Great question - and replies.
I'd be happy if they'd just offer more #4 - an NST boot would be great, or perhaps a LWB.
+1 on Alden SFO service. I am lucky to be near enough this store to fit. As we all know Alden lasts are notoriously difficult to make sense of. My first ever Alden is the 990. Robert asked me my typical shoe size and brought out 4 pairs of 990s for me to try. He kept on asking me to wear different pairs and I every time he put a different shoe on, I kept asking him what size I was wearing. Every time we would say, "I'm not going to tell you. Just tell me which one you can walk out with today that feels great on your feet." Sure enough, what I ended up feeling comfortable with was totally unexpected, and I've never had a better fitting shoe.
I was at Alden SF and was helped by Robert as well. I tried on the #8 straight tip on the Grant last. Robert didn't say anything about being careful creasing, etc. I was the one who told him I'd be careful and asked him how he dealt with the situation. He seemed not too concerned and I got the impression that they definitely are the other extreme from say A of C. There was a German tourist trying on some #8 shoes and he was walking, bending, etc. and the other SA didn't seem to mind.
I guess they get enough customers who aren't as concerned with creases as some of us are that it's not a problem. Anyway, great staff, creat customer service.
Yeah, I did ask Robert about people fitting shell after I knew him better (visited more than once). He cringes. The store is carpeted wall to wall and they won't object you walking around. But knowing what we know about shell, I wouldn't abuse the privilege. Just remember that you're not breaking them in. You want to ensure that these people can still sell the shoes since it is how they make their living. Besides, you would know rather quickly if the shoes are a good fit or not. If you're convincing yourself that it's a good fit, then it probably isn't. Another Robertism - "Your feet are not going to change, and assume the shoes aren't going to change much either. They fit or they don't." I'm being liberal about quoting him because this probably isn't precise, but you get the point.
Unionmade is a bus ride away from Market. Brooks Brothers has a big store in Post which is the parallel street from Alden (Sutter). If you are a Carmina fan, don't forget Wilkes Bashford has a big presence in Sutter. I haven't been there. Just recently got myself acquainted to Carmina. But will definitely stop by next time I'm in the City.
Thank you gents! @El, if by unknown you mean underrated, I certainly agree. @Beetlegeuse, I want the tan suede LWB! Other than the blue suede short or longwing bluchers, not sure if there are others for which I would be interested.