I personally find the Alden's to be superior shoes. First of all, I like the finish on the Alden's a bit better, particularly their black, which has a mellower, less shiny appearance than the AE's; I also think that Alden may use a slightly higher grade of leather, though I'm not certain of this fact. Second, I like the combo leather/rubber heel that Alden uses far better than the all-rubber top lift of the AE's (note that AE does use a combo heel on their most expensive shoes, the cordovan leather ones). Third, I find that the soles of the Alden's seems to be of a higher quality/more durable leather than the AE's. Finally, I guess I just like the overall look of the Alden's a bit better. Plus, of course, they are the leaders in the Cordovan leather market, as well as the originator of the tassel loafer. That being said, I own alot of AE shoes (probably 20 pairs), as my parents live near an AE outlet (which has recently closed) -- I have picked up the AE's there for $59 to $109. For that price, I think the AE's are a great deal. They also have a much broader range of styles than does Alden, so you might well find something you like in an AE that Alden doesn't have. Also, they do have a brown suede leather that is very handsome. My father in law was just up in Manchester, NH and picked up a very nice brown suede pair for $112 in the Bradley design. I would recommend getting on the mailing list for an AE outlet, so that you are notified when they have special deals. Of course, another (or the first?) issue for any buyer to consider is fit. Each maker has its own lasts, so you should try to find the last(s) that fit you best; this is particularly true if you have hard-to-fit feet. AE does offer a large range of widths, which may work well for you. I do think that the one area that AE has far outperformed Alden is in marketing/distribution. I would guess that AE's name recognition among its target demographic is 3X or 4X that of Alden. One other thing: Alden does make shoes for others on a private label basis, most notably Brooks Brothers. I have picked up some great deals on Alden's (e.g. a pair of cap toe oxfords for $89, a pair of black cordovan Monk Straps for $150) at BB in NYC (the main store on Madison Ave) during the semi-annual sales.