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I seriously considered both of these shoes when I assembled my black tie rig last winter. I rejected both -- and ultimately deferred the decision, making do with some black derbies :eek: I already owned. Fortunately I was not required to walk across a stage nor dance upon a table in my wildly inappropriate footwear.

For me, a formal shoe should be as simple as possible (without deviating from a historically correct style -- wholecuts would be wrong). Each of these shoes is needlessly busy. The AE has the strip of grosgrain (?) trim at the side seams. The Alden has the semicircular tab at the front of the throat -- a feature that bothers me far more than is reasonable, wherever it appears -- and the serrated tongue edge -- which is fine for brogues but seems wildly out of place on a plain oxford. A further strike against it is that I do not like the Plaza last's toe in plain leather. (I have seen wingtips and suede shoes on the Plaza that I liked.)

This is all very subjective but these are my thoughts. I find Brooks Brothers' English made patent oxford less offensive than either of these, yet not particularly exciting. Maybe pumps are the answer for me.

I've no doubt that these two are both decent shoes, and if you don't share my peculiar concerns, you might be very satisfied with either.
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