gman-17

Super Member
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Gentlemen,

Many here will remember that, back in June, my son and I were guests of the Allen Edmonds Shoe Company and had the opportunity to tour the factory and watch my special order Merlot Moras come to life. We met CEO Paul Grangaard, VP of Operations Jim Kass and Customer Service Specialist Brenda Depies during our visit. Over 15,500 views of that thread told me that people found our visit of interest, and I have appreciated all of the feedback received. That thread can be found here: http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=95708

The AE thread was also the begining of numerous friendships for me: It has been my distinct pleasure to get to know the Allen Edmonds team and to gain their friendship. In addition, I have become friends with two gentlemen here: LD111134 (Lou) and Francisco D'Anconia (Josh), both of whom are great guys and are as quick to share a laugh as they are their knowledge of things sartorial.

When I was up in Port Washington the first time, Paul held up this shoe and said this is his favorite--the Allen Edmonds Strand (below in Walnut). It is mine as well.




It was during that visit that I hit upon the idea of a special make up of that shoe in Shell Cordovan. Then during the Chicago get together, which LD put together back in September, I talked with Jim Kass and asked him if Allen Edmonds could do a brown shell cordovan (generally thought of as Horween's No. 6), and he was very enthusiastic. I asked the folks at Allen Edmonds if I could come up (and bring a few friends) and watch them being made. No problem they said. Paul told us he would share with us the details of their Spring and '10 Fall lines. I am very excited to share my commentary of the trip, pictures of the new line and my new shoes with you. As I did the first thread, I will write it up in installments and post as many picutres as I can. Enjoy.

G
 

gman-17

Super Member
1,434
For a simple starting point, the Strand is on the #5 last. Our good friends here have posted a lot of information about older Allen Edmonds styling and the information on lasts in several threads. (Last information here: http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=64989&highlight=lasts ) I won't go into too much of a discussion on lasts, but suffice it to say that the vast majority of my AE shoes are on either the #8, #1, or #0 last. I wanted to make sure of my size in the 5, so I stopped at the Allen Edmonds store on N. Michigan Avenue. There I was fitted for Strands by the lovely and talented Kim Ketter, Store Manager.



Kim - She went on our pub crawl she is a lot of fun as well as being great AE sales person.



Proper shoe fit - yes, I wore MacNeils to the store.



Kin with the shoe horn. Old fahioned shoe trial. (I went down the street afterwards to a store with a prominent horse and received no such help in trying on there $1,900 shoes.)



Success! I want to take these with me.

For those that are unlikely to get there, here are a few pipcs of the store itself.



Ok. I never claimed to be a great photographer.

 
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gman-17

Super Member
1,434
Before touring the plant and having my shoes made, we had a (I think it was 2hrs) meeting with Paul, Colin, (International Marketing Man of Mystery) and Jim regarding the new lineup. I am going to ask Lou and Josh to step in here and add commentary because I just cannot remember every detail.


Above: Paul getting enthusiastic about his new shoes - passionate Cheif Executive!



Josh and I getting a "hands on" look at the new collection.

Ok, everyone wants to see the boots, so here goes:

The AE team have really tried to listen to us, the shoe enthusiasts, and produced several items in which you can see our influence:

First the Balmoral Boot - It is the Fifth Street, named for its kinship to the Fifth Ave. For starters, it will be available in Black and Brown Calf and Shell Cordovan. Check this out:





What you will notice is the lacquered sole and the combination heel--they are listening. :icon_smile_wink:

 
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gman-17

Super Member
1,434
One thing I was hoping to see was some new loafers. I really like the look of the new Westchester.



My understanding is this will come out in Black, Brown, Walnut and Shell Cordovan.

Check out this new loafer - sorry folks I can't remember all of the names of the shoes.





Notice the slip ons are much sleeker by taking advantage of the new 270 degree welting process.
 
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LD111134

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Check out my Photobucket album of our visit

Here's the link to my photo album. I figured that this would be easier than direclty posting them to the site because I took so many shots. http://s272.photobucket.com/albums/jj199/ld111134/Allen Edmonds Visit/

Unfortunately, my digital Canon Powershot is in the shop and I had to use my iPhone, so please excuse the images' quality.

As soon as we arrrived, we were ushered into a conference room with the new AE models displayed on the table. We then had a 90 minute or so meeting with CEO Paul Grangaard, VP of Operations Jim Kass and International Marketing Director Colin Hall, and we discussed the new line-up and we provided our own input. Gerard, Josh and I were frank about what we liked about current/new AEs and what we didn't like, and the AE team listened very attentively. We expressed our great preference for traditional/classic models such as the Strand (semi-brougue balmoral), MacNeil (longwing blucher) and the Mora (cap toe double monk strap) over more fashion-forward designs.

In regard to the new models, my own favorites were the perforated cap toe derby boots (in both brown and black calfskin), the distressed suede Chelsea boots and the black calfskin half-strap brougued slip-on.

We must give props to Paul, Jim and Colin (as Brenda Depies from Customer Service) for their time, hospitality and commitment to customer service.

The AE folks were nice enough to give us each customized cedarl shoe trees and a discount at the shoe bank. I myself picked up a burgundy belt, burgundy calfskin "Walden" weejuns and a pair of gloves.
 

gman-17

Super Member
1,434
More shoes from the new collection:


New Balmoral.


Some new bicycle toes and, yes, a new saddle. I don't have a great picture of the saddle. (I was too busy staring at it)











Just a note of thanks to LD - Many of your photos are much better than mine. Thanks for letting me use them.
 
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Roikins

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
394
Nice... that Bal boot is definitely on my "to buy" list now if it's kept in the price range of other A-Es. Not sure about the distressed boot; I'd prefer a non-distressed version. The new monkstrap definitely looks better than the Thayers I have.
 

gman-17

Super Member
1,434
LD thanks for your commentary above. So you might be asking yourself what's new? Well a great deal. Besides the boots you will notice there are a number of new soles:





Also greater use of the combination "toplift" or heel.


In addition Pau and team have really been listening to folks from the Trad world with the new/old MacNeil



Some rumors about a leather heel - but . . . .



I didn't get a good picture but they are bringing back the Walton (Algonquin split toe) and they showed us a great dark brown pebble calf version of that shoe.

In the back row on the extreme right you can see the shoe



There really is so much more happening than I have been able to show. Lots more shoes in each line and with much greater emphasis on traditional styling and the core of what has made Allen Edmonds a great American Shoe Company.
 
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gman-17

Super Member
1,434
Quote:
Originally Posted by gman-17

...and the core of what has made Allen Edmonds a great American Shoe Company®.

FTFY. :icon_smile_wink:

You are correct, sir. More tomorrow.
 

Pentheos

Advanced Member
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I'm very pleased to see the MacNeil in brown pebblegrain. Very. No need now for Indian-made, sub-par Florsheims or special-order Aldens.
 

LD111134

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Some great looking shoes there. But, no matter what A-E calls it, that boot ain't a balmoral. Balmorals must have a horizontal seam.
Actually, AE doesn't call it a balmoral per se. That's just the imprecise terminology that we ourselves were using to distinguish closed-throat lacing from the open-throat lacing of the blucher/derby.