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Thread: The "New" Allen Edmonds?

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    The "New" Allen Edmonds?

    This thread was inspired by @mebejoseph, given his customer service issues and mentioning of AE's new website.

    How we got here:
    - They were acquired by a discount shoe conglomerate in late 2016, after previously being held by a private equity company.
    - Over the past year, they quietly introduced a few more casual shoe lines and a cemented shoe line, both pretty quietly, and seemingly to not much fanfare (which they have been known to do from time to time).
    - They had a massive firesale over Labor Day weekend, taking an extra 40% off on all clearance items (including Shoebank, which I hadn't seen before).
    - In some other threads, there have been rumblings over 1) complementary shoebags no longer being offered, and 2) shoes now being sold in crappier boxes.
    - Today, we get an e-mail from AE's CEO, introducing the "New Allen Edmonds."

    Well, looking at their website, they've released quite a number of new shoes, with the following features:
    - Numbered Lasts, Limited Widths: Quite a few new shoes have been introduced without reference to the old numbered last system. Instead, it looks like many shoes are being offered in a "classic fit", with only D and EEE sizes available.
    - Limited Designs: Most of the new offerings appear to be very basic designs that are redundant to previous AE styles--e.g., a basic penny loafer, a basic captoe oxford, a basic longwing, etc. Very limited colorways.
    - Buzzword Constructions: Most of the new shoe descriptions are boasting flexible welts and lightweight construction, with buzzwords like "SpeedWelt," "Custom Cork," and "Shock Form Insole"
    - Pricing: A new line of "Made in Italy" shoes now retailing for $500+, but appear to be cemented.

    It seems like the company is pivoting to higher prices, moving away towards GYW construction, emphasizing easier break-in/lighter construction, and simplifying their offerings across the board (fewer styles, fewer colorways, fewer sizes). Gulp.

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    I confess I cannot understand the drama about the boxes; its a shoe box--I got a pair in the new box and there is nothing wrong with the box! I do agree that no shoe bags is a pretty dumb move.

    I am not ready to panic just yet. I don't think their flagship styles, gyw shoes, or MiUSA is going anywhere. In fact, the Nomad collection (made in USA) seems to be the new alternative to the DR-made "Road Warriors," currently on clearance.

    What has bothered me most about Allen Edmonds in the last year is the fact that I had to return 2 of my last 4 shoes due to various cosmetic defects (they were clearly 2nds being sold as 1sts). That, and the catalog, which heavily featured "style influencers" hanging out at "hip" places like a Brooklyn distillery.

    On the plus side, the pictures on the web site are way better than what was shown on the old site (but maybe that's a pretty low bar).

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftToole View Post
    I confess I cannot understand the drama about the boxes; its a shoe box--I got a pair in the new box and there is nothing wrong with the box! I do agree that no shoe bags is a pretty dumb move.

    I am not ready to panic just yet. I don't think their flagship styles, gyw shoes, or MiUSA is going anywhere. In fact, the Nomad collection (made in USA) seems to be the new alternative to the DR-made "Road Warriors," currently on clearance.

    What has bothered me most about Allen Edmonds in the last year is the fact that I had to return 2 of my last 4 shoes due to various cosmetic defects (they were clearly 2nds being sold as 1sts). That, and the catalog, which heavily featured "style influencers" hanging out at "hip" places like a Brooklyn distillery.

    On the plus side, the pictures on the web site are way better than what was shown on the old site (but maybe that's a pretty low bar).
    Yes, all five pairs of shoes I've purchased from AE in the last year has had a small cosmetic defect or two, except for the one pair I paid full price for--not seconds for sure, but not what I'd expect for a $400 shoe. Poetic justice, I guess? In addition, the bourbon color shoes turned into a mess by losing their color with normal polishing.

    I'm not panicking, but I'm not happy about the current way they are doing business--taking my money from my paypal account for out of stock items, cancelling my orders without notifying me, and then not refunding my money after two weeks.

    All that said, they need to change because they were bought out and big publicly owned corporate conglomerates do business differently and have different goals than small closely held companies AND probably even more so, guys like me are getting old, dying off, and leaving the shoe-buying market in various ways. Hell--I'm 59 years old and have five pairs of AE shoes that are less than a year old, plus a few more pairs from other shoe companies. I could go the rest of my life and never buy another pair of dress shoes.

    They need to market to young men coming up in the world and hipster "style influencers" seem to be where it's at now.

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    1. Being bought by a discount shoe company should help from a data standpoint. AE does not have to be everything to everyone in terms of widths. Data should point to where to focus your attention and stop carrying odd widths with low turnover.
    2. The guys I know who buy AE that are "non-style guys" will likely buy the casual shoes from AE. Why not get some casual sneakers when you replace your current rotation? Also I have been in an AE store multiple times where some other customer is raving about an ugly shoe that is offered.

    Here is a random story about why online people are a PITA to companies like AE. When there used to be sales, AE would allow people on SF to have MTO purchases at the discount price. Imagine getting a custom pair of strands when they go on sale for $225. Great for the buyer but there were always issues. It was a mess due to complaints and AE shut it down and people bitched. Oh well.

    The only gripe I have currently is the new font on their website sucks. People would bitch if the shoes were perfect and made by a robot but forget actual living and breathing people are making their shoes. Errors happen...y'all aren't perfect either.

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBarwick View Post
    1. Being bought by a discount shoe company should help from a data standpoint. AE does not have to be everything to everyone in terms of widths. Data should point to where to focus your attention and stop carrying odd widths with low turnover.

    ***
    From a pure business numbers mass-market standpoint, carrying odd sizes like 12.5 AAA doesn't make sense, of course.

    It will be interesting to see where they go with their new pricing structures and new "collections" and so forth. People who want "old-fashioned" marketing, service, and odd sizes will need to look elsewhere, but AE isn't going to lose much money by letting them get away. Maybe those people aren't even profitable customers.

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    My Bruno Magli's are cemented and retail is in the $400s. While I wouldn't pay that, I paid $200 for them and would happily buy them again for that price. Joe has praised BM as well.

    The new line may fit in and maybe they are trying to grab the Gucci bit loafer crowd?

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    Super Moderator DocDave's Avatar
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    Yeah, when I read the email my initial thought was skepticism. I couldn't help but think the email / message was prepping us for a two level company. Kind of like what DocMartens is doing. One shoe at a lower price point, made in China. Another shoe at a higher price point, made in the US. I guess we'll have to wait and see what shakes out.

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    I kind of feel like I'm piling on here, but I was just looking at the new site. I clicked on the 'Dress Shoes and Boot's link under the new Shoes dropdown. The third shoe listed is the (I think) new LGA Wingtip Oxford, which I changed to Brown before clicking through to the item. Check out the first picture of the shoe, which is the profile:

    https://www.allenedmonds.com/shoes/m...r=3352#start=1

    I bought a pair of Strands Seconds that came and had that kind of creasing/wrinkling on the side piece and had considered returning them. Now they're advertising that type of craftsmanship on page 1 of the main site lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougie View Post
    I kind of feel like I'm piling on here, but I was just looking at the new site. I clicked on the 'Dress Shoes and Boot's link under the new Shoes dropdown. The third shoe listed is the (I think) new LGA Wingtip Oxford, which I changed to Brown before clicking through to the item. Check out the first picture of the shoe, which is the profile:

    https://www.allenedmonds.com/shoes/m...r=3352#start=1

    I bought a pair of Strands Seconds that came and had that kind of creasing/wrinkling on the side piece and had considered returning them. Now they're advertising that type of craftsmanship on page 1 of the main site lol.
    Wow! Welcome to the new normal!

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    Seems like they got rid of their Italian bit loafer that was excellent... may need to try to grab another pair before they ghost from stores as well... and have that be the last AE shoe I purchase, bc most of this stuff looks like rubbish now. Very unfortunate that all the concerns everyone had re: the buyout seem to be coming true over time.

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