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All the President's Shoes: Inaugural Product Placement

The companies jostling for brand placement on Barack Obama’s big day
Allen Edmonds’s Park Avenue shoe
Allen Edmonds’s Park Avenue shoePhotograph by 731

Until 2009, every president since Ronald Reagan took the oath of office with his feet in a pair of Allen Edmonds shoes. The Wisconsin company tried hard to keep the streak going when Barack Obama was choosing his inaugural wardrobe. They sent the president-elect’s valet two pairs of laceups: the classic black Park Avenue for the ceremony and a new model with a more squared-off toe, the Hyde Park, for the parties.

They were doubly disappointed. “I’m highly confident he wore Cole Haans,” says Allen Edmonds Chief Executive Paul Grangaard, “which would not have been made in the United States.” After glimpsing the interlopers on TV, the company sent a message to the valet, who told them there was still a chance Obama would change into their shoes for the inaugural balls.