About the Author: Joe P. is a 30-something year-old homicide detective in an urban city on the east coast whose attire ranges from tactical to suits, and everything in between. For him, fashion is more than looking good. It needs to be functional as well, since he learned early on that an 8-hour day can easily turn into 16-20 hours, a lot of which is spent on foot in various environments. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, doing yard-work, and most of all, raising his two kids.
Do you really need another pair of boots? That’s the question my wife posed to me as I opened the box that was left on my front porch by the delivery driver. The obvious answer to that question was, “Of course!” But, I know better than that now, and I responded with, “Well it was a great deal, and my other boots are getting pretty worn out”. She knows better than that, but didn’t push the issue.
Boots. Box. Nothing fancy with Factory 2nds presentation.
As described in another recent shoe review post, AE recently released a “Weatherproof” Collection, which includes the subject of this review, the Alpine Cap-toe Boot. To best describe the Alpine, I would describe as somewhere between a dress-boot (think AE Dalton or the JCPenney Stafford Gunner) and a stylish work boot, ala AE Higgins Mill. They’re like a very dressed up version of a work-boot, or a very casual style of dress boot. Either way, they were in a category of footwear my wife clearly did not know I was in need of. And the fact that I was able to get these with a mega discount, thanks to AE having my size in a factory 2nds option, made them all the more hard to turn down.
Tough and work ready. Just dressed up enough.
- Brand: Allen Edmonds
- Model: Alpine Cap-toe
- Additional: Factory Seconds (note that unlike 1st quality, there’s a $25 restocking fee for factory 2nds)
- Size: 11D
- Construction: 360º Storm Welt weatherproof
- Last: 1757
- Sole: Vibram Ice Grip rubber sole
- Cost: $199 for 2nds. First quality are on sale for $325. Retail is $425.
- Country of Origin: USA
Upon arrival, I opened the Allen Edmonds branded box and there they were. Two boots. No fancy shoe bag. Just some paper. Minimal presentation. Not something I am used to with AE, but I guess that’s because they are “seconds”. Oh well, I really don’t use the bags on boots anyways.
Having some limited experience with AE’s Factory Seconds, I looked over both boots to try and figure out whether I made a terrible decision in purchasing them. 2nds are, in essence, “scratch and dent” markdowns. Something happened during the manufacturing process to cause a cosmetic defect, and that’s why they get the extra discount. But you just don’t know until they show up. As luck would have it, I could not find any glaring defects. As I inspected the shoes, I noticed the leather to be supple and quite striking. The sole is not too chunky, which I was worried about, and has a nice inlay of wood/grain in the heel.
Goodyear welted. Made in the USA.
For those used to the fine calf-skin that typically adorns AE shoes, this is not that. But, that was to be expected, as these shoes are “Weatherproof”. So, the leather is a little thicker and more substantial,. The leather felt nice between my fingers and the finish was a deep brown color that should take polish just fine.
AE’s new weatherproof leather is surprisingly nice. Thicker but still flexible.
Fit & Feel
I went with the size 11D, which is the standard for me with Allen Edmonds. For comparison purposes, I wear a size 12 in Nike; from my experience, AE and other USA-made footwear always seem to be a solid size lower than foreign manufactured sneakers. The size and fit is comfortable and true. I was kind of hoping there would be some room for thicker socks, but they may be a little too snug for that. There are 5 eyelets for the laces, and then 2 hooks, which make it easy to loosen and tighten the shoes.
Cap toes and a toe “height” that’s not boxy.
My intention on getting these shoes was to fill the void for winter-capable dress shoes that would be office appropriate. It was tough to tell from the photographs on the AE website how informal the shoes would be for the office setting. I don’t often wear suits in the winter time, but my hope was that I could wear these with a suit if the weather was awful, and I had to wear a suit that day. My general conclusion would be that these boots would look great with any type of dress pant, but one would probably stop there. The toe and the heel are just a little bulky compared to most dress shoes, and I would say a tad too aggressive to pair with a nice suit. Fortunately, in my field, I have some latitude with office appropriate attire, and it would at least give me an excuse to buy a flannel or tweed type suit. These would pair perfectly with a more wintry fabric.
Factory 2nds = small cosmetic defects. Wave like blemish on the toe here.
Factory Seconds Concern
As with any “factory seconds” from AE, one must always be willing to accept, at the very minimum, one blemish or defect. And with that, I noticed a couple of what I would characterize as very minor defects. The first noticeable blemish was with the coloring on one of the cap-toes. Right in the middle, on the top, there is a wave-like blemish. While it isn’t super noticeable, especially from far away, I definitely did see it. Nobody else probably will. Especially once I start hitting the pavement with them in the dead of winter. And that’s the fortunate thing with these boots being a little less formal, I don’t really think it’s a big deal at all. The second defect I found was with the leather upper on one side of the boot, up by the top. The leather had what appeared to be a little bit of a ripple. The positive of that, of course, would be that for one, it’s pretty minimal, and two, it’s not noticeable at all if the boots are worn with pants. As they probably should be.
Note: Based off of the recent review of the Weatherproof AE Daltons, it sounds like the coloring blemish might be run of the mill with all of the Weatherproof models?
More factory 2nds denotations = Wrinkly leather at the top of one of the heels. No big deal.
All in all, I am very happy with the purchase of these AE Factory Seconds dress boots. I am still trying to mix and match to see what they will pair well with, but I think for anyone who doesn’t work in a super-conservative suit-type atmosphere, you can pair these with most anything. The next test, though, is how “weatherproof” the shoes actually are.