Originally Posted by slack tide
Hey all, I'm going to be picking up my first pair of Aldens in the next couple days (either form shoe mart, or in person at Alden DC) and had a quick question. If I have decided on these
shoes (Cap Toe Balmoral Oxford Shell Cordovan), is Shoe Mart my best bet online? (Price, Customer Service, etc). Also, I was looking for anything in Natural in a 8.5 or 9 but unfortunately think they're pretty well sold out. Though if anyone happens to know of anywhere, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
I haven't tried on the Hampton last so I cant really speak to fit but you can check out the sizing chart in my sig (thanks REguy). Since this is your first pair, I recommend picking them up in person, if you can. The lasts can be tricky and what better way to lock down your size than by having a real life professional size you up/give you advice? I have purchased several pairs from the Shoemart, and a few from their seconds list and they have pretty good C.S. by Alden's standards. They offer no frills, cut to the chase, no sig ("regards"), kind of customer service. Additionally, theshoemart offers free shipping and you dont have to pay sales tax if outside of CT. My advice, go visit Alden D.C for some personal service. You may or may not find what you want there in which case you can always hit up TSM.
Now, as far as color goes, if you are buying a brand new pair at full retail, I would recommend that you take a home run swing and go with an exotic color like cigar shell. I say this for several reasons;
1st, Cigar, Ravello, Whiskey Cordovan are rare colors and usually can only be found if purchased new a full retail. Since you are already paying full retail (im just assuming you are) I would recommend shelling (pun intended) out a few extra Jackson's and get a rare cordovan color. You will not be disappointed. The shoe that you want is also offered in Cigar for just a few bucks more.
2nd: Black Shell Cordovan can be found on B&S/ eBay much more often and at a greater discount than other shell colors. Just about every other week, you can find a few black shell cordovan in your size. Also, you probably saw some of the other guys talking about Alden seconds lists from the shoemart. You can find a lot more Black Shell than other cordovan colors. Shell Cordovan from the seconds list run $400 + $10 for shipping.