Newsflash: the world has changed dramatically. Millions of people worldwide work remotely, for starters. Office attire has been redefined—if not abandoned completely—or, in case of Allen Edmonds, reimagined. The classic men’s dress shoe brand has remade its iconic Park Avenue style (more than 40 years old and north of one million pairs sold to date) and Strand style for this fall to be more suitable for everyday causal wear.
“Today our consumers are moving from dress to lifestyle looks—searching for athletic-inspired and hybrid-casual styles—so it made great sense to take both silhouettes into a sneaker cup sole design to match our customers’ needs in this moment,” states Keith Duplain, senior vice president and general manager of Caleres’ heritage brands.
The new sneakers use the same high-quality leather upper as a standard Park Avenue and Strand designs. Additionally, they, like most Allen Edmonds styles, are recraftable. Customers can send them to the Allen Edmonds Port Washington, WI, factory to be refreshed from the bottom up. A new cup sole will be placed on the sneaker and the leather will be conditioned, keeping the patina earned during wear but refreshed. This recrafting decreases the impact on landfills and currently gives more than 70,000 Allen Edmonds shoes a second or third life each year.
So far so good. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. “These two new styles have quickly become our best-selling casual sneakers, routinely outselling their dress counterparts online in recent weeks and are now on back order,” says Duplain.
Allen Edmonds pivot to more casual styles is well on its way. Casual styles now represent just over 40 percent of the brand’s entire sales—up from when Caleres acquired the brand in late 2016. Going forward, the goal is to continue to innovate to find its own distinct casual identity while at the same time staying true to its brand voice.