The thud from a rubber heel and the slap of the leather sole declares that a Gentleman is on the move, with each step confidence and style becomes audible. A quality shoe contains high-grade materials and craftsmanship that makes a lasting impression. I am pleased and honored to review the Broadstreet shoe from an American institution, Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation Belgium, Wisconsin.
Established in 1922, AE has weathered many economic and global conflicts, ranging from the Great Depression, WWII and Disco! Although there has been changes in manufacturing and fashion, AE remained on course and never compromised on quality and craftsmanship. Not only did AE supply GI’s during WWII with standard issue Army boots (above image) and dress uniform shoes, the Park Avenue model has been worn by U.S. Presidents (Reagan- Bush II, Obama on occasion)! Whether a Gentleman was fighting on the Stock Exchange or at the Battle of the Bulge, you can bet they were more than likely wearing AE.
The Broadstreet made its debut in 1922 and was re-released in 2012 for the 90th anniversary. The name originates from the cross street at the New York Stock Exchange. It is a two-tone spectator shoe with a wingtip pattern. The shoebox I received is a matte black box emblazoned with gold lettering that reads, “Allen Edmonds The Great American Shoe Company”. Before I opened the box, AE displayed confidence in the quality and craftsmanship of their product.
Opening the shoebox reveals another surprise, because there is two soft cotton bags that protect the shoes from dust. Picking up the bag I noticed a sturdy and solid shoe that were not heavy and felt balanced. As I pulled the shoe out of the bag, the smell of fine crafted leather was strong and revealed volumes of information about its creation. The shoes bear the signature of being handcrafted, with crisp lines and stitching that serve as testimony of solid craftsmanship. The shoe is beautifully matched with a rich walnut and bone finish. I hesitated to wear them for a few weeks but eventually I would need to.
The walnut finish is rich and deep and highlights the intricate design patterns. The wingtip pattern is a classic design that allows the walnut and bone finish to compliment the circular and linear shapes that oscillate between light and dark tones. The patterns found in the bone are subtle and in the background, while the finish highlights the foreground. In addition to the walnut and bone finish, the leather sole is dark translucent brown that displays the layers of leather. Overall, the colors and shades create a simple but powerful statement that is timeless.
The shoes are very comfortable to wear because AE has crafted them with comfort and style in mind. Beneath the insoles is a layer of cork that will eventually conform to the shape of the foot and produce an “orthotic-like fit”, AE calls this feature “custom cork comfort”. The shoe is constructed by hand using their 212-step 360o Goodyear welt construction process. The Broadstreet comes in a few color combinations, a matching belt is also available.
If I had to rate the shoe 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I would confidently give the shoe a 12+! The shoe is crafted with high-grade materials and quality construction. Moreover, the shoe is re-craftable, which is the process of rebuilding the shoe from the bottom up for a fraction of the purchase price. Now that the topic of cost has been broached, the price of the shoe (about $345) reflects the high-grade material and quality construction. In a previous article (www.gentlemensavenue.com/category/style/shoes/) I stated that a quality shoe may cost you around $400 and will last you more than 10 years, which works out to $40 a year for a hand crafted shoe made in the U.S.A!
It is not rare to find AE vintage shoes selling for $150+, which affirms the craftsmanship and longevity of a high quality shoe. The Broadstreet is a portrait of what you could expect to find at a shoe cobbler 91 years ago. If you are in the market for a quality shoe with a timeless design the Broadstreet is a homerun. Whether you wear them with denim or pinstripe slacks the Broadstreet will impress. Check out AE’s website for many great shoes and follow them on Facebook for great deals and special pricing.
This really blew me away, I visited a store as a secret customer and the service was amazing! It was during the busy holiday season and I walked in wearing old cowboy boots, 501’s and a vintage Pendleton and was treated like a Fortune 500 executive! Wait it gets better, the young woman that helped me was very knowledgeable and courteous as she brought me several shoes. She treated me like a customer who was going to make a purchase, even after I told her I was just looking. Thank you Kesia and Jeff for everything! (@Philadelphia location now, I believe)
Overall, AE shoes and customer service proves they are “The Great American Shoe Company”.
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