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Taking the Cordovan plunge...

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've decided to give shell Cordovan's a shot and have narrowed it down to the Alden of Carmel Square Toe Norwegian and the RL Darlton Wingtip. Drastically different styles, but both are appropriate for my work environment. I'd go with the double outsole Alden's and not the Commando Soles. I prefer the Alden's styling, but the RL shoe is over $100 less expensive after discount... I'm leaning towards the Alden's and hoping to snag the RL's on sale later or maybe on ebay. Any input from SF'ers who own either or both shoes?
post #2 of 11
While I don't have the Norwegian front cordos from Alden of Carmel, they are very very very high on my wish list. If you are thinking of spending ~$500 on shoes they are likely the better buy b/c you can (as you say) get RLs on sale. That said, it depends on how flexible you want them to be. The RLs can work with a jeans look on weekends or with dress trousers to work. I would hesitate to pair them with anything but a heavy 'country' suit. The Aldens look (to me at least) slightly dressier than the RL wingtip cordo shoes due to the last shape. I'd also recommend looking at a pair of Alden norwegians at yr friendly neighborhood shoe shop to get a sense of their look - the ridge looks to me almost like melted wax - it is not the nice, contrast-stitched and linear look that you see with Italian calfskin shoes. None of this is to knock the Darltons. I got a pair on Ebay for about $300 a few weeks ago and love them. I also own the RL McCallum Chukkah (official boot of the SF). What is nice about Ralph's take on cordo is the brownish-red tone that the shoes have. I don't know if this is true for AoC, but the Alden cordo monkstraps that I own have a very uniform dark red color. They start to antique and look interesting with creasing and wear, but they are glossier and dressier at the outset and, assuming that you take care of them, will stay that way. The RL shoes start off with a bit more character and, even with polishing, keep a bit of color variation that the Aldens don't have. But hey, trying to figure out how to spend that $500 on shoes is a nice problem to have.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback. I'm in a business appropriate / business casual IT environment for a manufacturing company. Few opportunities to wear a suit, so that's not really part of the equation at this point, but it's nice to have the option with the Alden. Besides, I'm fairly suit deprived anyway, so I'm hoping either pair will go from office to weekend fairly seemlessly. Anyone else have any feedback on either shoe? Are there other brands / models I should investigate at this price point? Thanks.
post #4 of 11
well, if you're not wearing a suit, the norwegian probably gives you more flexibility with office wear to weekend wear, assuming a suit is not part of the equation.  although you won't be wrong with either. I own the Polo shell cordovan wingtip.  Fantastic shoe.  I haven't worn it yet, since I rarely dress up - there's no office dress code, and the mean tends to be sneakers, collared short sleeve polo style shirt, and jeans/khakis.  i usually wear shoes and dress pants/corduroy/khakis and a dress shirt.  i have quite a few norwegian fronts/alonquin fronts (sp?)/split toes/moc-toes that i rotate around.  the wingtips rotate in less often, even though i like them better. Edit: One more thing - I don't own the Alden Norwegian. My comments are merely directed to the fact that I find that the norwegian style goes better with office/weekend wear. You really can't go wrong with either shoe unless there is a fit issue (in which case, things will go wrong quickly).
post #5 of 11
If and when you decide to take the plunge, I would highly recommend Alden of Carmel. Adam Knott is the owner and I would recommend contacting him regarding size. He is very good at suggesting a size/style and will send the shoe(s) to you to try for size. He recommends the shoes be tried on carpet and be returned to him (if necessary) in the same condition as they were received. I've ordered shoes from him before that didn't quite fit and he never charged me postage for sending them out to me. His e-mail address is on the website www.alden-of-carmel.com If you can, see if he'll give you his phone number so you can converse more real time.
post #6 of 11
I'd argue that the norwegian-welted shoe looks a bit more formal. The wing tips are heavy (double soled) and don't look overly dressy with a pair of trousers. I would definitely be comfortable wearing them as weekend shoes. Do you already wear split-toe shoes? If so, then by all means go with them. But I'd argue that the wing tips are definitely not 'too dressy'.
post #7 of 11
If and when you decide to take the plunge, I would highly recommend Alden of Carmel.
I second the recommendation for Alden of Carmel and Adam Knott. He knows his stuff, and is a pleasure to deal with. As an aside, has anyone checked out the prices on his Alden Fan shoes containing Whiskey Shell Cordovan lately? Whiskey Shell must be pretty scarce, because the prices have skyrocketed (I think Alden Fan #1 is almost $600 now, and the Whiskey Shell loafers have gone from $495 to $540 since around the beginning of the year). Regards, Jeff
post #8 of 11
I have the Alden of Carmel square toe Norwegians. I wouldn't wear them with jeans, but they look good with just about anything else. Some of my favorite shoes.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have the Alden of Carmel square toe Norwegians. I wouldn't wear them with jeans, but they look good with just about anything else. Some of my favorite shoes.
Interesting... any particular reason why? I had hoped that the Alden's could make the transition to an occaisional jean shoe, particularly with darker denim and especially after they had aged a bit. Do you have the leather sole or the Commando sole? Does that make a difference in your opinion? Thanks.
post #10 of 11
Kai, how are your Lobb cordovans? Any impressions after some wear?
post #11 of 11
Both shoes are really nice but keep in mind that you can get Alden's refurbished to like new condition by sending them in along with $125.00. Not so easy with the the Polo shoes (C & J).
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