Originally Posted by BootSpell
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.
I think Alden excels in cordovan, suede, and chromexcel, and casual calfskin boots and shoes (Indy Boots, J Gilbert wingtip boots, Tobacco Indy, J Crew tobacco longwing, etc). But for "regular calf," it seems like other brands have better workmanship and styling for the money. For example, I'm looking for a black calfskin balmoral oxford, and I'm not really considering the Alden Hampton model. Allen Edmonds offers a similar model (Park Avenue) at a lower price while other brands (Crockett and Jones on up) offer sleeker, better models at slightly higher prices. If others have better experiences with Alden's black and brown calfskin, please let me know.
EDIT - I do like almost all of the burnished tan calfskin models I have seen - I guess the J Crew longwings are in this category, as well as the J Gilbert tan wingtip boots, the "Obscura" models from a couple of years back, Alden stock shortwing bluchers, etc.