Been really busy at work... tough to keep up with all of the posts the last few weeks.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
...and no, I am not a Buckeye. I do like their colors though.
I'm really in the mood to see some natural Chromexcel, myself.
I've ordered from NS before and have found them very responsive. What about calling them and reminding them that a 403 is a traditional stock item. I would think that, as an Alden retailer, they should be able to have a pair of 403s drop shipped to you from Alden directly. Alternatively, you could ask them to charge you the discounted price and then send them to you upon replenishment of their stock. Either way, best of luck in finding what you're looking for.
Your observation is correct. It seems like most of the folks posting are exclusively shell or 'almost' exclusively shell oriented. Some love their shell so much they won't consider calf anymore. When you see the depth and complexity (sounds like wine) of the Ravello, Cigar or #8 in some of the pics, it's easy to understand why.
I truly love my shell boots but I still love my calf and other leathers, particularly CXL. I lean towards a more casual look and prefer most of my boots to look worn-in, rather than new and shiny. I admire the beauty of shell but much of it is just too dressy looking for where my wardrobe is at or where I want it to be.
You're right, this is a shell-heavy thread. Folks do tend to post neat non-shell Aldens. I recall a healthy string of natty cxls by El Argentino around a year ago, for example. I've recently posted a number of non-shell boot acquisitions. I, for one, would love to see folks' non-shell shoes more. I'm actually wearing my burnished tan wingtip boots from JGilbert for the 2nd time in 3 days. I think they're comfy and very versatile for casual wear. So let's post more Aldens--shell and non-shell alike!!