Both AE and Alden are good options.Is cordovan worth it, and what is the real advantage? Is it durability, shine, status, or something else?
I will be purchasing either the Alden full strap slip on, or the Allen Edmonds Randolph. The shoes look almost identical and are both available in calf and cordovan. I'd like recomendations on either of these shoes, and the pros and cons (if any) on cordovan. Links to each shoe below.
I own AEs Randolph in suede and burgundy shell and I like both. I don't own the Alden full strap.
I have many pairs of AEs and Alden. I don't consider one brand better than the other. Both are of the highest quality.
Allen Edmonds does use a 360 welt that adds a little more sole edge at the heel. That doesn't matter to me. I never considered it a mark of a bad or inferior shoe.
Almost all the quality brands use that 360 Goodyear welt on several models of their shoes. Allen Edmonds uses it on all of their welted shoes.
I'm not sure what is meant that the Randolph doesn't look good after being worn. All shell comes from Horween and will crease.
I wouldn't trade my shell Randolphs for a pair of Alden shell full straps.
Nor would I trade a pair of Alden full straps for a pair of Randolphs.
Both are quality brands and both look good to me.
Myself I would just pick a pair to buy now and get the others when funds permit.
Might as well have both brands in both types of leather. Why limit yourself to one pair?
Here are some photos I took awhile back of my Randolphs.
It's a very good looking shoe whether you dress up or go casual with jeans. I don't consider this model clunky, bulky or clumsy compared to Alden. It's just a different shoe.
I originally took this picture to show the different stitching on the back of the Randolph in suede or shell cordovan.
But you can see how the Goodyear welt goes around the heel.
This photo exaggerates how far the heel sole edge sticks out than it actually is.
You'll never notice what the back of your shoes look like when you wear them anyway.
With these photos you can see how much the sole edge sticks out compared to Aldens.
In the first photo an Alden shell tassel is on the left, Randolph in the middle and AEs shell Cambridge on the right.
Depending on the model of Allen Edmonds and your shoe size can determine how much the edge is noticeable.
For me it doesn't matter. Allen Edmonds has been building their shoes that way since 1922.
Hopefully that helps.
Note: If you look at the stitching lines on the back of the shoes in the last two photos, they almost look like a foreign language.
I'll interpret, "Buy more shoes".