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Alden shoes: why don't they label their last sizes accurately?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm a fan of Alden shoes (although one may have to send them back a few times to get a pair that is acceptable - e.g. "without extra needle holes").

One thing I've noticed is that if you visit online retailers, they will tell you certain Alden lasts run "large" and you need to "size down" a 1/2 size. The Barrie last is notorious for this. Here's an example of verbiage on Shoemart.com
Quote:
"The Barrie and Modified Lasts run a half size larger than other Alden lasts. Consider ordering a half size smaller than you normally use."

Alden Carmel even came up with this conversion chart to try and understand the bizarre size labeling from Alden:
Quote:

The most popular Alden lasts, and their relative sizes compared to usual U.S. shoe sizes are:

Leydon last - fits approximately like a standard US size
Plaza last - slightly longer than regular U.S. size
Aberdeen last - slightly longer than regular U.S. size
Van last - 1/4 to 1/2 size larger than regular U.S. size
Barrie last - about 1/2 size larger than regular U.S. size (U.S. size 10 = Barrie last size 9 1/2)
Trubalance last - about 1/2 size larger than regular U.S. size (U.S. size 10 = Trubalance size 9 1/2)
Modified last - at least 1/2 size larger than regular U.S. size (U.S. size 10 = Modified last size 9 1/2)


Question: Why doesn't Alden take note of this and just label their shoe sizes accurately and take the guesswork, confusion and hassle out of consumers having to return shoes that don't fit properly because Alden incorrectly labels sizes for certain lasts? Why not label their sizes for all lasts true to size and stop this nonsense?
post #2 of 12
It can be hard to start out with all the sizing questions. However, can you imagine how much worse it would be if Alden randomly "re-sized" all their lasts like you're suggesting? It would be a total nightmare
post #3 of 12
I've been saying this for years. If it's a size 12 but fits like 11.5, just call it 11.5 instead of 12. I don't get their sizing practices.
post #4 of 12
I would say 95% of dress shoes are not TTS.
AEs IMO are really the only TTS brand out there.
post #5 of 12
If AE can do it, Alden could, in theory, also do it.

But the numbering is the least of Alden's quirks. More dire is that many, if not most, of their lasts bear little relation to the shape of a human foot. Complaints are so standard that we can all recite them. Too wide, too narrow, too shallow, and so on.

Amazing to me that a company that takes pride in their product doesn't make an effort to listen to their most devoted clients.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by well-kept View Post

If AE can do it, Alden could, in theory, also do it.
But the numbering is the least of Alden's quirks. More dire is that many, if not most, of their lasts bear little relation to the shape of a human foot. Complaints are so standard that we can all recite them. Too wide, too narrow, too shallow, and so on.
Amazing to me that a company that takes pride in their product doesn't make an effort to listen to their most devoted clients.[
/B]

This is a good point. If you're looking for a loafer and have a flat foot Alden has you covered with the Van last. If your heel is nearly as wide as your forefoot, Alden has you covered with the Barrie.
post #7 of 12
Alden probably labels correctly.

Customers just don't care about it.

Shoe size indicates foot length. If your foot length (not Brannock) equals, say, a (US) 8.0, then you should try shoes in (US) 8.0, only. If it doesn't fit, the last is not made for your foot shape, strictly speaking.

But most people don't care. If they want a shoe made on the Barrie last, they go up and down in size to make it fit. No wonder, some people have shoes in sizes all over the place.

Dealers simply react to this. After all, they just want to sell shoes.

And generally, half a size deviation from your proper shoes size is hardly a problem. It only becomes a problem when you're off by more than half a size.
post #8 of 12
I've seen others say that the Barrie last is a last for boots. But they sure make a lot of shoes on it. As a boot, it works. With enough leather laced up around your ankle, the boot will stay in place, sort of. But as a shoe, the Barrie is a loser, literally.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by nurktwin View Post

Question: Why doesn't Alden take note of this and just label their shoe sizes accurately and take the guesswork, confusion and hassle out of consumers having to return shoes that don't fit properly because Alden incorrectly labels sizes for certain lasts? Why not label their sizes for all lasts true to size and stop this nonsense?

Sounds like lack of attention to detail; not a good sign in a shoemaker.
post #10 of 12

I think you are missing the point- if you have a good shop like the Moulded shoe in NYC- You will find different styles available in different lasts from Alden and you will find the last that fits your foot. Not all shoes styles will work on every last(unfortunately) or on every foot as eaxch foot is different- that and the style of the shoe is what drives the different lasts. The attention to detail is on the consumer and retail side- not the manufacturer side. The modified last and Trubalance last fit my foot and I can count on that. They fit better than any other shoe on the market and they are consistent, that's the attention to detail i like. No other company communicates that i can always find a shoe that fits my foot in different styles. You need to find a retailer that will fit you properly and make sure you have the right last. Then you can order different styles on the lasts that fit you foot.

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by well-kept View Post

But the numbering is the least of Alden's quirks. More dire is that many, if not most, of their lasts bear little relation to the shape of a human foot.

Agreed.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by nurktwin View Post

I'm a fan of Alden shoes (although one may have to send them back a few times to get a pair that is acceptable - e.g. "without extra needle holes").
One thing I've noticed is that if you visit online retailers, they will tell you certain Alden lasts run "large" and you need to "size down" a 1/2 size. The Barrie last is notorious for this. Here's an example of verbiage on Shoemart.com
Alden Carmel even came up with this conversion chart to try and understand the bizarre size labeling from Alden:
Question: Why doesn't Alden take note of this and just label their shoe sizes accurately and take the guesswork, confusion and hassle out of consumers having to return shoes that don't fit properly because Alden incorrectly labels sizes for certain lasts? Why not label their sizes for all lasts true to size and stop this nonsense?

Because a lot of time these secondary sellers like Carmel don't know what they're talking about and base their recomendations on what a few customers say who are usually wrong and don't even know their real size(esp people who buy by mail) The last is the last thing you should think of because it's just the shape of the particular model. Get your actural size and width correct first. Few people even know how to do this which is why they have so many problems and then blame it on the last.I can buy any AE shoe in my size and width and it fits perfectly regardless of shape(last) And buying shoes by mail and sending them back and forth is not the way to buy a shoe

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