@ j170115 - I actually much prefer the JR, double oak soles to the double waterlock soles. I love the heavier, more stable feeling of the double leather oak tanned soles
@ MWS - Not sure why they would be a more casual sole as you can't really see the soles like you could with commandos. Also, the traditional double leather soles eventually turn pretty dark underneath. LS has made the "attorney shoe," a captoe bal with single water lock soles. They seem to be pretty dressy. I might be misunderstanding your point though. Hope all has been going well for you my friend... RTP
I'm speaking strictly traditionally. I'm not saying there aren't exceptions, as there are countless combinations that these boutique shoe shops have now had made up given the popularity of menswear in recent years.
However, traditionally speaking, an oil soaked sole is going to fall into a more casual category than a traditional oak tanned sole simply because of it's appearance. You are right that if the edge trim is black, then most people will never notice. However, there are still those who cross their legs and show their soles, even though it isn't "couth". It isn't a deal breaker on any shoe, and I didn't mean it that way. Rather, if I had three pairs of black captoes lined up, which were all the same, with the exception of the sole, and one had an oak tanned sole with black edge trim and black finishing on the bottom (where it doesn't touch the ground), one had traditional oak tanned soles, and one had the rich brown oil soaked soles, I would rank their formality in the order I listed them.
I was answering the OP's question on why Alden doesn't use oiled leather soles on all their shoes. It certainly wouldn't hurt to have them on most shoes, assuming you like them.