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Allen Edmonds

January 11, 2010

Along with Alden, Allen Edmonds is the only other major domestic shoe manufacturer who actually still produces handmade shoes stateside.   Founded in Wisconsin in 1922 by Elbert W. Allen and Ralph Spiegel, Allen Edmonds has deep roots as one of America’s premier shoe manufacturers.  Much of their legacy was forged out of  World War II, where along with Red Wing, Allen Edmonds was the preferred provider of footwear for the Army and Navy, embedding their place in history and building life long relationships with their customers.

Today after 88 years,  they continue to manufacture there shoes in Wisconsin, with an additional factory in Maine, where all the hand stitched products are produced.  With many of the great American shoe manufacturers moving overseas, Allen Edmonds stayed true with their timeless traditions and beliefs.  Rather than compromise integrity and quality, they opted to keep their facilities in the United States and invest in both their employees as well as the equipment they use.  While each of these steps creates higher costs and a competitive disadvantage, Allen Edmonds’ superior quality and customer loyalty keep them alive and right here on home turf.

“1960s: As many other shoe manufacturers went out of business, the management team kept Allen Edmonds on track by staying true to the company’s core values and superior craftsmanship.”

Each shoe continues to combine the fundamental aspects that put Allen Edmonds on the map – the sewn welt method and cork filled sole.  Elbert Allen discovered the welt method when he left his native Tennessee for Texas to run a prison shoe making business, and found this 360 degree sewing technique made the shoes more durable and comfortable.  Not satisfied, Allen searched for a way of doing away with the metal shank commonly found in the heel of many shoes, and instead added a cork heel, originally called the Osteo-Path-Ik method.  Each of these methods are still used today, both during the initial manufacturing as well as during the Recrafting process.

This video shows the 200 step process each shoe goes through on its way to being a final product.

During the Recrafting process, some of the original manufacturing steps are re-performed, providing a complete overhaul of worn shoes, allowing them to last a lifetime.  This is a great video that captures the re-birth of a shoe.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2010 13:22

    A very thorough post. Thank you. A.E. used to make a double monkstrap, the Mora, that was one of the more handsome versions of the design, and a personal favorite.

  2. Derek permalink
    February 2, 2010 15:23

    I bought two pairs of the Strands in Dec. I picked up both the black ones and the walnut calf ones.

  3. Debbie Bannister permalink
    March 16, 2010 19:30

    Elbert Allen was my grandmother’s brother, and my mother often spoke of his kindness to his sister. I am so thankful that this Co. Is thriving and still produces excellent shoes. sincerly, Debra Allen Bannister

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