Allen Edmonds

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Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation
Industry Shoes
Founded 1922 (1922) in Belgium, Wisconsin, United States
Key people
Paul Grangaard, CEO

Allen Edmonds is an upscale shoe manufacturing and retail company based in Port Washington, Wisconsin. The company was established in Belgium, Wisconsin in 1922. Allen Edmonds operates 52 retail stores in 28 states.[citation needed] It manufactures its shoes in the United States, as well as in Italy and the Dominican Republic. Allen Edmonds, along with E. Vogel, Oliver Moore Bootmakers, Alden, Johnston & Murphy, Rancourt & Co, and Esquivel, are the handful of manufacturers still making men's dress shoes in the US. The company delivers numerous collections of men's shoes, including dress shoes, dress casual shoes, loafers, casual, and golf shoes.[1]

In 2006, 90% of the shares in the company were bought by Minneapolis-based investment firm Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison for $100 million.[2][3] In 2013, the company announced that it would be acquired by private equity firm Brentwood Associates.[4] In December 2016 Caleres acquired Allen Edmonds from Brentwood Associates for $255 million.[5]

The CEO is former investment banker Paul Grangaard.[6]


Allen Edmonds gained much of its following after providing shoes to the US Army and US Navy during World War II, with many of the recipients of the shoes being loyal to the brand for the rest of their lives.[7]

Allen Edmonds is a moderately expensive brand of shoes that men typically wear for a very long time and repair rather than replace. The company offers recrafting services, rebuilding a pair of shoes for a fee, replacing soles and heels, creating a new cork base and strip, and reapplying the finish.[8] The Horween Leather Company supplies leather shells for footwear to Allen Edmonds.[9][10][11]


Pair of shoes from Allen Edmonds shoe company

As more than ninety-eight per cent of shoes sold in the U.S. are produced overseas, Allen Edmonds is among a small minority of companies that produces shoes domestically.[12] John Stollwerk, Allen-Edmonds's retired chairman and former owner expressed a commitment to keep manufacturing in the U.S. In 2003, the company invested one million dollars—1.1% of the company's sales—in refitting their factory, which is intended to save 5% of the cost to produce each shoe. The factory has replaced assembly lines with teams of craftsmen of which each member performs several tasks. The new system reduces overtime, makes it easier to cover for absent employees, reduces the time spent picking up and putting down shoes, and reduces the number of spoiled shoes.[7]

In 2006, concerned with rising manufacturing costs and endeavoring to compete more directly with the boat shoe and handsewn market, Allen Edmonds discontinued their Lewiston, Maine manufacturing plant and moved the handsewn production to their new, company owned factory in the Dominican Republic.[13] Currently, shoe uppers for the Allen Edmonds handsewn collection are cut and sewn in the Dominican Republic.[14] The raw materials are sent there from the U.S., where the uppers are sewn together, then shipped to the factory in Port Washington, Wisconsin to complete their construction, thus allowing them to be labeled "Made in the USA." Alternatively, styles from the "ae by Allen Edmonds" collection are produced entirely in and sold as Made in the Dominican Republic. In addition to their handsewn collection, Allen Edmonds also utilizes the Dominican Republic factory to cut and sew the uppers of their Goodyear welted collection of shoes. Similarly to the "American Made" handsewns, these welted uppers are shipped to the factory in Wisconsin, where the remainder of the lasting, welting, and soling are completed.

Labor policy[edit]

Allen Edmonds pays their workers well. Wages, benefits, government regulations of the workplace, emissions permits, taxes, and healthcare are all significant costs that could be drastically reduced by locating production overseas in a developing country. Stollenwerk remarked that moving the operation to China could save as much as 60%, but expressed concern that such a move could lead to a decline in quality. He also expressed concerns about social problems brought on by globalization, such as low wages and factory closings in the U.S.[7]


  1. ^ "Allen Edmonds Loafers". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  2. ^ US: Goldner Hawn buys majority of Allen-Edmonds,, Jul. 21, 2006.
  3. ^ Rick Romell, Port shoe firm sold: Investors pay $100 million for Allen-Edmonds, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Jul. 21, 2006.
  4. ^ Kell, John (November 5, 2013). "Deal Struck for Men's Shoemaker". The Wall Street Journal. p. B2. 
  5. ^ Stephen Garner, CALERES ACQUIRES ALLEN EDMONDS IN $255 MILLION DEAL December 14, 2016
  6. ^ Kimberly A. Whitler, CEO Paul Grangaard On The Allen Edmonds Turnaround: A Great American Comeback Story May 3, 2015
  7. ^ a b c Aaron Nathans Allen-Edmonds Keeps Its Shoes on an American Factory Floor, New York Times, May 29, 2004.
  8. ^ StyleFile: Taking care of business women, The Denver Post, March 19, 2009.
  9. ^ "A Brief History « Horween Leather Company". Retrieved March 28, 2013. 
  10. ^ Horween Leather Company. Retrieved March 26, 2013. 
  11. ^ Rolek, Barbara (October 27, 2003). "Horween's leather bound by tradition". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 27, 2013. 
  12. ^ Wilson, Eric (April 20, 2011). "At Their Feet, Crafted by Hand". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ History of Allen Edmonds Shoes
  14. ^ Kirchen, Rich (April 29, 2007). "Allen-Edmonds to open shop offshore".