Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Review: Black Cap-Toe Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison


Hi! I’m Kirby Allison, and we love to help
the well-dressed acquire and care for their wardrobes. In today’s video we’re
going to review the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Black Cap Toe Oxford in calf skin.
Recognizing us as one of the leading authorities on luxury men’s dress shoes
worldwide Allen Edmonds has graciously agreed to give us access to their entire
collection of shoes to review for you on this YouTube channel. The reason our
reviews are special and different than everyone else’s is because of this
access to Allen Edmonds complete catalog which will allow us to film the most
extensive and in-depth collection of dress shoe reviews available anywhere. We
are not paid for these reviews and all shoes the return of the manufacturer
after we’re done with them. If you have any questions or thoughts please ask
them in the comment section below. I try to get back to all questions personally.
Allen Edmonds is one of the few remaining great American shoe maker
still making their premium leather dress shoes here in the United States of
America. Allen Edmonds makes an excellent
Goodyear welted leather dress shoe that if properly polished and resold can last
a lifetime. For many of our viewers Allen Edmonds is the first experience with the
high quality Goodyear welted leather dress shoe. In short an investment in
lasting quality that for many has fostered a lifetime appreciation of fine
Footwear. It’s for this reason that we are launching our shoe reviews series
with the particular focus on Allen Edmonds . A black cap toe Oxford is the
most iconic and versatile dress shoe. Tried and trued this shoe has been a
staple of any well-dressed gentleman’s wardrobe for over a century. For anyone
looking to make their first investment in a high-quality Goodyear welted
leather dress shoe there is no better place to start than Allen Edmonds Park
Avenue. This simple black cap toe is a classic, a staple that belongs in almost
every closet and there’s no surprise that Park Avenue is easily Allen Edmonds
number one selling dress shoe. For $425 it’s a pretty good value. I always
say that if someone is looking to invest in a high-quality leather dress shoe
they really need to be at Allen Edmonds or better.
Allen Edmonds also routinely runs sales where this shoe can be purchased for
less than $300. Immediately you can see the classic proportions of the Allen
Edmonds Park Avenues. A plain cap toe Oxford the Park Avenue is the most
formal style of business rescue one can purchase. Incredibly versatile, they can
be worn during the day or evening casually or formally. The shoe features a
soft round toe and classic proportions. The Allen Edmonds black cap toe Oxford
is a very conservative shoe even within the spectrum of black cap toe Oxfords. The
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue is a beautiful elegant and traditional design. It
features a three-piece pattern and construction toe cap vamp and back
quarters with elegant single double and triple stitching which gives the shoe
additional visual detail. The shoe also features a traditional round toe shape
for which Allen Edmonds is famous. The Park Avenue is further differentiated as
one of only a couple of styles from Allen Edmonds with six eyelets which is
the design feature for which they are particularly well known and also along
gates the silhouette of the shoe. The cap toe on the Park Avenue also has a
forward balance and a slight puff which has several benefits. First it reduces
the risk of the vamp flexing into the cap toe due to any type of sizing or fit
issues. This eliminates the risk of any mirror shine that being applied to the
cap toe from cracking or unsightly creases forming across the toe cap
because the shoe is flexing at the wrong point but second it also further along
gates the silhouette of the vamp which adds a certain degree of elegance to this
shoe. The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue and calf scan is made from a full grain open
pore calf skin. This is an important prerequisite for any well-made leather
dress shoe because it means that the leather is actually genuine leather and
not some cheap corrected grain stuff found on less expensive shoes. The
genuine leather used in the Park Avenues is one of the reasons they cost more
than many of the less expensive but similar dress shoes out there. The open
pore structure is what allows the leather to be polished and to develop a
beautiful patina over the years. Corrected grain leather which does not
have an open pore structure cannot really be shined because the leather
does not absorb polishes. They’re prone to cracking and inevitably
look worse over time as opposed to better because they can’t be maintained
through proper polishing. Beautiful full-grain leather is one of the reasons
that we love shining shoes here at Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project. Quality
Footwear like the Park Avenue from Allen Edmonds literally gets better and more
unique over time as the leather absorbs the nutrients every single time you
polish the shoes. These shoes here that I’m holding are fresh out of the box and
haven’t been polished. I absolutely recommend polishing new shoes
immediately. We have a video dedicated to this topic because the waxes help give
dimension in life to the leather. They also help protect the leather against
scuffing stains and water damage. You should always polish a new pair of
shoes. The Allen Edmonds features a 100% genuine leather outsole. This is
important because in my opinion a leather dress shoe is just more elegant
with the leather outsole. Rubber soles don’t have a place in the office and in
my opinion diminished the elegance of a quality dress shoe. I understand that
there are good exceptions for those who spend a lot of time walking in the rain
or the snow but as a general rule of thumb i strictly prefer my dress shoes
with leather outsoles. Now that said Allen Edmonds does allow customers on
the web site to customize their shoes with day/night rubber outsoles.
Currently Allen Edmonds offers four options at a premium of 40 dollars. If
you’re someone that spends a lot of time in the rain or the snow these are a
great option to help protect your shoes and despite being rubber they can still
be easily resold because of the 360 degree goodyear welt construction. The
Park Avenue has a full leather insole with cork foot bedding that naturally
molds to your foot over time and makes the shoe more comfortable. The shoe comes
standard with the full rubber top lift which adds some additional cushion and
grip but any cobbler including our Kirby Allison certified shoe restoration
program can easily replace the rubber heel with a more elegant combination top
lift. The heel bases can also be replaced with the JR genuine leather heel
base which is a nice touch that elevates the finish of the shoe
but out of the box these shoes still look great. Allen Edmonds is best known
for their 360 degree Goodyear welted construction which allows the leather
dress shoe to be easily result without compromising the integrity of the shoe.
The weld is a thin strip of leather that is sewn to the insole. The outsole is
then stitched to the welt. This allows the outsole to be easily pulled off and
replaced without damaging the construction of the shoe.
Goodyear welting also allows a much thicker longer-lasting leather outsole
to be used that is more flexible. The shoes are constructed with the wooden
shank which gives great support yet won’t get you stopped by airport metal
detectors. Now some shoe manufacturers maintain that still shanks offer more
support but I’d trade it any day to avoid the hassle of having to remove my
shoes every time I go through airport security. The gap between the full
leather insole and the leather outsole on all Allen Edmonds is filled with
their trademark hot cork filling and not rubber or foam. The hot cork simply means
that the cork is heated before it is applied which allows it to be spread
more easily and evenly. However, once it dries cork is cork which adds additional
comfort and helps the shoe mold to the foot over time. The Allen Edmonds Park
Avenue and calf skin comes in six finishes. For a full review of all of
these finishes take a look at our video review of the entire Allen Edmonds Park
Avenue collection. Another great feature of Allen Edmonds aside from the quality
of their shoes is their incredible range of available sizes. All of Allen Edmonds
shoes can be purchased from sizes 6 to 16 and in 9 different widths. Allen
Edmonds generally fit true to size and because of how ubiquitous are
often the benchmark for sizing. If you have any questions on sizing Allen
Edmonds has an extensive network of stores where one can try them on, but
also of course they can also be purchased online with the very customer
friendly 90 day return policy. Because the Park Avenues are made from a full
grain open pour leather we recommend polishing the leather with
a higher quality shoe polish such as our polish we have on Kirby Allison’s Hanger
Project. It is important that the leather is fed
frequently with polishes that do not contain silicones and ordered the
condition and nourish the leather and to prevent any cracking from occurring. The
problem with less expensive polishes that contains silicones is that they can
clog this open pore structure causing the leather to suffocate and crack and
because of the quality of the construction we recommend resoling the
shoes as soon as the leather out soles lose their firmness. Do not wait until
you have visible holes in the outsole or worn through the sole and into the welt
because you can permanently damage the shoe and prevent it from being able to
be resoled. The benefit of these shoes and a characteristic of quality is
that they can be resold allowing these shoes to real decades of great use. Here
at Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project we often hear from customers that have been
tenderly caring for their pair of Allen Edmonds for 15-20 years. It goes to show
that a high-quality leather dress shoe such as these can last almost forever if
cared for properly. The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue and catskin is a truly
iconic american-made shoe that is constructed to high standards. These
shoes feature a beautiful full-grain open pour leather that gets better over
time and the 360-degree Goodyear welted allows these shoes to be easily resold. With proper care and maintenance an investment in a pair of Allen Edmonds
black cap toe Oxford can easily yield decades of great use.
This is an iconic shoe and if someone was to have just one pair of leather
dress shoes in their classic a black cap toe Oxford would be the pair that I
would recommend. The Allen Edmonds are truly well made and our great shoes and
shoes that I can recommend. If you have any questions about anything I discussed
in this video please feel free to ask them in the comment section below and if
you own a pair of Allen Edmonds please post a photograph of them on instagram
and hashtag us with #Kirbyallison and #Hangerproject. We’d
love to see your shoes. if you enjoyed this video give us a
thumbs up and please subscribe to our channel and turn on your notifications
by clicking the bell to the right of the subscribe button so that you can learn
whenever we release new videos. If you have any questions or comments about
anything we discussed on this video please ask them in the comment section
below and of course please visit hangerproject.com where we have the largest
most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories
in the world as well as many other incredible products for the well-dressed
and while you are there subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of
new product launches promotions as well as a weekly digest of all the videos we
publish here on our YouTube channel. I’m Kirby Allison and we love to help the
well-dressed acquire and care for their wardrobes. Thanks for joining me!

65 Comments

  • Since I wear 13A, the AE Park Avenue is one of few the shoes that I can get to fit correctly. I'm in my shoes and on my feet for 12-16 hours per day. Lesser quality shoes just don't hold up.

  • Do you personally test the shoes for a few days or weeks to see how comfortable they are?

  • Fair warning right now AE is having some serious quality control issues so it may take several attempts to get shoes which don't have scratches, finish issues, or stitching issues. I'm now getting my 4th pair mailed to me.

  • Its crazy how one commenter asked Kirby if he liked Allen Edmonds a year or so ago and he said he wasnt "fond" of them, but now hes giving them glowing reviews

  • I enjoy the channel but let’s be honest and forthcoming that this is not a true review. This is more in-line with that of an advertisement. AE has been experiencing some QC issues lately and I would have liked to hear that in this “review”. I still enjoy and own several pairs of AE footwear just have had to be a little more mindful as of late.

  • I much prefer Alden

  • It's nice to see demonstration models of what the shoes should look like in terms of quality fit and finish how ever as many people have indicated this is not indicative of their actual product. I placed an order as a first time buyer for two pairs approximately six months ago and only after receiving a third pair of one and fourth of the other did I find them suitable without significant imperfections. Sufficed to say that I will not purchase their brand again. We can see that unfortunately you have just become a shill for AE and have some financial incentive to pimp their products. Taking consideration into all of that your "Review's" can not be taken as valid or without any bias.

  • When you say genuine leather you mean real leather

  • After experimenting with quite a few cap-toe oxfords, I would suggest that a man looks to the Consul by Church’s. I promise you won’t regret it. Just make sure you get the fitting right.

  • Kirby, thank you so much for all your hard work on this channel; I credit much of my shoe shining prowess to your detailed tutorial videos. Question for you: does Angelus shoe polish contain silicones? I am in the process of converting fully over to Saphir over time, but I have a fair amount of Angelus left that I'd like to use up if it won't harm my shoes.

  • Are you being compensated by AE to make this review?

  • I'm fortunate to have a store 20 minutes away so I've not been inconvenienced by the online QC issues so many mention. For those of us that need a non standard size/width there is not a better choice out there without going bespoke.

  • Kirby, COME ON! I have been a fan of your channel and your high quality videos and content for years, but AE is too cheap to be on your channel! You know it, I know it and everybody knows it. From bespoke G&G, George Cleverly, EG… to AE?! Seriously?! Just look at that ugly wide 360 stitching. This is the first time ever I clicked the dislike button for a video of yours. Sorry

  • Kirby are you sure that you are not paid or compensated for AE shoe reviews? Because I find that most of your shoe reviews are of AE products.

    I really like the brand, however as of late, QC has been slacking. There are a few minor issues on every pair, but I can live with that. Although it could've been better.

    In the future, I also would like to have a black PA shoe. Nice review, keep it up.

  • I love Allen Edmonds I have a pair and they are great same pair for over 35 years and still hold a great shine and well built . and they have size for small feet ..

  • Not everybody can afford bespoke shoes. Allen Edmunds' shoebank features factory seconds. This is where I buy my dress shoes.

  • the main qc issues i saw first hand was with the Madison Park in walnut. There were several lines that appeared like there was stitching directly underneath the top layer of leather, the dye was not applied evenly and there was clear lines of where the dye was not applied up to the stitching. Minor issues but drove me crazy and I returned them.

  • I’m sure the shoe is of reasonable quality but they don’t look particularly elegant!

  • Allen Edmonds does deserve the recommendation as a first pair of shoes. Kirby rightfully speaks more highly of the shoes he reviewed in the last couple videos, but a $600 shoe is often meant for enthusiasts. These shoes cost $200 less, but still have it where it counts. They have leather, cork, and a full welt. AEs still deserve a positive review- anybody looking for more in their shoes is going to be watching Kirby's other reviews that point out nuances that a work pair of shoes doesn't need. As for QC, I bought a new pair and a nearly new pair a couple years ago and they're still my favorite. Anything really serious is covered by the 90 day return.

  • Allen Edmonds are my first true love 😜

  • 6 eye laced shoes are too complicated for me 🤣🤣

  • Cobbler Union, Paul Evans, Ace Marks? Any other brand that offer an alternative to AE at a similar price point?

  • I hope that they continue to make all their shoes in the USA. I unfortunately picked up to examine a pair of Johnston and Murphy at my local store only to find that many were made overseas (China I think). So disappointing.

  • The allen edmonds Hopkinson is much more comfortable

  • Awesome to hear you got your hands on the whole collection! Looking forward to the reviews!

  • I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the comment about these shoes having a wooden shank a 7:07 is not correct. AE shoes don’t use shanks as far as I know.

  • Allen Edmonds continues to get worse & worse every year. I’d buy a pair of Barker, Loakes, or Meermin at this point over Allen Edmonds sans a few models.

  • Many presidents wore this shoe

  • I have 4 pairs never an issue…

  • Hey Kirby, great content. I have plans to purchase my first pair of Allen Edmunds very soon. I wanted to ask, if I'm looking for a 'work-horse' shoe, should I look into good year welted over blake stitched for better durability? Thanks.

  • I love my Allen Edmonds shoes, and will probably buy more but after seeing in. HangerProject resoration project their heels are made out of cardboard, I was disappointed. When I use Kirby’s refurb on one of my pairs of AE I wilm switch to JR. i would have appreciated a balanced review (Kirby do not overly shy away from saying anything that omg might offens anyone), and also learn what is the next level up? Alden? i cannot justify $2,000 per pair but which cap toes are better quality? I still enjoy the channel immensely, just think it is losing a lot of bakue and appeal to only praise AR just because they lend you a set for review.

  • Kirby if you are not paid for the shoe review, why waste your time and resources with this brand? I would hope you are getting paid for something in addition to what YouTube pays you.

  • What does bench welt mean?

  • I appreciate that Kirby is not such a snob that he would look down on AE's. I have a few pair myself and they are good. I work with what I got as I'm sure many who watch this channel do. Realistically, not many people can or would spend $5,000 on custom made shoes. Sure, it would be great but $5,000 goes a long, long way towards college savings for a child or paying for extra curricular activities. Unless you are very wealthy, spending that kind of money on shoes is irresponsible, even if they are hand crafted by an artisan who learned his craft from his grandfather on a small farm in a remote village.

  • Why is everyone giving Kirby a hard time for the idea that he could be compensated? He said he is not, which makes sense, because in AE's eyes the Hanger Project is still a small company without significant market power. But it would be fair that HP get compensated for it, given the time put into making these videos and the marketing he is giving their shoes. Also, so what if AE is not his favorite shoe brand? It is not a contradiction to recommend a shoe as a solid product while preferring something else for oneself. Best personal favorite and most recommended should not be the same, as people have their own quirks and preferences that wouldn't apply to everyone. Simmer down, people.

  • Thanks Kirby. Solid Review. I have several AEs that I am very happy with and the content you have developed has really helped me find the shoes I need and want.

  • I will be getting a pair! Tremendous value.

  • Are you wearing a brown suit?

  • Good job Kirby! I will end up with one of Allen Edmonds come spring time!

  • Allen Edmonds are for the poor, ignorant peasant who doesn’t know true shoemakers like Edward Green, George Cleverley, John Lobb, and Gaziano & Girling. All under this level of quality is akin to wearing a rubbish cannister. Please review some of the aforementioned shoes, which are truly more in line with what a real gentleman would find himself wearing.

  • Hey Kirby, Please update the stock for alfred finishes for mens hangers and trousers!!

  • Living outside of the US, I never understand why people would buy a pair of Allen Edmonds. With similar prices, you can have other brands, such as Carmina, Cheaney or Alfred Sargent, which offer better craftsmanship (say, a thinner welt and a better balance), more elegant last (i.e., less chunky) and better QC.

  • Hallo there,
    I would like to ask if there are differences, apart the different last, between the “park avenues” and the “exchange place”. I mean differences in the construction of the soles, on the leather quality etc.
    Thanks.

  • Don’t understand why all the hate for AE. My very first ‘quality shoe’ was AE bought two years ago and it is still a significant upgrade from *cough*Aldo/Cole Hann*cough*. AE was considerably expensive for someone that was not used to spending more than $200 on a pair of work shoes. I remember admiring the cutting, color, stitching of the AE (don’t laugh) and was so happy to got it on sales. Of course, after the AE, I learned a lot more about shoes and was happy to acquire my very first Cleverley recently 🙂 And yes, I fully agree with Kirby that AE is a good start that kicks off my interest in quality shoes.

  • Would like to see a review of the ae leeds

  • I thank you for your opinion and review. I own one pair of AE, looking for my next. This is as good of a shoe that I can afford.

  • Kirby, what other shoe brand you would recommend other than AE within the same price range?

  • Should we look at brands that show a drop in quality over time? And are the products that are on sales of lower quality?

  • Damn, I love my AE shoes but this is one long advertisement and not a review.

  • There are people who can't easily find well-fitted Oxford dress shoes because of the large gap between laces. They should make higher instep ones.

  • Another great video, thanks! I’ve worn Allen Edmonds for years and love them. I can easily see the difference between a $500 pair of Allen Edmonds and much cheaper shoes. What really is the difference from say a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues and paying $1,000, $2,000 or even going with a bespoke pair of shoes? Is the difference that noticeable? Thanks, and really enjoy your channel.

  • Kirby, I think the amount of hate in this comments section is undeserved. Nice video.

  • Kirby – I’d like to hear your thoughts on Wolf and Shepherd. They bill themselves as one of the most comfortable dress shoes. They’re also similarly priced to AE.

  • Can i ask why Cheaney City collection which costs 233£ arent better ?

  • They're nice, they look like my steel toe work shoes (which are mirror shined of course).

  • The cut a ways to shots from the side (not looking at the camera) is disconcerting and not good TV. Shift your gaze or just shoot head on. You will have a better video.

  • Great channel and great content. Really appreciate your perspective. Are the Alden 9062's $157 better? Thanks again for the content.

  • AE has long been known for making some of the best valued dress shoes on the market and I've been a customer for decades. Unfortunately, they now appear to suffer from some serious quality control problems. I recently bought a pair of 5th Avenues, at full price, that are so flawed they probably don't even meet the standard for factory 2nds. I would still buy AE shoes, but not by mail. I would want to inspect the shoes before purchasing.

  • Honestly having a hard time with these. I typically Brannock at 13D and I know the recommendation is to go a 0.5 size down. I was given a pair of 12D's and these are very snug in the toe box (bordering uncomfortable and the 13D felt too big). The salesman assured me this was the correct size and they would stretch, but honestly I'm not sure. I've worn them around my living room a few times, but am very careful as I think I may have to return them. Any thoughts?

  • Missing the Park Avenue,my next purchase for my shoe collection.

  • I'm si new at this.. I can't see the difference between the Park Ave and the Bond St

  • With access to all of Allen Edmonds' shoe catalogue, I would love to know the difference between the Park Avenue (65 Last), the Hopkinson (201 last), and I just saw they had another cap-toe oxford on sale right now called the Exchange Place (1943 last). The Park Avenue and the Hopkinson both have 6 eyelets, and look very similar. Hopkinson is even more expensive than the Park avenue right now on their site ($530 vs $395). AND….The Exchange Place, which is a cap-toe with 5 eyelets is on sale now for only $147.00! That's an amazing price, and the last is the same as the Cornwallis, which I own, and I believe to be one of Allen Edmonds most beautiful shoes.

  • The unbelievably awesome tie your wearing overshadowed the shoe's your reviewing. I have the park Avenue's and love them. Thanks for another great vid!

  • Greetings Kirby! I just purchased my first pair of AE Park Ave, and I must say, I believe this is the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship. I chose the "coffee" color because I think I'll get more use out of the brown as it's more versatile and can be dressed down or up depending on the occasion. I definitely want to get a black pair next. I was wondering what do you think of the Carlyle (plain toe) vs the Park (cap toe)? I tried on the Carlyles in the store recently and I really like the sleek look. I'm thinking black Carlyles for more formal occasions and brown Parks for all around dress shoe. What are your thoughts?

  • Kirby, your passion for shoes in contagious. I really enjoy your channel. I have a video request for you. Can you please do a video comparing Allen edmonds-park avenue and cobbler union's Richard. Both of them are classic cap toed black shoes and are of same price. But it's hard for a novice like me to spot the differences. I would greatly appreciate if you did a video on it. Thnaks! – Silpi

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