I think in addition to the storm welting and double sole, a 360 (compared to 270) degree stitching also makes a difference. I recently ordered the LS Cigar Wingtip which is on a plaza, 270 degree welt stitching, and (I think) single leather. The combination is akin to a dress shoe construction exept that it is a boot. Good combination for suits.
Funny I have been having buyer's remorse from these boots (even if I have yet to receive them) because I am afraid the color/look will be too similar to my C&J Islay...
I have a #8 boot that is a plaintoe x single welt x 270 and they pretty much look like dress shoes so they work well when I wear suits. They are also pretty sleek (even on a Modified last).
one more time from the top. J. Gilbert "Plaza"
and Leathersoul Plaza
Both are size 12D
1) It's definitely not barrie or truebalance. It may be either a grant last or a Plaza in E
2) The boot looks good IMO (though I think I have a bit different taste than yours in Aldens). My grant lasted cigar boots in 10E are probably my second favorite Aldens (after the ravello tassels). That said, just get in touch with J Gilbert and send them back if you don't want them
Those J. Gilbert boots are definitely Plaza - in my experience, the soft square toe often appears more dramatic in photos (especially from the side) than it does in person, looking straight down at them.
Yesterday I was in the Alden DC store and picked up a new shoe care product to try, called Alden Leather Defender. It's made for shell cordovan and calfskin. One of the supposed benefits is that it can help reduce or prevent the dreaded water spotting on shell.
I tried it out last night on a pair of whiskey shell chukkas that were in need of some attention anyway. I was pretty happy with the results. The creases in the chukkas were dry and rough and somewhat dirty, and the treatment did clean them up a lot and make them smoother. Overall, the treatment added a nice shine to the shoes that was very slippery and glossy, but by this morning they were a bit less so but still noticeable. And the leather did feel a bit more supple. With little effort they looked like I'd spent an hour giving them the Mac Treatment. I can't say for sure that there was any darkening since these were rather darkened already a bit from age, but I don't think so.
Since I really don't know much at all about this product and could not find anything from web and forum searching, I sent an e-mail to Horween to see if they have any thoughts on it. I haven't used any of the other common shell products, like Venetian, so I have no comparison to offer.
The 4 oz bottle is a misting sprayer. Here's what it says on the bottle:
"Use Alden Leather Defender to clean and protect calfskin and genuine shell cordovan Alden shoes. Not for use on Suede or Nubuck.
"Directions: Apply Alden Leather Defender to a soft cloth and wipe shoes thoroughly. Let dry. Turn cloth and buff gently. For best results allow leather to dry completely before wearing shoes.
"Safety: Alden Leather Defender is water-based and environmentally benign. Do not take internally. If accidentally ingested, please call physician immediately.
"Made in USA."
Sorry if this sounds like a shill, but I just wanted to pass this along to anyone who might be interested. Besides, this whole thread is like a shill anyway
Oh, and there's a new staff member at Alden DC. She seems to know shoes pretty well and was fun to talk with.