For a number of reasons, the market has become such that most dress shoes retailing for under $300 aren’t really worth buying. Thus, if you want nice dress shoes, you either have to wait patiently for sales or search around on eBay. Lately however, a few new companies have cropped up offering well-made, affordably priced options. One of them is Ed Et Al, a Singaporean company that started just last year. Ed Et Al sells Goodyear welted shoes made from full grain leather uppers for less than $200. Shipping to the US bumps it up a little, but they still outclass other shoes in their price tier.
The company has three lines. The ready-to-wear range includes everything from loafers to boots to oxfords. They’re made from Southeast Asian leathers and feature a few points of hand construction, such as hand lasting and hand finished antiquing. This line is made in a workshop in Vietnam, but to high standards. Next, there’s a custom line where clients can dictate their own design, right down to the color of the stitching. There are no fixed models here, so new patterns can be cut for each person. Finally, there is the bespoke range, where clients get custom lasts made by Springline of Northampton and several fittings before the order gets finally made. Both the custom and bespoke line are made in Singapore and use French and Italian calf leathers.
Having seen the ready-to-wear line, I can say they’re a very good value. The leathers aren’t as finely grained as what you’d find at Allen Edmonds or Crockett & Jones, but they’re still full grain and very nice. They certainly beat almost any pair of dress shoes on the market retailing under $300. The company’s custom and bespoke lines cost a little more, but they’re made to even higher standards and use European leathers. I also like that the company has a one-year guarantee from defects, and offers a recrafting and refurbishing service. It’s nice to not only see a company produce well-made, affordable options, but also stand by their products.
The company’s co-founder, designer, and shoemaker, Edwin Neo, was an apprentice of Marcell Mrsan, the Hungarian master shoemaker who runs Koronya Boots & Shoes. Koronya, for those who may not know, is a rather celebrated shoe company among shoe enthusiasts. Having graduated from his apprenticeship, Edwin now makes all of the Ed Et Al’s custom and bespoke shoes, and does all the quality checks on the ready-to-wear line. I was given the opportunity to chat with Edwin last month, and decided to ask him some fairly nerdy questions about shoemaking. Click through below to read our chat, but be forewarned that it’s fairly nerdy. If you’re not interested in technical details, you can just stop here and know that Ed Et Al is a great place for affordable footwear.