Allen Edmonds Acheson

As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, my feet are different sizes (8E on the left and 9.5D on the right), the result of corrective action during childhood to correct a club foot.

As a consequence, loafers have long been out of reach. Any pair that fits the right foot will be too voluminous for the left.

In my middle age, I’ve been fortunate enough to have the resources, if not to pursue bespoke shoes, at least to contract made to order versions from various makers. Allen Edmonds, Oak Street Bootmakers and Rancourt have all graciously made me a pair of shoes, with the proper fit for each foot, assessing only a modest surcharge–far less than the cost of procuring two pair at retail.

Alas, Alden. They flat out refuse to play ball. With a cavalier brusqueness that is galling, they decline the opportunity to help customers in situations similar to mine get the right shoe for each foot. The only option is to purchase two pair (at double the cost), running the cost of a pair of non-bepspoke loafers up to $1,000, too dear a sum for yours truly.

Normally, I would let this slide. But Alden’s tassel loafer, American made that it is, has long been considered the ur-tassel.

So I have sulked and I have sulked.

Until this past December, when an elegant solution manifested itself.

While in New Orleans, between bouts of drinking to lamentable excess, I ventured into the Allen Edmonds store. There, I encountered a version of the tassel loafer I had not seen before: the Acheson. I knew of the Grayson, Allen Edmonds’ previous iteration of the tassel loafer. This newer version was a notch above, with a lower vamp that gave it a rakish, louche quality.

In fact, it was every bit the aesthetic equal of Alden’s version. With a sale to tempt me, I ordered a pair in dark olive suede and only had to pay a modest $40 surcharge to have the factory make them for me. About four weeks later, they appeared on my doorstep.

I’ve already deployed them twice–sockless, of course, given the virtual absence of winter weather in these precincts. And they are a true joy to wear, with a perfect fit and impeccable styling, filling one of the few remaining voids in my wardrobe.

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