Allen Edmonds is a footwear company that evokes a lot of polarizing feelings from menswear folks. There are many who feel that AE offers impressive quality and solid designs at the entry level price of fine footwear, and they’d be right. There are others who feel that Allen Edmonds shoe designs tend to miss the mark a bit and end up looking a bit too down-to-earth, and, well, they’re not necessarily wrong either.
My feelings are that Allen Edmonds has a good level of quality with some classic styles, but there are often a couple of things that keep the shoes from looking as good as they could. For instance, the Park Avenue would be an ideal entry level captoe oxford, but that dang cap is just too small. The Walnut Strand is a classic, but that color is just too orange to wear with anything. All of their oxfords are of good quality, but the 6-eyelet design and 360 welt leave them looking a bit…off sometimes.
Well, I recently received the AE MacNeil 2.0 in pebble grain, and let me tell you – it’s a dead-center, middle-of-the-forehead bullseye.
Here’s why the shoes do so well:
- Chocolate brown pebble grain is a great partner for a casual longwing.
- The Dainite sole makes it rugged and durable without the bulk of a double leather sole.
- The style of the shoe and shape of the wingtip are dead on. It wasn’t broke and they didn’t try to fix it.
- AE’s 7 last gives a slim, but still solid-looking shape that looks great – better than Alden’s Barrie, in my opinion.
- BONUS: the MacNeil 2.0s have a slightly cushioned footbed, which makes these guys great for walking long distances.
All of these factors, when put together in an already versatile style, make this shoe a perfect go-to pair for autumn and beyond. I took these on my recent trip to Europe as my only pair of dress shoes and wore them almost every day, with everything from chinos and jackets to a casual suit. They worked quite well, in my opinion.
I do hope that this style comes back soon (EDIT: thanks to Shawn for finding them again), and that Allen Edmonds expands its offering of shoes with Dainite and pebble grain. So Mr. Grangaard, if you’re reading this: I know that you like to chat with people on the internet, so send me an email and let’s team up to make a boot version of this for next year, ok? It’ll be awesome, I promise.