In perusing the messages on the forum, I don't recall seeing any mention of Alden. For those of you interested in shoes, I think Alden's are fantastic. In terms of quality, I find them superior to their primary American competitor, Allen-Edmonds. Why? Because I like the leather in their uppers better, and I find their soles last much longer than those in the AE's. Furthermore, I like the combo heel (leather and rubber inset) that Alden uses much better than the full rubber toplift that AE uses. You might note that AE uses the combo heel, but only on their Cordovan shoes that run $450 or so. I also think that the Alden's take and retain a superior shine. Their lasts are made for the typical American foot, which is narrower in the heel and wider in the forefoot than the typical European foot. So, if you have a hard time fitting into European shoes, you might well benefit from trying the Aldens. It is also worth noting that Alden is probably the world's leading maker of Cordovan shoes. They and all of the other shoemakers I've talked to, including Edward Green and Crockett & Jones, buy their cordovan from the same tannery. Alden also makes the high-end, American made shoes for Brooks Brothers. In general, these models are similar or the same as those labeled Alden. I've also seen Aldens with retailers' private label heel pads, including Britches of Georgetown. You can often find the Brooks Brothers Aldens at really good prices at the end of the Brooks summer sale, particularly at the BB store on Madison Ave. in NYC. I've bought beautiful Aldens there for $90, and cordovans for $150. Interestingly, I've seen Aldens sold at high end clothiers in Europe, often selling for around $500 to $700 (the latter for the cordovan leathers). While the shoes do not, in my opinion, rival Edward Green for quality (as they are not hand-sewn as the best Greens are), I heartily recommend that people check out the Alden's if you are in the market for some wonderful and durable shoes. Alden also offers a recrafting service, though they don't do a good job of marketing this service, unlike AE. The only downside to Alden's is that they have a steel shank, so they will set off the metal detector if you try to wear them through security at the airport (unlike AE's, which don't have a steel shank). However, nowadays it seems like most airports require you to take off your shoes and put them on the belt, so this may be less of an issue. I would love to hear others' opinions and experience with Alden vis-a-vis other brands.
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8/8/03 at 11:39am