Allen Edmonds Tent Sale

Allen Edmonds’ Tent Sale starts today. 15-50% off all factory second shoes and select accessories. That puts the black Park Avenue oxfords and the brown Strand wingtips you see above at $199 each. You can find more information about the sale here and here.

Floppy Shoes
I love floppy shoes, particularly for wearing on warm weather days. By floppy, I mean what’s usually referred to as unlined - a term that’s kind of a misnomer since few shoes are truly made without any lining. Like with neckties, when a company describes their shoes as unlined, what they usually mean is that they’re partially or lightly lined, as some lining is often still used to give the shoes some structure. 
To explain, a well-made pair of leather shoes will usually have a full leather sock liner built in. That means two pieces of leather are joined together to form the upper. There’s the leather that faces the outside world, and the leather that touches your feet. By joining these two pieces together, you get something that has a bit more structure and will holds its shape better. Without the lining, however, you get a softer, more comfortable shoe. Whereas most leather shoes need a break-in period, unlined shoes will feel like slippers on first wear. 
My own floppy unlined shoes are by Alden. I have two pairs of their suede chukkas – one in snuff suede and the other in tan. The bottom is built on Alden’s flex welt sole, which is a thin, water-locked, oiled leather. It’s exceptionally flexible and complements the shoes’ unlined construction well. The combination of the two makes for a lightweight, comfortable boot that looks as great with jeans and chinos as they do with grey wool trousers.
They’re expensive at full retail, but sometimes you can find them for about half off on eBay. Allen Edmonds has a similar model called the Amok. The shape is slightly sleeker, and it comes in at $250. Nordstorm describes it as having a leather lining, but you can see this isn’t true when you zoom in on the photos.
Alden also makes unlined derbys and loafers, which you can find through Harrison, Unionmade, Leffot, and Shoemart. The unlined loafers also come in shell cordovan (most notably in the well-beloved Horween #8, which has a beautiful reddish-brown color). That one is sold exclusively through Brooks Brothers, who has them on discount today as part of their Corporate Card event (30% off for anyone who holds a Brooks corporate card). For something a bit more affordable – but no less well made – consider Rancourt. They have a made-to-order system that can allow you to order any of their shoes unlined. I’m personally thinking of getting some snuff suede unlined penny loafers from them in the next month or so. 
(Photo credit: Unionmade)

Floppy Shoes

I love floppy shoes, particularly for wearing on warm weather days. By floppy, I mean what’s usually referred to as unlined - a term that’s kind of a misnomer since few shoes are truly made without any lining. Like with neckties, when a company describes their shoes as unlined, what they usually mean is that they’re partially or lightly lined, as some lining is often still used to give the shoes some structure. 

To explain, a well-made pair of leather shoes will usually have a full leather sock liner built in. That means two pieces of leather are joined together to form the upper. There’s the leather that faces the outside world, and the leather that touches your feet. By joining these two pieces together, you get something that has a bit more structure and will holds its shape better. Without the lining, however, you get a softer, more comfortable shoe. Whereas most leather shoes need a break-in period, unlined shoes will feel like slippers on first wear. 

My own floppy unlined shoes are by Alden. I have two pairs of their suede chukkas – one in snuff suede and the other in tan. The bottom is built on Alden’s flex welt sole, which is a thin, water-locked, oiled leather. It’s exceptionally flexible and complements the shoes’ unlined construction well. The combination of the two makes for a lightweight, comfortable boot that looks as great with jeans and chinos as they do with grey wool trousers.

They’re expensive at full retail, but sometimes you can find them for about half off on eBay. Allen Edmonds has a similar model called the Amok. The shape is slightly sleeker, and it comes in at $250. Nordstorm describes it as having a leather lining, but you can see this isn’t true when you zoom in on the photos.

Alden also makes unlined derbys and loafers, which you can find through Harrison, Unionmade, Leffot, and Shoemart. The unlined loafers also come in shell cordovan (most notably in the well-beloved Horween #8, which has a beautiful reddish-brown color). That one is sold exclusively through Brooks Brothers, who has them on discount today as part of their Corporate Card event (30% off for anyone who holds a Brooks corporate card). For something a bit more affordable – but no less well made – consider Rancourt. They have a made-to-order system that can allow you to order any of their shoes unlined. I’m personally thinking of getting some snuff suede unlined penny loafers from them in the next month or so. 

(Photo credit: Unionmade)

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Factory Seconds

Allen Edmonds is having a sale on all factory second shoes and closeouts, with discounts ranging from 15% to 40%. That puts their black Park Avenue oxfords at $199 and brown Strands wingtips at $229.

As many readers may know, factory seconds are shoes that didn’t pass quality control, but the “defects” are usually incredibly minor (like a small nick at the heel or something). Most of the time, you can’t tell why the shoe was rejected, even on close inspection. 

There are other deals, of course, but you’ll have to inquire. To do so, call one of Allen Edmonds’ outlet stores. We usually refer people to the one in Brookfield, Wisconsin, who you can reach at (262) 785-6666, but you can find other outlet stores by using the store locator at Allen Edmonds’ website.

When calling, you may also want to have their website ready so you can easily look up the names of models. 

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Wingtips
It’s probably just my personal preferences, but I don’t think all wingtips look great with a suit. I tend to favor wingtips with closed lacing, like the Allen Edmonds McAllister above, just because the lines look a bit sleeker when paired with a suit that’s business appropriate. While not as formal as a plain captoe, it would still look good in any environment where a jacket and tie is required. 
Allen Edmonds is currently having a sale on select models, offering 15%-30% off. The McAllister is on sale for $249, down from $345 with free shipping. Sale ends Monday, April 29th.
-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Wingtips

It’s probably just my personal preferences, but I don’t think all wingtips look great with a suit. I tend to favor wingtips with closed lacing, like the Allen Edmonds McAllister above, just because the lines look a bit sleeker when paired with a suit that’s business appropriate. While not as formal as a plain captoe, it would still look good in any environment where a jacket and tie is required. 

Allen Edmonds is currently having a sale on select models, offering 15%-30% off. The McAllister is on sale for $249, down from $345 with free shipping. Sale ends Monday, April 29th.

-Kiyoshi

The Single Most Important Shoe Care Tip
I accepted some time ago that few people – including the people I know who are as interested in men’s style as I am – take the time to polish their shoes. Which is a shame because much of the value in good leather shoes is tied into how well you take care of them. The richness and depth of the leather, and the patina that builds over time, are all really brought out with routine polishing. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that a well-taken pair of mid-quality, full-grain leather shoes will always look better than a neglected pair made by some world-class cordwainer.
If you’re not going to polish your shoes, however, then I encourage you to at least take one step: every once in a while, when your shoes start to look a little dry, apply a coat of leather conditioner. Routine application will do more for the health and appearance of your shoes than anything else. It will help bring out the suppleness and richness in the leather, give the color some depth, and most importantly, prevent your uppers from drying out and cracking.
Many shoe enthusiasts prefer to condition their shoes with Saphir Renovateur. Indeed, it’s pretty nice stuff, but also a bit expensive. You’d be perfectly fine, in my opinion, with many of the cheaper options on the market. I prefer Allen Edmonds’ Conditioner and Cleaner, though Lexol is also pretty good (they have it broken up into separate conditioner and cleaner bottles). I’ve used all three brands, and they all perform well. The real advantage of Saphir, from what I can tell, is that it smells a bit nicer and comes in a prettier container. Not a totally trivial thing, since it’s nice to make the activity as enjoyable as possible, but if you can’t afford it, don’t sweat it. The most important thing is that you put some conditioner on once every month or two, even if you can’t be bothered to polish.  
(Photo via The William Brown Project)

The Single Most Important Shoe Care Tip

I accepted some time ago that few people – including the people I know who are as interested in men’s style as I am – take the time to polish their shoes. Which is a shame because much of the value in good leather shoes is tied into how well you take care of them. The richness and depth of the leather, and the patina that builds over time, are all really brought out with routine polishing. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that a well-taken pair of mid-quality, full-grain leather shoes will always look better than a neglected pair made by some world-class cordwainer.

If you’re not going to polish your shoes, however, then I encourage you to at least take one step: every once in a while, when your shoes start to look a little dry, apply a coat of leather conditioner. Routine application will do more for the health and appearance of your shoes than anything else. It will help bring out the suppleness and richness in the leather, give the color some depth, and most importantly, prevent your uppers from drying out and cracking.

Many shoe enthusiasts prefer to condition their shoes with Saphir Renovateur. Indeed, it’s pretty nice stuff, but also a bit expensive. You’d be perfectly fine, in my opinion, with many of the cheaper options on the market. I prefer Allen Edmonds’ Conditioner and Cleaner, though Lexol is also pretty good (they have it broken up into separate conditioner and cleaner bottles). I’ve used all three brands, and they all perform well. The real advantage of Saphir, from what I can tell, is that it smells a bit nicer and comes in a prettier container. Not a totally trivial thing, since it’s nice to make the activity as enjoyable as possible, but if you can’t afford it, don’t sweat it. The most important thing is that you put some conditioner on once every month or two, even if you can’t be bothered to polish.  

(Photo via The William Brown Project)

Make Your Own Rain Boots
With spring showers only a month away, it’s worth thinking about what kind of footwear one might need when the weather gets wet. My rainy day shoes of choice are shell cordovan boots. Shell cordovan, which is a leather taken from a horse’s rump, is so dense that it can effectively perform like rubber. I’ve trudged for miles on wet days without any snow or rain seeping in, and with a quick brushing once I get home, my shell boots look even better than the day they came. The only problem is that shell cordovan boots are quite expensive. Even on sale or on eBay, you’re looking at a neighborhood starting price of $500.
The alternative is to pick up a pair of SWIMS galoshes or LL Bean Boots. The upside to SWIMs is that they can be slipped over your normal dress shoes. The downside is that, frankly, sometimes you don’t want to bother with the hassle. LL Bean Boots are less fussy, but they can’t be worn with dressier garments such as suits and sport coats.
A happy medium is learn how to weatherproof the shoes you already own. For suede shoes, I recommend a waterproofing spray, such as this one from Allen Edmonds. Allen Edmonds’ version doesn’t contain any silicone, which is said by some to potentially damage to shoes. Each canister costs about seven bucks and can weatherproof something like five to seven pairs of shoes. I usually give my suede boots two coats before taking them out into the rain 24 hours later. Just be sure to only use this spray on suede shoes, as you can clog up the pores on calf, which would be bad.
For rugged boots, such as hiking boots or workboots, I recommend Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP or Montana Pitch Blend. I wrote a post last year about how to apply Obenauf’s, which readers might find useful. This thick, greasy cream both nourishes leather and helps keep moisture out. Don’t use it on anything besides rugged boots though. On a pair of dressy calf or shell cordovan shoes, this stuff can ruin your ability to ever get a proper shine.
For regular calf or shell, Steven Taffel at Leffot recommends Alden’s Leather Defender. It performs better than the minimal protection one might be able to give with a wax polish, and it won’t ruin your ability to give your shoes a proper shine. From a quick perusal of the online forums, some even say that it helps prevent the dreaded spotting shell cordovan can develop once it gets wet. That spotting goes away with a quick brushing, but it admittedly can be a bit of a hassle. I’m thinking of picking up some Leather Defender next month and trying it out on my shell boots. You can purchase it by calling Leffot and having them ship a bottle to you, or by going through J Crew’s online shop.
For $7 to $15, these all seem like great options, especially when compared to spending $500+ for shell boots, or even ~$100 for some SWIMs or LL Beans. Just have realistic expectations. Your shoes will be water resistant, but they won’t be waterproof. You can’t jump in any puddles or anything, but with some good preventive care, you can happily take your regular shoes out into the rain.
* Big thanks to Steven for help with this article. His store Leffot, by the way, is my favorite shoe shop in the US. Everyone ought to check out their store in NYC, if not at least their webshop.

Make Your Own Rain Boots

With spring showers only a month away, it’s worth thinking about what kind of footwear one might need when the weather gets wet. My rainy day shoes of choice are shell cordovan boots. Shell cordovan, which is a leather taken from a horse’s rump, is so dense that it can effectively perform like rubber. I’ve trudged for miles on wet days without any snow or rain seeping in, and with a quick brushing once I get home, my shell boots look even better than the day they came. The only problem is that shell cordovan boots are quite expensive. Even on sale or on eBay, you’re looking at a neighborhood starting price of $500.

The alternative is to pick up a pair of SWIMS galoshes or LL Bean Boots. The upside to SWIMs is that they can be slipped over your normal dress shoes. The downside is that, frankly, sometimes you don’t want to bother with the hassle. LL Bean Boots are less fussy, but they can’t be worn with dressier garments such as suits and sport coats.

A happy medium is learn how to weatherproof the shoes you already own. For suede shoes, I recommend a waterproofing spray, such as this one from Allen Edmonds. Allen Edmonds’ version doesn’t contain any silicone, which is said by some to potentially damage to shoes. Each canister costs about seven bucks and can weatherproof something like five to seven pairs of shoes. I usually give my suede boots two coats before taking them out into the rain 24 hours later. Just be sure to only use this spray on suede shoes, as you can clog up the pores on calf, which would be bad.

For rugged boots, such as hiking boots or workboots, I recommend Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP or Montana Pitch Blend. I wrote a post last year about how to apply Obenauf’s, which readers might find useful. This thick, greasy cream both nourishes leather and helps keep moisture out. Don’t use it on anything besides rugged boots though. On a pair of dressy calf or shell cordovan shoes, this stuff can ruin your ability to ever get a proper shine.

For regular calf or shell, Steven Taffel at Leffot recommends Alden’s Leather Defender. It performs better than the minimal protection one might be able to give with a wax polish, and it won’t ruin your ability to give your shoes a proper shine. From a quick perusal of the online forums, some even say that it helps prevent the dreaded spotting shell cordovan can develop once it gets wet. That spotting goes away with a quick brushing, but it admittedly can be a bit of a hassle. I’m thinking of picking up some Leather Defender next month and trying it out on my shell boots. You can purchase it by calling Leffot and having them ship a bottle to you, or by going through J Crew’s online shop.

For $7 to $15, these all seem like great options, especially when compared to spending $500+ for shell boots, or even ~$100 for some SWIMs or LL Beans. Just have realistic expectations. Your shoes will be water resistant, but they won’t be waterproof. You can’t jump in any puddles or anything, but with some good preventive care, you can happily take your regular shoes out into the rain.

* Big thanks to Steven for help with this article. His store Leffot, by the way, is my favorite shoe shop in the US. Everyone ought to check out their store in NYC, if not at least their webshop.

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds’ Factory Second Closeouts
With the new spring arrivals on the way, Allen Edmonds is looking to make space at their outlet store in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Now through March 10th, you can pick any two factory second closeouts for $250. To order, call their Brookfield store at (262) 785-6666. You can either ask what models are available in your size and they’ll email you a list, or you can inquire about any specific model you see on their website. 
As we’ve mentioned before, factory seconds are typically shoes that didn’t pass the quality control process. The “damage” is usually incredibly minor (such as a nick at the heel or something), and often things you can’t even find when inspecting the shoe.
Included in their sale is their Amok, a suede unlined chukka that’s somewhat similar to Alden’s 1494. The main difference is the shoe shape. Whereas Alden’s is a bit wider and rounder, the toe box on the Allen Edmonds is slightly more narrow and elongated. Being unlined, this is a fairly nice, soft, flexible shoe for $125, and would wear well in the coming summer months. 
Addendum: A friend of mine, Oliver, reminded me that Allen Edmonds is offering $35 credit for any used pair of shoes you donate. You can find the details of the program here. I’m unsure if this promotion applies to factory second closeouts, but you can call to check. 

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds’ Factory Second Closeouts

With the new spring arrivals on the way, Allen Edmonds is looking to make space at their outlet store in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Now through March 10th, you can pick any two factory second closeouts for $250. To order, call their Brookfield store at (262) 785-6666. You can either ask what models are available in your size and they’ll email you a list, or you can inquire about any specific model you see on their website

As we’ve mentioned before, factory seconds are typically shoes that didn’t pass the quality control process. The “damage” is usually incredibly minor (such as a nick at the heel or something), and often things you can’t even find when inspecting the shoe.

Included in their sale is their Amok, a suede unlined chukka that’s somewhat similar to Alden’s 1494. The main difference is the shoe shape. Whereas Alden’s is a bit wider and rounder, the toe box on the Allen Edmonds is slightly more narrow and elongated. Being unlined, this is a fairly nice, soft, flexible shoe for $125, and would wear well in the coming summer months. 

Addendum: A friend of mine, Oliver, reminded me that Allen Edmonds is offering $35 credit for any used pair of shoes you donate. You can find the details of the program here. I’m unsure if this promotion applies to factory second closeouts, but you can call to check. 

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds’ Factory Seconds

Allen Edmonds is having a 15-50% off sale on its “factory seconds,” which as many readers know, is a term for shoes that didn’t pass the quality control process. 99% of the time, the flaw is incredibly minor and often not even something you can see. If you’re looking for a deal, factory seconds are a nice way to score shoes for less than they cost retail, and a discount sale only makes them sweeter. 

Unfortunately, there’s no online site for you to purchase these. You’ll have to call Allen Edmond’s store in Brookfield, Wisconsin to place an order. It may be good to have Allen Edmonds’ website up, so you can either enquire about a specific model, or be able to easily reference what a model looks like when you ask for the shoes in your size. I know Park Avenues are on sale for $219, and Fifth Avenue and Strands are on sale for $229. 

To contact the Brookfield store, you can call (262) 785-6666. The sale runs from February 4th until the 18th. 

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Shoes
Right now you can find a wide range of Allen Edmonds shoes at around 33% off, many under $200, at both the Allen Edmonds clearance section and at Lands’ End.
Lands’ End has a few options under $250, including the MacNeil longwings, dark-brown Strand captoe brogues and suede Grayson tassel loafers. If you’re looking for a more casual shoe, the walnut Stewart plain-toe blucher and suede Katmai chukka boots are both $194.
The Allen Edmonds clearance section has a much larger selection, but limited sizing. I found the Park Avenue in walnut grain to be one of the nicer items available in a wider range of sizes.
-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Shoes

Right now you can find a wide range of Allen Edmonds shoes at around 33% off, many under $200, at both the Allen Edmonds clearance section and at Lands’ End.

Lands’ End has a few options under $250, including the MacNeil longwings, dark-brown Strand captoe brogues and suede Grayson tassel loafers. If you’re looking for a more casual shoe, the walnut Stewart plain-toe blucher and suede Katmai chukka boots are both $194.

The Allen Edmonds clearance section has a much larger selection, but limited sizing. I found the Park Avenue in walnut grain to be one of the nicer items available in a wider range of sizes.

-Kiyoshi

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Shoe Polish
Allen Edmonds is having a closeout sale on select tubes of shoe polish. $1 per tube, with free shipping to boot. If you want to know what those colors look like, you can sort of get an idea from these teensy weensy swatches at The Shoe Mart.

It’s On Sale: Allen Edmonds Shoe Polish

Allen Edmonds is having a closeout sale on select tubes of shoe polish. $1 per tube, with free shipping to boot. If you want to know what those colors look like, you can sort of get an idea from these teensy weensy swatches at The Shoe Mart.