Some things remain timeless. That's how we feel about our traditional 212-step
manufacturing process that has been the basis for handcrafting Allen Edmonds
Goodyear welted shoes since 1922.
Our method starts with finding the best available materials money can buy. We use
only fine leathers that breathe, repel moisture, hold their shape and age gracefully.
That's why the design team at Allen Edmonds searches the globe looking for premium
hides for our shoes. Sometimes, the team doesn't have to travel far, like when we head
to Chicago to visit the Horween factory, an American institution and supplier of fine
leathers since 1905.
Until someone improves on our way of
doing things, we are sticking with what
got us here.
When the leathers make it to our Port Washington, Wisconsin plant, it's like they are
traveling back in time to an era when products took on the character and originality of
the people who made them. While we've improved on using scissors and a needle and
thread, we still have skilled workers with hands-on involvement in the cutting, fitting
and sewing processes that are so fundamental to the creation of our shoes. This sort of
attention to detail not only sure ensures a great fit but also creates the unmatched
styling that shows up in the signature detailing of a pair of Allen Edmonds.
After that, our veteran team begins the lasting procedure. Lasts are foot shaped molds
around which each shoe is built. Because we have 50,000 lasts in 19 different shapes in
all manner of lengths and widths, our professionals can craft shoes to match the
contours of millions of feet.
From there, an operator attaches a 360° Goodyear welt, a strong leather strip stitched
around the shoe. Created in the United States in1871, this process of joining the shoe's
upper to its insole is labor intensive and more expensive than more modern cementing
techniques. However, the durability of a Goodyear welted shoe is unmatched and
provides the opportunity to re-craft the shoe down the line.
But what good is a strong shoe that is perfectly tailored to the top of your foot if it
doesn't look after your sole, perhaps the part of your foot that needs the most TLC?
That's where we apply a layer of shock-absorbent cork between the insole and the
outsole. This naturally ingenious cushioning-technique allows your sole to form an
imprint in the cork, which acts as a comfortable cradle for your whole foot. The
resulting imprint is totally unique to your foot shape and is part of the reason our
shoes are so comfortable.
Finally, the shoes move to the last stages of manufacturing. We've developed
hand-finishing and polishing techniques that highlight the natural appearance of the
leather while simultaneously protecting it from the elements. The shoes remain in the
last for at least 24 hours to ensure that they hold their shape for a lifetime. From there,
it's on to final inspection. We take quality control very seriously, because only the best
of the best leave the factory with the Allen Edmonds insignia stamped into the heel of
Yes, that's a lot of work for one pair of shoes. And we certainly feel a sense of pride that
comes with making our shoes in the same way and in the same place for nearly 100
years. But we aren't just keeping up a tradition for tradition's sake. If there were a
better method of making premium shoes up to our exacting standards we'd do it. Until
someone improves on our way of doing things, we are sticking with what got us here.