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Quality, mainly. I wear 9.5 Ds in everything from Park Avenues to 5th Avenues to Strands. I know AEs aren't the most expensive shoe available but I'm looking to jump up to the next tier. If I can make the jump without spending any more $ via these Fitzpatricks then I'm all ears .
Pull that trigger! Definite step up from AE. Leather is generally nicer and the lasts are way more attractive (not that that is a quality issue, but it is a big plus). I put AE with Meermin and Jack Erwin in the "Very nice, but..." tier of shoes and Fitzpatrick with Carmina and Alden in the "Now these are big boy toys" category.