Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Today's Shoes


Vass punch-cap high-lace blucher boots in tobacco suede with single leather soles (F last).


Allen-Edmonds punch-cap bals in dark brown suede with single leather soles (Byron model, 4 last). Allen-Edmonds is one of the two remaining quality American manufacturers of men's shoes (Alden is the other); and of the two, AE has the higher profile and the larger distribution. It's hard for American shoe manufacturers to survive because of the expense of making shoes correctly and the unwillingness of most of the American populace to pay for them. Alden has survived by turning itself into a shell cordovan specialist and by developing a cult following in Germany and Japan, where people are willing to pay absurd prices for their shoes. AE has tried a number of different things. For a number of years, they have offered some cheaper Italian-made loafers under their own label. This year, they have introduced another Italian-made line, better-made and better-styled than their American-made line. They also have attempted to keep the line current by introducing new models every season while retiring old ones. The suede Byron is one of the casualties of this model churning strategy, and that's a shame. It's a good shoe, one of the better ones that AE made.

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