Originally Posted by docalden2013
I've really appreciated quite a number of the interesting posts and questions from the last couple of days...
For those of you who have bought fine footwear beyond Alden's offerings, where do you see Alden's place within the pantheon of nice shoes? Do you feel it covers all of your various shoe needs adequately or do you find yourself wishing they would branch in another aesthetic or functional direction (and I don't necessarily mean following AE in making god awful sneaker-like creations)?
For me, I like most Alden for their current aesthetic and cannot really think of a design I'd like to see them tackle that they do not currently do. I dress in what would probably be considered "trad" most days (3 roll 2 J. Press sack suit with USMC heraldry rep tie today) and find the shape of the Barrie and Van lasts compliment my style nicely. When I do venture outside of Alden, it's most often to Rancourt and Tricker's, so there really isn't even that much aesthetic variety in my closet. Another reason I generally stick to Alden (and Rancourt and Tricker's) is that they have many options that transition very easily from casual, to business casual, to business dress. I've seen some Vass and Edward Green that I really like as well, but the price is generally more than I'm willing to pay and they don't look like they would work in the casual settings as easily for me.
Corthay and G&G are interesting shoemakers to me - they make some absolutely gorgeous footwear but they are generally just too sleek for my tastes and I would probably not get much use out of them.
In the end for me, Alden seems to hit my sweet spot for cost, construction quality, aesthetics, versatility, and availability. IMO, Rancourt beats them on cost and availability but they are too casual; Tricker's is comparable to Alden on cost and may beat them on construction quality (it's a very close battle between the two for all the stuff I've handled from each), but loses out on versatility (I really only like their more casual or "country" lines) and availability here in the states, Vass often beats Alden on aesthetics and I'm sure the construction is great, but they lose out on price and availability for me... etc.
Alden may not be the best in every regard but they hit enough of the right marks to keep me coming back.Edited by Michigan Planner - 11/6/13 at 7:59am