Yesterday & Tomorrow: Vintage Allen Edmonds Short Film

Slowly recovering here at Ivy Style HQ, thank you. And so here’s a space-age shortie by Allen Edmonds called “The Shoe Of Tomorrow,” from the late ’40s or early ’50s.

The future sure ain’t what it used to be. — CC

24 Comments on "Yesterday & Tomorrow: Vintage Allen Edmonds Short Film"

  1. Richard Meyer | February 7, 2018 at 7:28 pm |

    The late, great George Frazier was wont to say ‘ Want to know if a guy is well dressed? look down’

  2. Ive been wearing the wrong shoes at the beach all this time!

  3. Watching the beginning of the video, I couldn’t help but think of the Al and Kelly Bundy film ‘SHEOS’:

  4. How does a shoe made with a traditional Goodyear welt get to be “The Shoe of Tomorrow”? I must have missed something.

  5. Properly-cut trousers!

  6. Charlottesville | February 8, 2018 at 10:23 am |

    Most of my shoes are from Allen Edmonds. This makes me appreciate how much work went into making them. There is also a contemporary video of their refinishing operation: It looks like the basic methods have not changed that much. I am amazed at how fast they work and still maintain accuracy of stitching and sizing and quality. I can verify that they come back from re-crafting as good as new.

  7. The nose of a black car seen toward the end is that of a ’56 or ’57 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, dating the film to at least the late ’50s.

  8. Old School Tie | February 8, 2018 at 11:55 am |

    I wouldn’t want any formal shoe of mine to flex like that. My favourites are a thirty-year-old pair of Church’s, a model called Lanaster. They most definitely do not bend like that.

  9. Charlottesville | February 8, 2018 at 12:43 pm |

    Old School Tie — I used to wear Church’s as well. 30 years ago they were great, and I still have 2 pairs from roughly that era. Like Brooks, they were sold to a fashion company (Prada, I think) and the prices now are extravagant, the styling of many models laughable, and the quality, at least in my opinion, has gone downhill. I am quite happy now with Allen Edmonds and Alden. Flexibility does not bother me, and I imagine my loafers might be tortured into something like those twists if one were so inclined, but I am pretty sure that my A-E double-soled longwings will not do the gymnastics illustrated in the film.

  10. @Charlottesville

    Neither my Alden longwings, balmorals, cap toes nor loafers could do the gymnastics in the film. Only my Sperrys could.


  11. I have ten pair of AEs, really like them, but their “no shank, forms to foot” approach does NOT apply when you have an instep as high as mine. Luckily, I also have an ancient (40 yr. old) pair of Dr. Scholl leather and cork arch supports that solves the problem.


    When I was at a Church’s store in London, I mentioned the Prada ownership. The salesperson, a young woman, sort of winced and took some time to explain that, no, THIS was a Northampton-made shoe, still done the same way. It was the Jermyn St. shop, and I got the impression she wasn’t all that fond of the Prada connection.

  12. Each pair was x-rayed?! Amazing. Some of the Northampton shoemakers have “how we make our shoes” videos and it’s surprising how little has changed where quality welted shoes are concerned. I can see why they are expensive.

  13. Michael Brady | February 8, 2018 at 10:22 pm |

    My mid-2000’s AE’s (four or five pair, still in excellent condition, don’t flex like that. Old time shoe dogs (retail salesmen) would sometimes do that to to shoes during fittings to make them easier to walk around in on the store carpeting. Occasionally they would overdue it and break the counter or shank, or crease the shoe across fore part of a cap-toe shoe, ruining the appearance. AE had a “seconds” store at the factory full of this stuff that had been returned.

    Shoe stores when I was a kid sometimes had those x-ray machines to stand in and see your feet inside the shoes!

  14. I don’t need any shoes of the future, where’s the flying car they promised?

  15. I love the Allen Edmonds shoes,and i love their hal sizes ( i fall exactly in a 42-1/2).
    American shoes back then was the best in the ready to wear field.
    And today i think that the Allend Edmonds shoe is still at the top.
    Unfortunately are hard to find in Italy.

  16. Michael Brady | February 9, 2018 at 10:12 am |

    There has been much wringing of hands over the acquisition of Allen Edmonds by another company. Some say that the leathers being used currently aren’t as good as in prior years. I would be interested in comments from those of you who have recent experience with their current production. I did notice that the local retailer of their line has significantly reduced their selection to a handful of classic styles. This may be reflective of the current state of men’s apparel sales, but a sales person commented that stock availability since the AE acquisition has been slow, so they have gone narrow and deep in inventory selection.

  17. Charlottesville | February 9, 2018 at 3:24 pm |

    Michael — I did not know that AE had been acquired by another company. Most of the ones I have are probably 5 to 10 years old, a few may be more like 15 years old or so. My only complaint is that the MacNeil 2.0 longwings, of which I own a single pair, do not have the piping around the top edge. It is a small thing, and not noticeable at any distance above a few feet, but to me it makes the shoe look unfinished. I believe that they have returned to the classic version of the MacNeil, and discontinued the 2.0 version (judging from their website). The soles are a bit different on the newer ones as well, but I think the shell cordovan version still has Rendenbach soles. No complaints about quality or longevity on any of them, including black captoe balmorals, various MacNeil gunboats and several pairs of penny loafers.

  18. Michael Brady | February 9, 2018 at 6:47 pm |

    From Wikipedia:
    In 2013, the company announced that it would be acquired by private equity firm Brentwood Associates. In December 2016 Caleres acquired Allen Edmonds from Brentwood Associates for $255 million. The CEO is former investment banker Paul Grangaard.

    As shared above, there was much concern that Caleres would gut the company and simply use the brand identity as another segment of their shoe-marketing arsenal, perhaps even moving production off-shore. Fortunately that has not yet happened. Stock up, my friends!

  19. You know how Alden will adapt a model for a particular retailer? Massdrop has been offering a suede chukka boot made by AE but with better materials and on a much nicer last (than either Alden or the standard AE, IMO anyway), all for a much lower price. They are quite nice. Perhaps AE will build on this business model, which seems to have worked for Alden.

  20. And no, I didn’t know that shoe stores were once equipped with x-ray machines. Hope sales people didn’t suffer any ill effects of that practice.

  21. Henry Contestwinner | March 1, 2018 at 3:45 pm |

    I love the “hopeful music of the future” soundtrack!

  22. My newly acquired AE shoes are just as great as the AE shoes I purchased from 35 years ago. Arguably, the quality of AE shoes today is better. Half of the shoes that I own now are AE, the other half are from Alden, Adidas, Sperry, Ferragamo, LL Bean (boots) etc. I recently gave away four pairs of Ferragamo’s because they look out of style. Whereas my AEs, for the most part, are always look great.

  23. I absolutely love this video.

    “The shoe of tomorrow today” is absolutely correct.

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