AE is a great American heritage brand. This company offers a selection of American-made Dress shoes for men that are a slightly cheaper alternative to Alden. Their leather is high-quality and is as such. There are many styles for every shape of the foot, even for those who have small, narrow feet.
They are handmade and have known to last decades. The reason for it is because they are craftable. Alden offers this service, along with other bootmakers like Crockett & Jones. The service is excellent, and you will get your shoes back that look almost brand new.
The neat thing about this brand is that their style has been the same forever. Even with new fashion trends and brands like Aldo and Cole Haan taking advantage of it, AE sticks to what they know, even as they lose a ton of potential profit. It’s admirable that they adhere to their style.
· I like Alden and have checked their shoes out in person. For the few hundred dollar increases, not much separates themselves from AE. I do like Alden’s cordovan offerings better, but other than that, there isn’t much of a difference.
What To Keep In Mind When Buying Dress Shoes For Men?
Ideally, you want to buy two leather shoes that you will retain and wear for life. One black pair, and one brown pair, that’s all. Wear the black pair with black and shades of black trousers/suits, and the brown pair with the rest (e.g., navy blue suit.
Firstly you need to know what type of shoe style you like, which typically depends on the toe shape, which is defined by the shoe’ last’. I love the Derby style.
About Style, Sole, Leather, And Laces
Styles: Derby, Brogue, Oxford’s, Wingtip, Winklepicker, etc.
Sole: Depending on the style you choose, the heel length will vary. For example, with the Derby style, I look for a right leather heel with a welt-stitched sole. Typically handmade shoes feature this and give the pump its character and feel, especially the nailed-in the heel. After you’ve bought you’re pair, take them to a cobbler and get a thin protective ‘Vibram’ sole adhered to the original bottom to protect its wear and life. Therefore as you run down the protective bottom, you end up replacing this, and the unique sole is not worn in.
Laces – I prefer waxed cord laces over leather or anything else for that matter. They have a nice feel to it and don’t look tacky. Try to have your cobbler put aglets (the metal sheath covering the ends) on them to make you look ‘baller.’
Leather – Honestly, if you’re not making a bespoke pair of shoes, then you’ll have little say in this. I like horse leather as it is durable and has a confident, masculine feel to it. Unless you source you’re own Horse skin leather, stick to a premium calfskin (cow) or kidskin (goat) shoe. I generally think pigskin is quite flimsy and has a poor grain making it look cheap. Shoes made in Bali feature this leather a lot. You shouldn’t be making shoes on your trips to South-East Asia anyway, as you may as well go barefoot.