Having read all of the previous Allen Edmonds reviews on Bespoke Unit I was very eager to get my hands on (or rather feet in) my first pair of AE shoes.
This was going to be my first pair of Allen Edmonds shoes so I thought it would only be appropriate to start with the iconic Park Avenue oxfords that the Allen Edmonds brand has become so well-known for.
The following review is a comprehensive look at my experience with the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue shoes including:
- History Of Park Avenue Shoe
- Park Avenue Shoe Review
- Unboxing & Presentation
- Shoe Specifications
- The Size & Fit
- Price & Value
History Of The Park Avenue Shoe
Allen Edmonds offers a wide variety of men’s shoes and yet the Park Avenue is undoubtedly the most iconic of them all. In fact, the Park Avenue has consistently been Allen Edmonds’ best-selling shoe for more than 30 years now!
Allen Edmonds even goes as far as to say that the Park Avenue is “the shoe that made Allen Edmonds the company that it is today.” So, what exactly is it that makes this oxford dress shoe so special?
A Highly Versatile Dress Shoe
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue is often considered the quintessential men’s dress shoe due to its versatility and timeless design. Because it is such a versatile shoe it can easily be incorporated into a wardrobe with business professional attire, as well as other dress codes that require formal and semi-formal attire.
In fact, Allen Edmonds’ Park Avenue should really be the first dress shoe that every man owns as it will provide exceptional value over the long run.
Much of the Park Avenue’s fame and success can also be attributed to the fact that it has been the footwear of choice for the inauguration of several U.S. Presidents in the past.
In fact, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are just some of the U.S. Presidents who donned Park Avenues during on inauguration day.
But the popularity of this classic dress shoe is not just limited to U.S. Presidents or even the field of politics for that matter.
Review Of Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxfords
- Made In: USA
- Style: Cap-toe Oxford (a.k.a. Balmoral)
- Color: Black (#5615)
- Construction: 360° Goodyear Welt
- Sole: Single Oak Leather
- Upper: Premium Calfskin Leather
- Inner: Full Leather Lining
- Last: Welted 65 Last
- Recraftable: Yes
Unboxing & Presentation
I had seen Paul Anthony and Charles-Philippe receive several pairs of Allen Edmonds shoes in the past so I knew what to expect with regard to the packaging and presentation. Still I was very excited to finally enjoy the experience of receiving and unboxing my own pair for the first time!
My shoes arrived in the traditional Allen Edmonds shoe box featuring their logo and famous slogan “An American Original” printed on the box top.
Inside the box I found the shoes which were neatly stored in individual shoe bags.
Overall Look & Feel
When it comes to men’s dress shoes it doesn’t get more classic than a pair of black Park Avenues. The shoes themselves seem to have a certain air of formality and professionalism that is noticeable at a first glance.
The first thing I noticed when holding the shoes was just how solid and sturdy they felt. I must admit they even felt a bit rigid on my feet for the first few days until I was able to properly break them in.
However, I’m happy to report that after a week or so of wearing the shoes they broke in quite nicely.
Over time they’ve slowly molded to fit the shape of my foot like a glove and have become some of most comfortable dress shoes that I’ve ever owned!
Full Leather Sole
These premium dress shoes also feature a single oak leather sole which contrasts very nicely with the black leather upper.
As with any leather-soled shoe, the bottom of the Park Avenues can seem a bit slippery when first wearing them, especially if you’ve never worn leather-soled shoes before. That being said, I found that a natural traction was created on the bottom of the shoes after just a few days of walking around in them.
Superior Construction & Materials
When it comes to shoe construction it’s hard to compete with the detail-oriented methods and craftsmanship seen from Allen Edmonds.
[The Park Avenues even held up in a Parisian snow storm!]
Every pair of Allen Edmonds shoes is handcrafted in the USA at the company’s factory located in Port Washington, Wisconsin.
The meticulous shoemaking process for a pair of Park Avenues consists of the meticulous 212 step process that Allen Edmonds is so well-known for.
Goodyear Welt Construction
The Park Avenue is handcrafted using a Goodyear welt construction method for extra durability.
With a Goodyear welt the upper of the shoe is sewn onto the sole of the shoe. This method is typically found in shoes of the highest quality, while shoes of lesser quality often use adhesives or other cheaper techniques.
The labor-intensive process of a Goodyear welt is considered the best when it comes to shoe construction methods and results in a durable shoe that can be resoled many times over.
The 65 Last
The Park Avenue also features Allen Edmonds’ famous “65 Last” which is their most popular shoe last.
This particular last is known for being relatively longer than the average shoe last which results in decidedly sleek and formal look.
Premium Calfskin Leather
The Park Avenue shoe also features an upper made from premium calfskin leather sourced from the well-known Horween Leather company in Chicago, IL.
The premium quality of the leather is evident when holding the shoes and I found the leather to be noticeably smoother than most of my other dress shoes. Furthermore, I’ve been wearing the shoes for a few months now and I must say I’m quite impressed with how the leather has formed to my feet over time.
Shoe Size & Fit
Another great aspect about Allen Edmonds shoes is the fact that they are available in several different widths.
Because these were my first pair of Allen Edmonds I did not have a great idea as to how they would fit, but I had heard that AE’s tend to fit true to size, if not a bit narrow.
Most of the dress shoes that I wear are size US 11.5 (D).
After reading several reviews online I learned that the length of the Park Avenue shoes generally run true-to-size, but that they can be a bit on the narrow side. As a result, I decided to get an 11.5 (E) for some extra width.
Price & Overall Value
The Park Avenue Cap-toe Oxfords retail at $425 USD and you can buy them directly on AllenEdmonds.com.
The price tag may seem quite expensive to the uninitiated (myself included) who may be used to spending $200 or less on a pair of men’s dress shoes. However, when considering the material, construction method and craftsmanship of the Park Avenue you’ll find it hard to get better value for money.
Why You Should Invest In Shoes
Buying a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes should not be thought of as just another purchase, but rather an investment.
I’ve bought relatively cheap dress shoes in the past thinking I was getting a good deal at the time, but was ultimately disappointed when I needed to replace them within two years. Ironically, my attempt at being frugal ended up costing me more in the long run!
On the other hand, proper shoe care and the occasional recraft could make these Allen Edmonds last several decades, if not a lifetime.
Allen Edmonds is one of the only large luxury shoemakers in America that still offers shoe recrafting services. This is one of the unique benefits of owning a pair of Allen Edmonds that is often overlooked by the average consumer.
For about $100 you can you can send your shoes to the Allen Edmonds factory in Wisconson for a recraft which can extend the life of your shoes for several decades.
As a result, most men opt to repair their Allen Edmonds as opposed to replacing them entirely. In fact, Paul Anthony recently had a pair of Allen Edmonds recrafted and when they came back it was as if he’d received a brand new pair of shoes.
You can read our detailed review of Allen Edmonds Recrafting to find out more.
I must admit I fell in love with these shoes the day they arrived on my doorstep. This is my first pair of Allen Edmonds, but I imagine it will be the first pair of many in a rapidly growing shoe collection.
There’s a reason that political leaders, corporate leaders and famous entertainers consistently choose Park Avenues as their footwear of choice. Furthermore, the fact that Allen Edmonds is one of the few remaining companies in the United States that still makes men’s dress shoes speaks directly to the brand’s dedication to quality and tradition.
You can learn more about Allen Edmonds by visiting some of our other resources and reviews below:
- Allen Edmonds Brand Guide
- Allen Edmonds Addison Penny Loafer Review
- Allen Edmonds Dalton Wingtip Dress Boots Review
- Allen Edmonds Strandmok Brogue Review
- Allen Edmonds Sullivan Street Boot Review
- Allen Edmonds Shoe Recrafting Review
"The Park Avenue is a classic dress shoe! If you're just getting into premium men's dress shoes this is the definitely shoe to start with."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★