Rated 5 out of 5 by 1
Rated 5 out of 5 by ITGUY Wonderful quality that exceeds competitors
So I want to preface this review with a couple of big caveats, this is my first pair of Allen Edmond shoes and I bought these heavily discounted on clearance. There's a good chance this review is only relevant for a week or two before it goes poof forever, but AE has gained a new fan and customer for life!
I'm an IT guy, so in the "office" I'm not expected to wear fancy shoes and if I did, people would probably think I am interviewing for another job after work or during lunch. However, in my mid-30's I figured it was time to improve my shoe game since we go out and do adult type things a lot like shows, fancy dinners, weddings, and galas every once in awhile and my Rockports and Johnston and Murphys just weren't cutting it.
At first, I was looking for some dressier tassel shoes to wear with a new Ralph Lauren Black Label suit I picked up on sale, of course. My initial search led me to Cole Haan and I went through a carousel with the pinch tassel, which looks OK but the quality is just average. The price was just under $100 and I didn't expect to wear them that much so no biggy.
But then I stumbled upon these AE Lowry Hills and they were on heavy clearance for just $20 or so more so I figured I would give them a shot.
Wow. Blown away by the difference in quality. It was like these were made of REAL leather. Thick, fine grained, wonderful smelling. Not polished to the point they looked like cheap patent leather. Lined and finished on the inside. Soles were wonderfully crafted with the Goodyear Welt and groove for the stitches. The vamp was both better crafted but also roomier. The presentation was also much better, they had their own felt bags.
In terms of fit, the AE D actually suits me fine and I generally tend to need E width shoes, however my normal size 9D resulted in unbearable pressure on the top of my heel indicating I needed a bigger size. I went with a 9.5D instead and the pressure on my backheel is gone, but there is still some snugness and pressure on my foot I am hoping relieves with some wear. I also hope to wear them sockless in the summer so I don't want them to be too loose. I am currently wearing socks and wetting them based on some online tips to help wear them in. I tried 9.5E, luckily they had them in stock even on clearance, and while they fit better in the toebox, my heel started slipping a lot so I decided to stick with the 9.5D and hope they give some after break-in.
I originally bought the black but I liked the fit and style so much, I also picked up a pair of the burnished brown. The burnished brown is really rich and not dull like some of the complaints I read about the medium brown color. I may buy a burgundy polish for it to try and get it to a darker color over time.
I will say there are some things that should be noted. There is no detail/etching on the sole inside of the grooved stitching. Also, on one of the pairs of Burnished Brown I received, the Kiltie Tassling was off-center and not pressed neatly downward over the moc-stitch. I ordered another pair to exchange because it is clearly off-kilter and odd looking with one of the kiltie's spread out like a wing. Also, there are some "holes" punched in the heel area, I guess these are so the shoe doesn't "whistle" when you walk as air exhausts?
I guess AE has a new customer for life, the difference in quality over your sub-$150 shoes is amazing, although I am not sure I am quite ready for their Shell Cordovans yet!!!
March 20, 2016