WE HEAR YOU
As we embark on the next century, it’s more important than ever to continue listening to our community of enthusiasts. Making the best footwear means learning, evolving and improving to meet your needs today and tomorrow.
To spark a thoughtful conversation about where we are now and what we’ve got planned for the future, Ashley from our store team joined three of our Collectors for a visit to our factory in Port Washington, Wisconsin.
ASHLEY, CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU FIRST GOT TO KNOW ARIAN, JAMES AND TREVOR?
Ashley: I started spending time on the online forums because I wanted to know what our most opinionated customers were saying, feeling and thinking. I was on there so often that it naturally became an official responsibility. Getting to know Arian, James and Trevor, reinforced the sense of community you find in those groups. When you’re looking to establish your adult wardrobe for the first time, you do a lot of research and you end up stumbling upon these forums and meeting people who are kindred spirits and have very similar interests and are constantly sharing stories with each other.
HOW DID YOU END UP CHOOSING THESE GUYS TO BE PART OF OUR 100TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION?
Ashley: We’ve got so many active enthusiasts in our Collectors program it was hard to choose just three. Each of these guys has provided feedback that’s been incredibly helpful over the years. If I had to create a dream team to be part of this super special project, this is who I think of in terms of enthusiasts who’ve let us know when we did something right but also haven't been afraid to let us know if they have constructive criticism. We really appreciate the passion all of you have for our shoes.
WHAT DOES A GREAT PAIR OF SHOES MEAN TO EACH OF YOU?
Arian: I think it’s one of those things where it’s the first time you invest a certain amount in a pair of shoes. Certainly, sneakers aren’t always cheap, but my first pair of Allen Edmonds was the first time I bought a pair of shoes and thought, “Oh this is going to be a long-term investment.” It wasn’t that I’m going to wear these until the sole goes out and then I’m getting rid of them. Once you make that initial investment, you care for them. Once you have that relationship with them, you can’t get rid of them.
James: You know, it’s funny because I’m often leftfield with my sizing because I’m a 12 EEE. I lived in Mexico for two years and did a lot of walking everywhere in ill-fitting shoes and I would have blisters and the sides of my toes would be rubbed raw. It was horrible. So, when I came home, I said, “OK if I’m going to work in an office, in a professional environment, I need shoes that fit well.” So, for me it’s all about being able to build a wardrobe around a good-looking shoe, that’s well-constructed, that actually fits my feet. People look at my shoes and they ask about the brand. In Spanish we have a phrase, “Dime con quién andas, y te dire quién eres,” which means, “Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are.” I walk with Allen Edmonds.
Trevor: I used to kind of almost wear it as a badge of honor that I could buy shoes cheap. If I could buy it at 70% off, it didn’t matter if it was a disposable item. I started to develop foot pain and I didn’t know why. Finally, I came to my senses and remembered what a wise man once said, “Never cut corners on anything that separates you from the ground: your mattress, your tires and your shoes.” So, I just started to go through the discovery process. First, I wanted to find something well-made, something that’s going to help my feet, so they don’t hurt. I wanted a little bit more support and I wanted to do it right. I found online forums—a big community with a lot of opinions—and ultimately ended up at Allen Edmonds. Of course, with so many models, colors and varieties it was like, wow, this whole new world opened up to me.
WHAT WOULD MAKE OUR SHOES EVEN BETTER?
Arian: The overwhelming thing I see on the Facebook group is for the Fifth Street oxford boot to come back. The second most common thing I see is for different colors of shell cordovan like navy and green. I personally love double monk-straps but the St. John’s don’t fit me correctly. I have a pair of the Mora 2.0s that I absolutely love so, I’m waiting for the day that Ashley sends me an email and says, “Hey, by the way. We’re going to get these in shell cordovan.” I’m a fan of double monk-straps because I think they serve a casual purpose too. So, going to a bar for example, a double monk-strap is the perfect shoe. Throw that on with a pair of jeans in chili or walnut and I think that looks phenomenal.
Trevor: I think it’s hard to say there’s a style missing when you have so many styles, but what’s missing is the ability to customize those styles. I think more and more consumers are just used to being able to customize things to a certain extent. Maybe they want it with a chunkier sole. Maybe they want it with a single leather sole. Just being able to customize those things allows them to make it just a little bit different.
James: I love what you guys have been doing in terms of the balancing the new trends while still maintaining the classics. I love the experimentation. I’m a big fan of putting something out, seeing if it works and if it doesn’t, that’s cool. I like the web gems that help gauge the interest of what’s going on and give those of us who have a lot of pairs something different to buy. Just reach deep into the creativity. I’m pretty sure most of us have most of the classics, so give us something else. That’s what I love. You guys haven’t been afraid to try new things while still staying true to the core of shoes that are well-made, beautiful and often tell a story.
LEGACY IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.
In the months ahead, we’ll be releasing more limited-edition launches, reimagining iconic styles with updated features and introducing you to like-minded individuals who are creating their own legacies through arts, culture, industry and innovation. As we turn 100, we’re looking forward to what’s next.
Join our community of dedicated enthusiasts for early access to special events, in-depth content, exclusive discounts and so much more.