion to concentrate on seconds that you've actually seen is a good one. Alternately, check out the shoes indoors and -- with the exception of seconds on closeout from eBay or the stores -- seconds can be returned to AE.
 
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RunningBeagle

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
"Obvious defects"?! Your experience is completely different from mine. I have purchased over 30 pairs of A-E seconds for my boy and myself. In the vast majority of these cases, I have been quite at a loss to discern the imperfection. In others, I can, but it has been minuscule, usually a slight irregularity in the stitching of the welt. On only one pair of shoes was the irregularity in the welt really noticeable, and these I bought for $129, so I can't complain too much.
Completely different. I was trying on Park Aves and Byrons 2 each in my size, 12D, black. Perhaps it has something to do with the model, i.e. a defective PA will be majorly defective in the outlet, because the slightly imperfect ones, it being such a popular shoe, will sell in regular stores in spite of said slight imperfections (irregularity in the welt stitching, etc.).

I didn't even know they sold seconds at the outlet until I pointed out the flaws to the saleswoman, and she told me they probably accounted for the shoes' status as seconds.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
I have bought two pairs of Park Avenues as seconds from the Cabazon outlet. There was certainly nothing "majorly defective" about either. In fact, I couldn't even find anything "minorly defective" about them for that matter.

It may be, however, that age has dimmed my eyesight and that someone with younger, more acute vision and perhaps a more critical eye for flaws in construction, etc., could spot flaws that would go unnoticed by me as I sink into my dotage.
 
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