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Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Is the Only Dress Shoe You Need

This content was produced in partnership with Allen Edmonds.

Allen Edmonds Park Ave cap toe oxford in black.

You need a great shoe, but where do you start? Where do you go when you need versatile styles along with high-quality construction? Casual or formal, the answer is the same: Allen Edmonds. It has established itself as an icon in the world of men’s footwear, and while many others have come and gone, Allen Edmonds remains one of the few great American shoemakers for 100 years running. But let’s back up a little. Why Allen Edmonds?

The brand is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. 100 birthdays, wow! That’s a long time, a lot of shoes, and lots of happy feet! It’s a milestone that would make anyone proud. Allen Edmonds has remained relevant all this time by offering an extensive line of shoes and stylish wear for just about any occasion. It has earned a place in the hall of the greats, with the likes of Boeing, L.L. Bean, Ray-Ban and other storied names. The real question is how has it maintained its prominence for so long?

It’s because of the innovative and intelligent designs. The Park Avenue cap-toe oxford — one of our perennial favorites — is arguably the only dress shoe most men will ever need. It beautifully embodies Allen Edmond’s pedigree and is the perfect example of why we love this century-old American shoemaker. You see, dress shoes rarely cross over into casual territory, but the Park Avenue offers the best of both worlds: You can dress it up or down. It boasts unbridled beauty and class, a comfortable fit, and a design that matches everything from denim to a tux. In short, it’s a true closet hero. The shoe’s versatility alone makes the Park Avenue worth owning, but there’s so much more to it, and the brand, that we had to take a moment to share our thoughts. Allen Edmonds makes a fabulous shoe, and that’s that.

Denim, Button-Down, or Tux: It Just Works

Allen Edmonds models with shoes.

The Park Avenue oxford was introduced in 1982, so it’s celebrating its 40th birthday this year, coinciding with the centenary year of Allen Edmonds’ founding. Both are impressive milestones for any business, let alone such a renowned trendsetter. What’s even more impressive is how well these shoes work with any outfit and any style.

The classic oxford design of the Park Avenue is apparent at a glance. Unlike more casual bluchers or derby shoes (which are often incorrectly referred to as oxfords in the U.S.) that feature open lacing systems, the Park Avenue is a true closed-laced oxford. That means that the lace tabs are stitched underneath the vamp — the upper part of the shoe — for a sleek, clean, and timeless look. You can dress it up or down; the Park Avenue Oxford will look just as good with a properly tailored suit as it does with dark, slim-fit denim and a button-down shirt. That’s what makes it particularly unique when compared to a host of other dress-shoe options. You can wear them with any outfit, any style, and look fantastic without the shoe seeming out of character.

The cap-toe detail adds flair to the front of the vamp without being as casual a wingtip brogue, or as basic as a plain-toe style. The Park Avenue oxford is also built on Allen Edmond’s most popular 65 footwear last, giving it a sleek shape that follows the natural lines of the foot without being either too chunky or too narrow and fashion-forward. The essence of men’s style is timelessness rather than trend-following. The Allen Edmonds Park Avenue is a shoe your grandpa could have worn, it’s a shoe you can wear, and it’s a shoe that men will likely still be wearing 50 years from now. Seriously, the design is that ageless.

Solid Construction and Unmatched Reliability

Allen Edmonds model on bench wearing shoes.

Much more goes into a dress shoe than simple styling and aesthetics. Even the most stylish shoe in the world will age like milk if it’s made of sub-par leather and isn’t constructed properly. The Park Avenue oxford is handcrafted at the Allen Edmonds factory in Port Washington, Wisconsin, using full-grain, calfskin leather imported from Europe. Using best-quality, full-grain leather (rather than something like top- or corrected-grain leather) is important as it absorbs polish properly so you can give it a true dress shoe shine. Full-grain calfskin will also conform to your foot more comfortably and stay more flexible moving with your step. It’s also less likely to develop unsightly surface cracking as you wear it. The interior of the shoe is lined with leather for additional padding and comfort, with a CustomCork™ insole that’s designed to mold to the unique shape of your foot for support.

The leather sole of the Park Avenue oxford is attached to the vamp using a 360-degree Goodyear welt, which is the proper construction method for dress shoes and leather footwear in general. With a Goodyear welt (Allen Edmonds refers to it as a “bench welt”), a strip of leather — known as the “welt” — is stitched to the edge of the sole. The vamp is then stitched to the welt. This creates a secure and flexible bond between the sole and the upper part of the shoe, providing better movement and much more durability than cheaper construction methods. As you can imagine, this involves a bit more time and handiwork than simply cementing the sole of the shoe to the upper as is done with most inexpensive footwear. The Goodyear welt construction also allows you to have the Park Avenue oxford re-soled by Allen Edmonds recrafting experts, meaning that your pair can last you a long, long time with proper care.

That will keep you coming back to this shoe, time and time again when you’re ready to step out of the house. It’s challenging to find that level of reliability and trust in any product these days, let alone footwear. In an age where most things are made cheaply, with an emphasis on volume over quality, it not only eliminates the luster but lessens the value and longevity of the product. That’s not so with Allen Edmonds offerings, particularly the Park Avenue Cap-toe oxford.

Footwear That Goes the Distance

Allen Edmonds shoes growing life and going the distance.

So, let’s quickly recap. The Park Avenue cap-toe oxford has the style and aesthetics any man with sophisticated dress sense craves, but also matches well with casual outfits, including your favorite denim. What’s more, it’s like you’re making an investment instead of a purchase, because they’ll last for years, maybe even decades, thanks to reliable classic American craftsmanship.

Whether you’re starting your sartorial journey, looking for your first “good” dress shoes, or you’re adding to your existing rotation of leather footwear, the Allen Edmonds Park Avenue cap-toe oxford is an essential that belongs in every man’s closet. With the most iconic American shoemaker marking its 100th birthday, now’s the perfect time to celebrate it by grabbing a pair of the brand’s most classic dress shoes that will last you for years to come.

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