Eh, I think I'll do some Alden defending here
1) Carmina is doing some great work with Epaulet, but on a smaller scale. Plus, the styling is frankly different, which gets me to #2
2) The clunkiness of Alden shoes are a feature, not a bug... The styling doesn't work for everyone, but for the customers it does work for, it is pretty unique and desired
3) Stock cordovan shoes seem to be going for $750-$800 for full retail these days. Marlows are hard to come by now on sale anymore, and are priced at $850. I think Marlows are worth every penny at $850, and if that is so, Alden rare cordovan at $710 and color 8/black at $650 seems fairly priced
4) No one is really doing chromexcel/suede makeups as well as Alden right now, as far as I can tell
I totally agree with this. The heavier build/ look of Alden's double sole Cordovan bluchers suit my build. I have a suit drop of 8 and need somthing solid on my feet to anchor my look.
I also wear my shell shoes with denim or chinos 95% of the time. A blake constructed, calf bal would look out of place. And just wrong IMO.
I've also found that most companies like Carmina have very few "roomy" lasts available at any given time. Not to mention a poor selection of width options.