This mentality is exactly what keeps Alden in business. Alden makes a fantastic product, no question about it. However, I have never seen any truely objective evidence to support that they truely are better shoes across the board. Obviously some of their models are better than AE, but the opposite holds true as well. There are numerous threads on this site with people debating this issue, and I enjoy reading through them. Some of the treads get quite heated up, and it always ends up with people agreeing to disagree. Many people feel that Alden has an edge because they have models with 270 degree welts, which makes them more "refined." AE only makes 360 welted shoes. This has nothing to do with the shoe being inferior. Alden makes shoes with 360 welts too. Many people will carry to their grave that the steel shank makes Alden better. The problem is, and there are some esteemed bespoke shoe makers on this site that can substantiate this, steel shanks are not needed unless you have heels above one inch in height. Neither Alden nor Allen Edmonds have greater than one inch heels. Both shoe makers obtain their raw materials from reputable companies (Horween Leather for example). Allen Edmonds being a larger company means that they will have more shoes in the market place. This makes them more readily available. This means that more AE's are sold. This means that their prices can be lower. This equation does not make Alden better because they are rarer unless you want a rarer shoe. Again, this equation adds up to subjectivity.
....agreed. That mentality is what keeps A LOT of the rtw companies that are popular here in business. The "wannabes" provide their opinions (or secondhand opinions from some more reputed member) as facts. The newbs buy it and continue the arguments, but when you actually pay attention, the brands are usually a lot more similar than people would like to admit. The only big differences are usually price and availability.