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The Existential Dilemma Concerning Boots: Alden 405 Indys vs. Oak Street Trench Boots

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I apologize for the overbearingly dramatic title. I also did consider posting in a "boot" related thread but felt it would be more productive to post it as a thread itself.

Let me first put myself into context:
I am a college student and have long yearned to purchase a boot of quality. Through several semesters, I have finally saved enough funds to do so (with around $500 USD.) In such perspective, I am not taking this purchase lightly as it is quite expensive and hope that the purchase will be a lasting one. 

I have been drawn to aesthetic and perceived quality of two particular boots at similar price points (other suggestions are welcome):
the Alden 405 Indy in Dark Brown Chromexcel and the Oak Street Bookmaker Natural Captoe Trench Boot.

In this thread, I would like to draw considerations and comparisons to the following:
- Aesthetic
- Quality
- Comfort (or Fit)
- Durability

As I have never handled either boot, I cannot make such comparisons and hope those who have had experiences with these particular boots may be able to shed some light. The most I can say, in terms of the aesthetics, is that I do prefer the iconic look of the Alden Indy to the Trench Boot. I find the contrast-stitching makes the boot wholly more distinctive to the trench boot; that is not to say that the trench boot is generic, but rather it is more subtle in aesthetic expression (when compared to Red Wing GT/Beckman and Wolverine 1K Mile Boots.)

Now "more matter with less art", I hope you guys will be able to assist me in my future purchase.

 

post #2 of 19
it seems to me that the boots you are comparing have some important differences. The Oak Street boot has a perforated captoe which makes it more formal than the Indy boot. The soles are also different so you may want to consider how much time you'll spend in wet/snowy conditions (the Alden cork may be better there).

Honestly, both are on the expensive side of casual boots. Also at this price I would strongly suggest you try them on for fit before buying. Alden's lasts are all over the map for a given size. I can't speak for the Oak Street lasts as I have no experience.

I have the regular Alden Indy and the 1000k and prefer the 1000k. They seem equally well made but the Alden's style seems less neutral - more dated (though I admit that is purely a personal preference).

For $300 and change you should add the 1000k to your list. It is less chunky than most Redwings and has a great leather sole (though this is a downside in wet weather if that is a consideration). It is $200 less than the Alden but has a similar aesthetic.

Just my $0.02
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Your "$0.02" is greatly appreciated and pocketed.

I live in Florida--so it is likely that I will spend little to no time cavorting around in the snow; however, it does tend to rain.

The trouble in trying on a pair "for fit before buying" is the fact that there are no retailers available in my general location. Perhaps, I may have to travel a bit to find one as it would be quite disappointing to drop almost-$500 on shoes that fit poorly. 

I previously had the Wolverine 1000 mile boot on my list of choices but had questions of durability (from perusing the thread)--perhaps you can elaborate on this particular concern in your own experience. And yes, I have tried on a pair of Red Wings and found them to be rather chunky. How do Alden Indys compare in shape and size?

I should also mention the boots I am to purchase will probably receive daily wear.

Thanks.

post #4 of 19
For durability I could not honestly say there is a difference between the Alden and Wolverine boots. Both are goodyear welted so they can be resoled. The quality of the uppers is similar - both are chromexcel leather and don't require much upkeep. I've put more miles on my 1000k and there is some wear on the sole and heel but the stiches are still tight and the uppers are holding up well. I've put a lot of miles on some other Alden shoes and they are all well made so I would expect them to hold up well.

The Alden is slightly "sleeker" than the 1000k but the 1000k is not as chunky as most Redwings. I just prefer the shape of 1000k toe but lots of folks here on SF think the Indy is the pinnacle of boot style so clearly personal preferences matter.

Most of the Indy boots are on the Truebalance last which runs a bit big. If I recall the 1000k also runs a half size big. The Alden is a bit narrower on my foot than the 1000k. I could wear the 1000k every day based on comfort but don't recommend that as you should always let leather shoes dry out after every wear and ideally use shoe trees or the sole starts to curl and the inside gets grotty.

If your feet are relatively normal in shape (i.e. you have not had trouble finding shoes that fit) either one will likely work. I can't see any objectively meaningful difference in quality/durability. I think the main difference is styling and price.

I do think you should see/try in person though as styling and fit may be the real decision factors for you.
post #5 of 19

nice choices.

 

only problem w/ the indy it is often the gateway into alden shell, which will cost you $$$$$$$$ down the line.  lol8[1].gif

post #6 of 19
When (or if) that time comes - allow me to present the contrarion view on shell
post #7 of 19

ill like to hear it, but don't post it in the alden thread lol, it's an emotional thing

post #8 of 19
My experience:

I have the:
Wolverine 1000k (2years old) Size 10
Alden Indy 401 (black and tan) 3months Size 10

My experience with Oak Street is a pair of beefroll penny loafers.

The Wolverine horween broke in much faster. It also marks a lot easier than the Alden if you want a certain patina.

Toebox of the Wolverine is much more generous but the physical footprint of the Alden is wider in the toe. Depending on which car I'm driving, I sometimes feel like I'm wearing clown shoes.

The tongue of the wolverine is attached on the sides under the laces whereas the Alden, it is free on the sides. It's only significant for me because the tongue on my right shoe tends to slide all the way to the right, leaving the laces against my sock. It's annoying on the Alden, but held in place on the Wolverine.

Finish is hands-down nicer on the Alden, and that alone could justify the price difference for me. Inside lining seems much more luxurious in the Alden.

If I could only keep one pair, it would be the Wolverines. The Aldens are nicer but I find I put the Wolverines on more often. I've even worn them to an outdoor wedding.

As far as Oak street, the shoe I received is a bit more idiosyncratic - leather imperfections, stitching imperfections, which are supposed to be part of the charm I guess. I can't speak regarding their trench boots though.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbear View Post

ill like to hear it, but don't post it in the alden thread lol, it's an emotional thing

Oh no - it will take a couple of shots of great whiskey or the better part of a bottle of wine before I dare say anything against shell on SF. Alden shell zealots make ToJ fans seem like republicans listening to Obama's state of the union speech
post #10 of 19
Go for Alden. Your acquiring more than a quality boot, but a fraternity of brothers.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbear View Post

nice choices.

 

only problem w/ the indy it is often the gateway into alden shell, which will cost you $$$$$$$$ down the line.  lol8[1].gif

Once I buy this boot, I will probably not be able to bring myself to spend this much on a shoe ever again.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaundinya View Post

Once I buy this boot, I will probably not be able to bring myself to spend this much on a shoe ever again.
haha, that's what I thought and then, only a week or so after taking home my Indys, I went out shopping for more Alden shoes.
The Indys are so good, you'll be addicted to Alden.
post #13 of 19
they both suck
post #14 of 19
Code:
Quote:
Originally Posted by TACO_FLAVORED_KISSES View Post

they both suck

That's not very helpful. What do you mean by "they"?
Edited by bertie - 2/14/13 at 8:20pm
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

I ultimately chose the Oak Street Bootmakers' Trench Boot.

If I'm disappointed, I'll simply return them and try the Alden Indy Boots.

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