The Splurge: Allen Edmonds Neumok – $250.00
Allen Edmonds has been a standard setter for classic American made shoes since the Harding Administration. Started and still based in Wisconsin, they exist in a part of the country that doesn’t change just for the sake of change. Yes the upper Midwest can innovate, but if something is working well, people there won’t blow it up just to play with a shiny new toy. It takes guts to try something new, and it’s especially hard when you’re like Allen Edmonds, who’s been so successful filling their niche for such a long time. That makes the didn’t-see-this-one-coming Allen Edmonds Neumok so overflowing with chutzpah, that it’s hard not to strut a bit after putting them on.
The Neumok is an obvious departure from traditional, boardroom ready Allen Edmonds oxfords, but they’re different with purpose. They’ve tweaked some details to acknowledge the brighter colors and more showy style of younger shoe aficionados, but the designers stayed on course just enough to prevent these from getting clownish.
The Neumok is one of the sleekest Allen Edmonds out there. It’s already built on the slim 5-65 last, but the taper of the toe is noticeably trim for AE. If they were to come out with a standard dress shoe sporting this toe shape, say with just a medallion and little else, there might be riots akin to the sneaker-heads fighting over the latest Jordans.
The materials and construction are what you’d expect from Allen Edmonds. Just because they appear to be going after a younger demo here, that doesn’t mean shortcuts were taken. The suede is especially nice. It’s soft, thick, and strangely flexible. “Smushy” even. The leather options are also more flexible than you’d expect. AllenEdmonds.com notes that “each is extremely malleable.” Leather options come in red, blue, brown, and the greenish olive shown here. Also available in a dark and light suede. Each pair of shoes comes with a set of bright and colorful laces, as well as a second, more subtle, standard looking earth-tone set .
50-years-back your Grandpa’s favorite shoes were from Allen Edmonds (and maybe they still are today) but the Neumok is proof that Allen Edmonds isn’t afraid to take a well thought out risk. They’re also proof that Allen Edmonds will not go quietly into the night when it comes to pursuing younger customers, even those with more aggressive fashion forward preferences.
Win it: Yeah, so, they’re pretty friggin’ impressive. To enter to win a pair of the Neumoks in your size and your choice of color, send your first and last name in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Neumok. One entry per person. Deadline is 11:59pm E.T. on 3/7/12.
UPDATE: Congrats to Daniel K. who won the drawing for the Neumoks. Thanks again to Allen Edmonds!