Carmina Vs. Allen Edmonds: A Comprehensive Shoe Comparison

When it comes to high-quality men’s dress shoes, two brands stand out from the pack: Carmina and Allen Edmonds. Both companies are known for their attention to detail, use of premium materials, and excellent craftsmanship.

But which brand reigns supreme? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Carmina and Allen Edmonds across a variety of factors to help you decide which is best for your needs and budget.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureCarminaAllen Edmonds
ConstructionGoodyear weltedGoodyear welted
OriginsMallorca, SpainPort Washington, Wisconsin
Leathers UsedCalfskin, suede, shell cordovanCalfskin, shell cordovan
Price Range$400 – $700$250 – $795
FactoriesMallorca, SpainPort Washington, Wisconsin & Dominican Republic
Customization OptionsLimitedExtensive (Made-to-order program)

Let’s take a detailed look at how they compare across the metrics that matter most:

Craftsmanship and Quality Comparison of Carmina And Allen Edmonds Shoes

Perhaps the most important factor when buying dress shoes is construction and craftsmanship. We want shoes built meticulously by skilled artisans, not mass-produced in a factory.

Both Carmina and Allen Edmonds deliver superb craftsmanship, but there are some notable differences:

Carmina Craftsmanship

Carmina Shoes
Carmina Shoes
  • Family company reputation for quality since 1866
  • All production done in Mallorca, Spain factory
  • Careful attention to detail and handfinishing
  • Goodyear welted construction method
  • Skilled artisans trained in shoemaking craft

Allen Edmonds Craftsmanship

  • Nearly 100 years of American shoemaking
  • Wisconsin workshop staffed by master craftsmen
  • Goodyear welt construction method
  • Handcrafted benchmade production
  • Some shoes made in Dominican Republic factory

While both brands produce excellent shoes, Carmina has a slight edge for exclusively making their shoes in Spain. The smaller factory with generations of shoemaking expertise allows for stricter quality control.

Allen Edmonds does outstanding work too, but some production has moved overseas. Still, their American-made shoes are benchcrafted magnificently.

Ultimately, you can trust that both Carmina and Allen Edmonds offer some of the finest craftsmanship and construction in the shoe industry. The prices reflect the made-by-hand care and attention that goes into every pair.

Leather Quality and Options Comparison

The leather used in fine dress shoes must be held to the highest standard. We expect supple, durable leathers from reputable tanneries. Both Carmina and Allen Edmonds have fantastic leather across their shoes. However, there are some differences in selection and offerings:

Carmina Leather

  • Calfskin, Suede, Shell Cordovan
  • Exotic options like Kudu antelope
  • Unique leathers like Museum Calf and Reverse Elephant
  • Wide range of colors and patina potential

Allen Edmonds Leather

  • Calfskin, Shell Cordovan, Exotics
  • Horween and other top American tanneries
  • Calf available in many colors and finishes
  • Shell cordovan in diverse colors (black, #8, whiskey, navy)

As you can see, both brands check the boxes for quality sourced leathers and a good variety of options from smooth calfskin to rich shell cordovan.

Carmina may have a slight edge when it comes to more unique leathers, while Allen Edmonds offers familiar, classic leathers for American tastes. But for most buyers, the leather selection is outstanding from both shoemakers.

Fit and Sizing Comparison of Carmina And Allen Edmonds Shoes

Finding a proper fit is essential to maximize the comfort of a high-end pair of shoes. Let’s examine how Carmina and Allen Edmonds compare when it comes to fit, sizing, and accommodating different foot shapes:

Carmina Fit and Sizing

  • Multiple elegant lasts offered
  • Runs slightly small, size up 1⁄2 from US size
  • Snug fit for most oxfords and dress styles
  • Wider range of sizes available
  • Boot styles are more forgiving and roomy

Allen Edmonds Fit and Sizing

Allen Edmonds Shoes
Allen Edmonds Shoes
  • Many classic and combination lasts to choose from
  • Known for generous sizing, runs 1⁄2 size large
  • Offers narrow, medium, wide widths (AAA to EEE)
  • Accommodates high arches and flat feet
  • Break-in period with stiff leather soles

As you can see, both shoemakers design their shoes to fit a spectrum of foot shapes and types.

Carmina offers a truer-to-size fit that’s elegant but snug, while Allen Edmonds runs wider but breaks in nicely.

Trying shoes on from both brands is ideal to find your best size match. But overall, most buyers can find a Carmina or Allen Edmonds last that suits their foot.

Style Selection and Variety Comparison

Beyond fit and comfort, we want dress shoes with style and personality. Let’s see how Carmina and Allen Edmonds compare when it comes to the variety of shoe styles offered:

Carmina Style Selection

  • Oxfords, Derbies, Monk Straps, Loafers
  • Chelsea Boots, Jodhpur Boots, Chukkas
  • Unique styles like Wholecut, Belgian, Adelaide
  • Spectator, Saddle, and other eye-catching shoes
  • Sneakers and casual footwear also available

Allen Edmonds Style Selection

  • Focus on classic American styles
  • Oxfords, Derbies, Loafers
  • Dress Boots, Chukkas, Cap Toe Boots
  • New styles occasionally introduced
  • Mostly traditional office and business styles

Carmina clearly dominates when it comes to style variety and unique model offerings. They have modern and vintage designs you won’t find anywhere else. Allen Edmonds sticks to core American styles done exceptionally well, so variety is limited compared to Carmina. It comes down to personal style preference.

Customization and Special Orders Comparison

Some customers want standard off-the-shelf models in core colors, while others like fully customized shoes built just for them. Let’s compare how Carmina and Allen Edmonds approach special orders and custom shoes:

Carmina Customization

Carmina Boots
Carmina Boots
  • Offer made-to-order program through website
  • Choose leathers, details, sole options
  • Flexible with special requests
  • Short wait of 3-4 months for delivery
  • Upcharge applies over readymade shoes

Allen Edmonds Customization

  • Extensive Made-to-order program
  • Select leathers, colors, welting, and sole
  • Custom engraving, stitching, and embossing
  • Choose from catalog of color swatches
  • Wait time around 4 months with 50% deposit

Clearly, Allen Edmonds is the winner when it comes to full customization. Their Made-to-Order program offers seemingly endless options to create your dream shoes. Carmina also delivers customized shoes, but their program is much more limited compared to Allen Edmonds.

Pricing and Value Comparison of Carmina And Allen Edmonds Shoes

Let’s examine the cost and value you get from these high-end shoemakers:

Carmina Pricing

  • $400 – $700 for most shoes
  • $1000+ for exotic leathers
  • Full retail is higher than Allen Edmonds
  • Occasional sales and special makeups

Allen Edmonds Pricing

Allen Edmonds Recrafting
  • $250 – $500 for calfskin dress shoes
  • $700+ for shell cordovan or exotics
  • Frequent sales and seconds discounts
  • Better value for money on sale

Carmina produces shoes of tremendous value and quality craftsmanship.

But most models retail higher than Allen Edmonds.

AE runs sales more often, so their shoes frequently dip to $200-300, an incredible bargain.

At full prices though, Carmina provides excellent value. It comes down to hunting sales versus paying MSRP.

Availability and Buying Experience

Being able to try on shoes in-person and work with knowledgeable sales staff enhances the buying experience. Let’s compare Carmina and Allen Edmonds when it comes to their brand presence and accessibility:

Buying Carmina Shoes

  • Only a handful of boutique locations globally
  • Limited to online shopping for most
  • Showrooms in Europe offer fittings
  • Need to order and hope sizing is correct

Buying Allen Edmonds Shoes

  • Nearly 100 retail stores across USA
  • Easy to find and try on locally
  • Personalized in-store service
  • Returns and exchanges simple with stores

Clearly, having brick-and-mortar stores gives Allen Edmonds a huge advantage when it comes to accessibility. Being able to try on shoes in person removes the sizing guesswork required when ordering Carmina online. Carmina is working to expand their retail presence, but it’s still an uphill battle. This category decisively goes to Allen Edmonds.

Resoling and Recrafting Comparison

We expect quality dress shoes to last for years when properly maintained. Let’s see how Carmina and Allen Edmonds compare when it comes to resoling and refurbishing shoes to extend their lifespan:

Carmina Resoling

  • Resole and recrafting done in Mallorca, Spain
  • Estimate around $130 for resole service
  • Replace worn soles and heels
  • Repair stitched construction as needed
  • Condition and polish included

Allen Edmonds Recrafting

  • Resole/recrafting done in Wisconsin factory
  • Cost around $125 for Dainite resole
  • Restitch and rebuild worn parts
  • Condition leather and polish
  • Replace footbeds and laces too

As you can see, both brands effectively restore shoes to like-new condition for reasonable prices. Carmina may have a slight lead in quality, while Allen Edmonds makes the process easy with stores handling shipping logistics.

But overall, both resole services are outstanding and prolong the life of the shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What brand is better than Allen Edmonds?

Some men’s shoe brands considered a notch above Allen Edmonds include Crockett & Jones, Alden, Edward Green, and certain lines from John Lobb and Gaziano & Girling. But Allen Edmonds still competes handily with most luxury brands while costing considerably less. You get outstanding value from Allen Edmonds shoes.

Are Allen Edmonds high end shoes?

At full retail prices, Allen Edmonds shoes would be considered mid-tier to upper-mid-tier dress shoes. But their frequent sales and seconds bring prices down closer to entry-level for high quality shoes. So Allen Edmonds provides premium shoes without the truly premium prices of bespoke shoemakers.

Where are Carmina shoes made?

Authentic Carmina shoes are made completely by hand in their Mallorca, Spain factory studios. A few outsourced models are produced in China and Italy using Carmina designs and leathers. But Carmina prides themselves on shoes handcrafted by master artisans in their Spanish ateliers.

How many times can you resole Allen Edmonds?

With care and regular recrafting service, a pair of Allen Edmonds Goodyear welted dress shoes can be resoled 3-5 times before the uppers may need replacement. So with proper maintenance, you can get 15-25 years of wear from a pair of Allen Edmonds.

The Verdict

After this comprehensive comparison, how do Carmina and Allen Edmonds shoes stack up overall?

When it comes to pure craftsmanship and attention to detail, Carmina has a small but noticeable lead. Their Spanish heritage results in meticulous construction and handfinishing. The variety of unique, eye-catching styles is also hard to match.

However, Allen Edmonds wins when it comes to accessibility thanks to their expansive retail presence. This makes sizing, purchasing, and servicing much easier compared to the limited availability of Carmina. Allen Edmonds also can’t be beaten for made-to-order customization.

So in summary:

  • Carmina is the choice if you want true Spanish artisanship and rare styles from boots to sneakers.
  • Allen Edmonds is perfect if you prioritize convenience, American classics, and personalized custom shoes.

Both brands produce phenomenal dress shoes any man would cherish for a lifetime. Keep the comparison details in mind, and you’re guaranteed satisfaction from either Carmina or Allen Edmonds.

Your shiny new shoes will exude timeless elegance and quality craftsmanship with every step

Clayton S. Johnson

Well, I am Clayton who writes, manages, and does overall stuff for this website. I live somewhere in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and used to have a full-time job. But the pandemic taught me to do more do with my life. So, I quit my job and travel a lot! Since I have tons of time now, I write about all the stuff I have done, used, and have first-hand experiences.

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