FEATURES

Allen Edmonds

09.08.16

A world of expertise at your feet

Allen Edmonds Shoes Lined up

When we entered into talks with Allen Edmonds about the possibility of including the brand’s iconic shoes in the Reiss AW15 Collaborations offering, the reaction on both sides was unanimously enthusiastic. For us, the appeal was simple. With over 92 years’ worth of experience in crafting the finest footwear, there’s practically nothing that the American brand don’t know about putting together the perfect pair of shoes.

 

But don’t just take our word for it, having being worn by some of the world’s most powerful and influential men - from Ronald Reagan to Tom Hanks and Will Smith - you can be sure that you’re in stylish company when wearing a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes.

 

But, just what is it about the company’s shoes that has enamoured generations of men and catapulted the design to American icon status? Put simply, unwavering quality, service and integrity underpin everything that Allen Edmonds do. From the 212-step handcrafting manufacturing process used since the company’s formation to the innovative introduction of shank-less cork heels in 1930, right through to today’s commitment to recrafting styles which have been well-worn, each pair of shoes is a triumph of dedicated craftsmanship. So then, think not of a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes as a sartorially savvy purchase, but rather a lifelong commitment to a pair of shoes which are sure to persist from year after year.

 

To mark the arrival of Allen Edmonds shoes on Reiss.com and in stores, below you’ll find everything that you need to know about each of the six pairs of shoes that we’re stocking, alongside a look into the world of Allen Edmonds and the obsessive detail and care which goes into making each and every pair.

A stone’s throw from the Scottish Highlands, Dundee is recognised as one of the world’s foremost walking cities. Subsequently, the aptly-named Dundee chukka dress boots have been designed to offer not only refined style but unrivalled comfort and utility too. Thanks to an upper and lining crafted from Cordovan (a prized non-porous leather found beneath the hide on the rump of a horse) the Dundee boots will offer a hardy wear while their elegant ox blood finish means that they’ll retain a timeless appeal to match their physical longevity.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Horween® shell cordovan lined upper, Double Rendenbach leather sole with combination heel, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 511 last, Recraftable shoe, Made in the USA

SHOP DUNDEE

The tasselled loafer is a much-loved footwear style thanks to its ability to transcend decades and trends, largely unchanged. To this end, the Grayson tasselled loafers stay true to the spirit of the original design but offer subtle details which have been lovingly bestowed. From hand-raised stitching to lined premium calfskin leather uppers, for the Grayson loafers no aspect has been left unconsidered in the quest for the very finest footwear.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Side lacing and tassels, Lined premium calfskin leather upper, Single oak leather sole, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 97 Last, Recraftable shoe, Made in the USA

SHOP GRAYSON

No man’s footwear collection is complete without a pair of Derby shoes. Providing every bit of elegant simplicity needed to be considered a true style classic, the Leeds Derby shoes are refreshing in their straightforwardness and have been crafted from luxurious yet hardy cordovan leather. Retaining the essence of the original design, this updated version of the shoes has undergone a few small tweaks for contemporary charm. Namely, the blucher vamp and plain toe have been lifted for a crisper silhouette which draws attention to these shoes’ intricate arch saddle stitch. It’s not all about aesthetics though, you’ll find more room beneath each upper for an even more comfortable fit. The ultimate in versatility, the Leeds Derby shoes can be worn with practically anything you can think of.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Horween® shell cordovan lined upper, Double butyl leather sole, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 511 last, Made in the USA, Recraftable shoe

SHOP LEEDS

No man’s footwear collection is complete without a pair of Derby shoes. Providing every bit of elegant simplicity needed to be considered a true style classic, the Leeds Derby shoes are refreshing in their straightforwardness. Retaining the essence of the original design, this updated version of the shoes has undergone a few small tweaks for contemporary charm. Namely, the blucher vamp and plain toe have been lifted for a crisper silhouette which draws attention to these shoes’ intricate arch saddle stitch. It’s not all about aesthetics though, you’ll find more room beneath each upper for an even more comfortable fit. The ultimate in versatility, the Leeds Derby shoes can be worn with practically anything you can think of.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Lined premium calfskin leather upper, Double butyl leather sole, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 511 last, Made in the USA, Recraftable shoe

SHOP MCALLISTER

The Player’s shoe takes all of the design details you’d expect from a wingtip brogue and adds a modern new spin. Created as a gift for all competitors in the 2010 PGA Championship, the Player’s shoe is one of the newest additions to the Allen Edmonds roster. In classic black, this shoe boasts wear-with-anything versatility and is gently grained at its calfskin leather upper for a subtly stylish point of interest.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Lined premium calfskin leather upper, Antiqued double leather sole, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 222 last, Recraftable shoe, Made in the USA

SHOP PLAYER'S

The Warwick shoes’ name is derived from one of Houston’s most famous and frequented hotels. A fitting name then for a footwear style which is both celebrated and coveted, year after. Simultaneously striking and sleek, the Warwick shoes boast an elegant single monk strap design which is elevated by sculpted arches and framed trimming. Crated from fine European calfskin, the Warwick shoes are the last word in fine footwear.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Lined premium calfskin leather upper, Single oak leather sole and regular heel, 360 degree Goodyear welted construction, 212 steps of craftsmanship, Manufactured on the welted 201 last, Recraftable shoe, Made in the USA

SHOP WARWICK
Steve Sudsbury

IN CONVERSATION WITH: 
STEVE SUDSBURY

 

We talk to Steve Sudsbury, 
Allen Edmonds’ Custom Product Manager, 
in his working environment to discover 
what goes into making each and every 
pair of the brand’s shoes.

 

 

Describe how each pair of Allen Edmonds shoes comes to life?

It’s truly an amazing process.  To make a great pair of shoes it all starts with the finest leathers.  212-steps later (including cutting, sewing, lasting, welting, burnishing and finishing) you have an amazing pair of shoes.  It’s virtually impossible to do justice to the process in words.  A factory tour is the best way to see shoes come to life.  The tour is enhanced by the aromatic smell of leather found throughout the facility.  It’s really a cool place to work.   

 

How do you ensure that every pair of shoes meets the Allen Edmonds level of quality/ what are the challenges that you face?                                                                                                    

To ensure the best quality is easy… after sourcing the best materials it then relies on the best people. I want my co-workers to be an extension of my beliefs; to strive to be the very best, to take pride in their work and understand that many men around the world value their skills.

 

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is teaching others how to be even better at what they do so the end result is really top notch.  Most of our craftspeople have been with the company for many years, but teaching younger cobblers the skills needed is rewarding.    

 

What’s the single most important step in the 212 step manufacturing process?

I think you may get a different answer from different people.  Everyone thinks their work is the most important.  I think this is a good thing!  I believe applying the insole and cork layer is most important from a customer comfort standpoint.  The burnishing is important too.  The customers see the shoes on the shelf and the burnish is what catches their eye.        

 

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging area to work on is the exotic leathers and the care involved.  You don’t want to blemish a $2500 pair of shoes!  When these shoes are finished they are incredible and that is very gratifying.

 

What qualities and skills are required from your job?

Physically, it helps to have good hand /eye coordination for many of the processes.  We don’t make widgets… our products touch many, many sets of hands (65 on average) each performing a different critical job on the shoes. I also like to work with people on my team who take pride in their work.  I started a few decades ago working some of the more straightforward jobs and worked my through every role.  Now it’s easy for me to train others and communicate with them.

 

Describe your personal career journey at Allen Edmonds.

My journey with Allen Edmonds started when I was hired to set up and manage their rubber bottom welt production line at their handsewn facility in Maine.  After Allen Edmonds transferred the welt program back to Wisconsin I relocated to Port Washington where I set up and managed their handsewn division and eventually my current role managing our custom products line.   (As an aside, people ask me all the time why I have a Maine accent living in Wisconsin.)

SHOP ALLEN EDMONDS