I've been adding to the FAQ over the past few days. Here's the latest incarnation. Any ideas on how to make this more permanently available other than reposting occasionally? I have tried to give credit where due, with many links to original sources. As always, contributions welcome.ALDEN FAQ
Compiled by borderline using the combined wisdom of "The Official Alden Thread" on Styleforum and other web sources.Before Buying
What are the different lasts and how do they fit relative to one another?
*See below for more sizing informationAlden's advice for sizing
To help you determine proper fit we offer these simple suggestions:
1. Put both shoes on. If they are lace oxfords, tie them both as you normally would.
2. Stand up and, with your feet about 8-12" apart, have the sales person check the
position of your feet in the shoes. The balls of your feet should be at the widest
part of the shoes.
3. Wiggle your toes; they should have real freedom of movement throughout the
forepart of the shoe.
4. Backpart fit should be snug but not over tight. As the outsoles flex and "break-in",
small initial amounts of slipping at the heel should disappear. Going to a smaller
size to eliminate ALL initial heel slipping can result in a fit that is just too tight,
especially in slip-on models.
Try not to depend upon breaking in to loosen up a tight feel. Goodyear welt
construction and quality selection of leathers result in a very strong shoe. Try for
a size that feels good right from the start.What do the different cordovan colors look like?
http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/21300#post_5108188I feel like I'm buying too many Aldens, what can I do?
1) Give up, there is no hope.
2) Stop reading this threadWhy do they call it the Indy boot?
http://www.indygear.com/igboots.htmlAre Alden shoes worth the price?
At the end of the day, the main benefits to Alden shoes are
1) High quality Horween leathers (Chromexcel, cordovan, and I assume suede) in unique colors
2) Willingness to work with retailers (many of whom work with customers) to develop special styles
3) Variety of well-fitting lasts
4) Recraft-ability (not necessarily by Alden, but by a variety of cobblers)
5) Decent price point compared to shoemakers that work with similar materials
6) Traditional aesthetic (high quality and stylish in a "handsome," "gentlemanly" way)
7) Alden shoes are pretty comfortable, can be very eye catching (cordovan, suede, etc tend to get tons of compliments) and overall enhance one's look.
The obvious downsides are
1) Poor quality control, particularly as they ramp production
2) Low / inconsistent availability
How should I break in my shoes?
Use “Mac’s Break-in Procedure”:
Shoes should be worn only on carpeting on three different days for a minimum of one hour in order to ascertain that the fit is proper.What is the "pen trick"?
You put a pen where your foot joints are and then crease the shoe. This way the crease is set exactly where your joint bends and the crease is nice and even. People report varying levels of success with this, and it is generally thought to be more important for the PTB.Will my cordovan shoes stretch?
The consensus is that cordovan stretches very little, if at all.Care and Cleaning
How should I clean my cordovan shoes or boots?
Use the “Mac Method”:
1) Clean shoes with damp cloth
2) Brush vigorously with a horsehair brush
3) Buff with smooth cloth
4) Use wax after a minimum of fifteen wearings
http://theagatineeyelet.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/the-mac-method/Some other cleaning advice from Alden of Carmel
1. Do not use 'neutral' polish
2. Do not clean cordovan shoes using saddle soap
3. Do not attempt to clean cordovan shoes using petroleum distillates or cleaning fluids
4. Do not use any spray shines or aerosol type waterproofs
5. Do not attempt to dry wet shell cordovan shoes with heat or a heater. Wipe them dry, and allow them to dry naturally
6. Do not attempt to polish shell cordovan shoes while wet
http://www.alden-of-carmel.com/index.cfm/care_of_shell_cordovan.htmMy shoes are dry and/or discolored in the creases. How can I fix this?
Alden SF recommends using a small amount of cream in the creases. This can moisturize the area and also bring up some of the natural color in the leather. Most people use either Saphir Renovateur or Venetian Shoe Cream.
http://oakstreetbootmakers.com/accessories/venetian-shoe-creamMy cordovan shoes got wet and there are tiny round marks or bubbles. What should I do?
1) Next time try the Alden Leather Defender
2) Brush them for awhile
3) Try some Renovateur
4) Try the deer bone treatment
5) Just wait, it will go away evenutallyRestorationWill Alden put a different sole on my shoes?
Alden Restoration will now only recraft your shoes using original materials. If you want to put on a different sole, your best bet may be B. Nelson.
http://www.bnelsonshoes.com/Can I have speed hooks converted to eyelets?
B Nelson will do it for $12 per eyelet (not per pair). A standard Alden boot with 4 pairs of speed hooks would therefore run $96. The top four eyelets would be off-centered with the bottom five, which is often done to compensate for the oblong size of the speed hooks.
Here's an example: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/18000#post_4958968I want new shoelaces for my Indy Boots. What are my options?
1) Alden will mail you a pair if you ask. http://www.aldenshoe.com/
2) The Alden Madison store will sell you waxed laces for ~$6. http://aldenmadisonny.com/
3) Red Wing model 9011 will work, request them here http://www.redwingheritage.com/laces/Miscellaneous Items
LWB: Longwing blucher
SWB: Shortwing blucher
PTB: Plain toe blucher
LHS: Leisure hand sewn (a loafer)A video by Epaulet about the Alden factory
http://vimeo.com/6997219Cordovan: A Photo Gallery of Some of Mac's Shoes
#8: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/11745#post_4266673Online Purchasing Options
Leather Soul http://www.leathersoulhawaii.com/category/brands/alden/
The Shoe Mart http://www.theshoemart.com/alden-shoes/bt-ald.html
Alden Shop http://www.aldenshop.com/
Sherman Brothers http://www.shermanbrothers.com/brand...S&BrandCode=AL
J. Crew http://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/s...enForJCrew.jsp
Ben Silver http://www.bensilver.com/Alden-American-Shoes.html
Moulded Shoe http://mouldedshoe.com/alden1.html
Renners Fine Boots & Shoes http://www.rennersbootsshoes.com/aldenshoes1.html
Sky Valet http://www.skyvalet1.com/Alden.aspx
Frans Boone Store https://www.fransboonestore.com/en/store/brands/alden.html
The Bureau http://www.thebureaubelfast.com/shop/brand/58/alden/
Alden of Carmel http://www.alden-of-carmel.com/index.cfm/shoes.htm
J. Gilbert http://www.jgilbertfootwear.com/?q=node/90
Need Supply http://needsupply.com/
Tres Bien http://www.tresbienshop.com/
************Anecdotal sizing information
I find the Modified last (for my foot) is wider than the Barrie. 9D Modified fits me great, while 9D in Barrie is a snug fit, the E width for me in Barrie is too wide. I find the Trubalance last to be a little bit bigger overall last to the Barrie, whereas the Modified has a more tapered mid foot under the arch, opening up to a wider forefoot. (NewYorkRanger)
Normal size is 10.5D, I take a 10D in Barrie and 10.5E in Leydon (borderline)
I wear a 9 D in the Barrie and i've also tried a 9E in the Barrie. I won some of each and wear them both. The 9D is a little snug and the 9E is a little loose. I have a pair of 9.5 D leydon lasted LWB and they fit great. I went with a 9.5D on the grant.
9.5 E in the Dalton and most all AE's
9D in the truebalance (almost perfect fit)
9.5 D in grant ( perfect fit)
9.5 D in leydon (perfect fit)
I wear 6.5D Barrie and the 7D Grants fits well for me (actually 6.5E also works fine). (dsmivtr)
If you size down 1/2 for barrie (say 10E to 9.5E), don't try to size down 1 and go wider (to 9EE) (kippy).
the best way to determine fit and comfort is to ensure that the ball of your foot is at the widest part of the shoes. some people may have short toes and some people may have longer toes but using that area as a reference point has always worked well for me. Also there is just a feel when you put on a pair of shoes if it feels slightly too large or slightly too tight. If you think it fits you well and is not causing any pain or slipping off when you lace them, then they are likely the right size.(MiniW)Edited by borderline - 3/12/12 at 7:56pm