Hey Half, they are noticeably darker as seen in the pics and I'm not sure why. I've seen other pics of cxl shoes that were significantly darker as well, and my Alden CXLs have also gotten a lot darker all around. I'm perfectly fine with it as I think it legitimately "adds character" and it's uniform, but it is something for others to consider when ordering. Maybe MWS knows why this happens? And, right, as Mike mentioned, the wrinkles will certainly soon overshadow!