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donkeyhoatie

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Anyone have both the AE Freeport and a pair of Alden Indy boots, how do they compare/contrast?
I've compared them before and everyone's fit and style opinions vary wildly, so this is just one Donkey's perspective. I own the brown snuff Freeports and the J Crew Indy in brown CXL.

To me, the Freeport is an underrated boot from AE that gets you about 90% of the way to Alden Indy at about 2/3 the price.

Fit-wise, the Freeport is pretty much exactly the same as an HM (which is a good fit to me). However, the Alden Indy fits my foot shape better than anything else I've come across. I wear AE's 1757 last in 11.5 D and the Trubalance Indy in 11 D. I get slightly better closure with the Indy than with the 1757, even at the 1/2 size down.

Here's what I think the Freeport has going for it, besides the pricing advantage:
• All 4 standard versions are weatherproof
• For as bulky as the lug sole looks, it's actually pretty lightweight and much more durable than expected so you can do "boot stuff" in these boots.
• The Freeport is just a touch higher than the Indy. Overall, I like where the Indy hits, height-wise, but having an extra bit of height on boots that can see some bad weather is always a plus to me.
• 360-degree welt vs. the Indy's 270 (I know, there are plenty of Indy makeups with a full 360, but I'm talking about the standard version).

Here's what I think works against the Freeport
• Lack of color options. To me, the brown snuff suede version is the best look overall, followed by the natty CXL. I'm not really fond of the caper suede look and I really don't like the black CXL look either, so there are are really only 2 versions of the boot I'd consider, outside of a trunk show. I thought the black lug sole on the snuff would make the snuff boot look too "heavy," for lack of a better term, but I think in real life it has the best balanced look out of the 4 options. Alden, with all their different iterations of the Indy has a real leg up here, but that's what happens when you have decades of a head-start.
• Lack of sole choices. If you don't want a lug sole, you're SOL. A lower-profile sole, like a Dainite or v-tread would significantly change the look for the better.
• The tongue tag. I know this is a real sore spot for a lot of people. Just the idea of wearing "branded" footwear doesn't sit well with some. In reality, the branded tongue is never seen, thanks to the laces and pant legs. But, some people can't get over that mental hurdle. I would prefer that it wasn't there (it's an added production cost, an extraneous waste of material, and doesn't add any true branding benefit outside of some beauty shots for promo pieces), but it is, and I'm OK with it in the grand scheme of things.
• Quality of materials. Really, this is in reference to the CXL versions and is strictly anecdotal. I feel like AE's CXL is a touch thicker than Alden's. I personally don't think it's a good thing as they feel thicker, but don't break in quite as well as the Alden version. I love the CXL HMs that I have, but there's a night-and-day difference to me between them and the CXL that's used on my Indy boots. Maybe the thicker CXL makes them more durable in the long run, but the thinner Alden CXL has not led to any extra damage.
 

MajorDash

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I've compared them before and everyone's fit and style opinions vary wildly, so this is just one Donkey's perspective. I own the brown snuff Freeports and the J Crew Indy in brown CXL.

To me, the Freeport is an underrated boot from AE that gets you about 90% of the way to Alden Indy at about 2/3 the price.

Fit-wise, the Freeport is pretty much exactly the same as an HM (which is a good fit to me). However, the Alden Indy fits my foot shape better than anything else I've come across. I wear AE's 1757 last in 11.5 D and the Trubalance Indy in 11 D. I get slightly better closure with the Indy than with the 1757, even at the 1/2 size down.

Here's what I think the Freeport has going for it, besides the pricing advantage:
• All 4 standard versions are weatherproof
• For as bulky as the lug sole looks, it's actually pretty lightweight and much more durable than expected so you can do "boot stuff" in these boots.
• The Freeport is just a touch higher than the Indy. Overall, I like where the Indy hits, height-wise, but having an extra bit of height on boots that can see some bad weather is always a plus to me.
• 360-degree welt vs. the Indy's 270 (I know, there are plenty of Indy makeups with a full 360, but I'm talking about the standard version).

Here's what I think works against the Freeport
• Lack of color options. To me, the brown snuff suede version is the best look overall, followed by the natty CXL. I'm not really fond of the caper suede look and I really don't like the black CXL look either, so there are are really only 2 versions of the boot I'd consider, outside of a trunk show. I thought the black lug sole on the snuff would make the snuff boot look too "heavy," for lack of a better term, but I think in real life it has the best balanced look out of the 4 options. Alden, with all their different iterations of the Indy has a real leg up here, but that's what happens when you have decades of a head-start.
• Lack of sole choices. If you don't want a lug sole, you're SOL. A lower-profile sole, like a Dainite or v-tread would significantly change the look for the better.
• The tongue tag. I know this is a real sore spot for a lot of people. Just the idea of wearing "branded" footwear doesn't sit well with some. In reality, the branded tongue is never seen, thanks to the laces and pant legs. But, some people can't get over that mental hurdle. I would prefer that it wasn't there (it's an added production cost, an extraneous waste of material, and doesn't add any true branding benefit outside of some beauty shots for promo pieces), but it is, and I'm OK with it in the grand scheme of things.
• Quality of materials. Really, this is in reference to the CXL versions and is strictly anecdotal. I feel like AE's CXL is a touch thicker than Alden's. I personally don't think it's a good thing as they feel thicker, but don't break in quite as well as the Alden version. I love the CXL HMs that I have, but there's a night-and-day difference to me between them and the CXL that's used on my Indy boots. Maybe the thicker CXL makes them more durable in the long run, but the thinner Alden CXL has not led to any extra damage.

The Freeport does look better with a different sole such as my pair with double JR, but it wasn’t designed to be made with a different sole. The boot without the lug sole has a ‘strange’ feeling characteristic to it. Not bad, but it feels unlike any of my other boots one 201, 65, and 1757 with a variety of different soles.

I think the suede versions are a great buy, especially on sale, but I agree with just skipping the CXL versions for the real Indy instead.

CC5D0DCA-625A-460A-9129-C0C1D3A98955.jpeg
 

donkeyhoatie

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The Freeport does look better with a different sole such as my pair with double JR, but it wasn’t designed to be made with a different sole. The boot without the lug sole has a ‘strange’ feeling characteristic to it. Not bad, but it feels unlike any of my other boots one 201, 65, and 1757 with a variety of different soles.

I think the suede versions are a great buy, especially on sale, but I agree with just skipping the CXL versions for the real Indy instead.

View attachment 1822776
I really like your makeup with the natty shell and JR sole. To me, the lower-profile sole skews much closer to a traditional Indy with the neocork sole (which is what I have), but might not look right to some who prefer their Indy with a lug sole. And, yeah, I totally agree with your assessment that the suedes are collectively a better choice for Freeports than their CXL counterparts.

Took a few minutes to snap some incredibly lame comparison shots.
IMG_6148.jpg


CXL Indy with neocork sole 1sts, suede Freeport with lug sole Shoebank 2nds, and shell HM with v-tread sole from an early Trunk Show. I'm a big fan of the v-tread and wish AE would use it more on boots. All of these are great for doing boot stuff. To be fair, if I'm doing super-duper workboot stuff, I go with a pair of steel toe Thorogoods, but these all see plenty of time out in the wild/garage/yard/bordello/whatever.

IMG_6149.jpg


Realizing now that the slight height difference I'd always perceived between the two is most likely due to the sole, and not the structure.

IMG_6150.jpg


Top-down look. The Freeport doesn't fit as narrow as the image implies, but that Indy definitely has a nice, wide forefront.

Hoping this convinces my fellow Illinois boot-brother @audog to give the snuff Freeports a shot. There are some seconds available in the sale right now for $244 after discounts. To me, that's a pretty great price, if you're OK with seconds.
 

bluejazzmonkey

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I really like your makeup with the natty shell and JR sole. To me, the lower-profile sole skews much closer to a traditional Indy with the neocork sole (which is what I have), but might not look right to some who prefer their Indy with a lug sole. And, yeah, I totally agree with your assessment that the suedes are collectively a better choice for Freeports than their CXL counterparts.

Took a few minutes to snap some incredibly lame comparison shots.
View attachment 1822780

CXL Indy with neocork sole 1sts, suede Freeport with lug sole Shoebank 2nds, and shell HM with v-tread sole from an early Trunk Show. I'm a big fan of the v-tread and wish AE would use it more on boots. All of these are great for doing boot stuff. To be fair, if I'm doing super-duper workboot stuff, I go with a pair of steel toe Thorogoods, but these all see plenty of time out in the wild/garage/yard/bordello/whatever.

View attachment 1822781

Realizing now that the slight height difference I'd always perceived between the two is most likely due to the sole, and not the structure.

View attachment 1822782

Top-down look. The Freeport doesn't fit as narrow as the image implies, but that Indy definitely has a nice, wide forefront.

Hoping this convinces my fellow Illinois boot-brother @audog to give the snuff Freeports a shot. There are some seconds available in the sale right now for $244 after discounts. To me, that's a pretty great price, if you're OK with seconds.

My nasty shoe brother,
You put out some nice comparison information. We appreciate that shit.
I gifted my Indy boots to my little brother (due to the shit fit and they fell like bricks).
@audog - I will NEVER waste my street corner money on another pair of Indy boots.

The Freeport fit is amazing, so our upcoming TS will be pushing HM or Freeport.
p.s. I love the Allen Edmonds Freeport and I love you.
 
Last edited:

bluejazzmonkey

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The Freeport does look better with a different sole such as my pair with double JR, but it wasn’t designed to be made with a different sole. The boot without the lug sole has a ‘strange’ feeling characteristic to it. Not bad, but it feels unlike any of my other boots one 201, 65, and 1757 with a variety of different soles.

I think the suede versions are a great buy, especially on sale, but I agree with just skipping the CXL versions for the real Indy instead.

View attachment 1822776



This is the one that got away. I want this boot.
 

JFWR

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The Freeport is actually a decent looking boot in certain forms, but the problem is this:

It's an imitation.

An Indy boot is the real deal. A Freeport is a knockoff. I love AE, but they specifically made this boot to be "like an Indy!" and that screams of knockoffishness.

They did a better job with the Sullivan being a substitute for the Galway from Edward Green.
 

EdwardWilson

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When do you ever wear non-Mac Neils?

I don't think I ever have seen you not wear Mac Neils.

I saw you on the nudist beach, naked as the day you were born, but those feet? Still in Mac Neils
You also saw me in the sauna at the tennis club, still in Mac Neils. Doing laps at the pool, still in Mac Neils. Playing ice hockey, still in Mac Neils. That one time you caught me in bed with a certain, unnamed, forum member’s wife, still in Mac Neils.

I have downsized my non-Mac Neil collection because no other model is nearly as comfortable. On nights out I will often wear walnut Liverpools and the fall and winter the Long Branches get a lot of use. Because I no longer have access to an AE store I’m hesitant to order other models.

I feel fairly confident that all my future AE purchases will be through eBay or Poshmark, unless a shell Mac Neil is offered at this year’s trunk show.

Very little of what AE is currently offering gives me much inspiration. I loathe the sneakers and the lug soles on dress shoes. I was impressed with the football leather Higgins Mill and re-release of the Cambridge, but I might wait for the October sale rather than paying full price.
 

JFWR

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You also saw me in the sauna at the tennis club, still in Mac Neils. Doing laps at the pool, still in Mac Neils. Playing ice hockey, still in Mac Neils. That one time you caught me in bed with a certain, unnamed, forum member’s wife, still in Mac Neils.
LOL. Ah, this is clearly the new trend for our future conversations.

I have downsized my non-Mac Neil collection because no other model is nearly as comfortable. On nights out I will often wear walnut Liverpools and the fall and winter the Long Branches get a lot of use. Because I no longer have access to an AE store I’m hesitant to order other models.

I feel fairly confident that all my future AE purchases will be through eBay or Poshmark, unless a shell Mac Neil is offered at this year’s trunk show.

Very little of what AE is currently offering gives me much inspiration. I loathe the sneakers and the lug soles on dress shoes. I was impressed with the football leather Higgins Mill and re-release of the Cambridge, but I might wait for the October sale rather than paying full price.
The Mac Neil is a beautiful shoe that represents AE's best effort in a classic of men's dress shoe wear: the LWB. It really is a quintessential gunboat, and with Florsheim being crap and Alden's offerings being way more expensive, I'd say it is probably the finest LWB around, or at least, was the finest LWB around given it is currently in that limbo of "sometimes in production, sometimes not". I would very much like the Mac Neil to return at full strength.

I feel the same way about the sneakers and lug soles on dress shoes. Lug soles belong on boots - I can't do a Park Ave with a lug sole, as it's the equivalent of putting monster truck wheels on a Rolls Royce.

The Cambridge is a nice shoe, but the Chester was the best shortwinged brogue AE ever released and they need to bring it back. Much more elegant pattern. In fact, I'd love if they released a Strandchester with a cap toe in a similar design and last.

The football grain would've gotten me if they didn't fumble just before the goal line with the Duke catastrophe. Plus, honestly, I just don't have much need for those shoes. I even turned down a pair from @smfdoc of the real stuff, as I am 2broke4football, I am afraid, just before the academic season starts.
 

MajorDash

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The Freeport is actually a decent looking boot in certain forms, but the problem is this:

It's an imitation.

An Indy boot is the real deal. A Freeport is a knockoff. I love AE, but they specifically made this boot to be "like an Indy!" and that screams of knockoffishness.

They did a better job with the Sullivan being a substitute for the Galway from Edward Green.

It is an imitation, but good luck getting a natty shell machine stitched Indy. Or a marbled black.
 

JFWR

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It is an imitation, but good luck getting a natty shell machine stitched Indy. Or a marbled black.
Natty shell is not my thing, though natty CXL was offered by Alden Madison at a sale just last year.

Marbled black definitely not my thing, as I have the sneaking suspicion marbled anything is just "ruined shells", because you get the weird, rotten watermelon look if you aren't lucky.
 

MajorDash

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Natty shell is not my thing, though natty CXL was offered by Alden Madison at a sale just last year.

Marbled black definitely not my thing, as I have the sneaking suspicion marbled anything is just "ruined shells", because you get the weird, rotten watermelon look if you aren't lucky.

You've clearly not seen the marbled burgundy, navy, or chili.
 

bluejazzmonkey

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The Freeport is actually a decent looking boot in certain forms, but the problem is this:

It's an imitation.

An Indy boot is the real deal. A Freeport is a knockoff. I love AE, but they specifically made this boot to be "like an Indy!" and that screams of knockoffishness.

They did a better job with the Sullivan being a substitute for the Galway from Edward Green.

Wtf.
Come on.
Everything is imitation.

Mr Perfect----
Do you own a pair of Indy boots or Freeport boots??






Edit: Thank you @audog
or we can get an opinion from the man that only wears MacNeil shoes...
 
Last edited:

ProfilaBinding

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Natty shell is not my thing, though natty CXL was offered by Alden Madison at a sale just last year.

Marbled black definitely not my thing, as I have the sneaking suspicion marbled anything is just "ruined shells", because you get the weird, rotten watermelon look if you aren't lucky.
I love watermelon shell (when it's not all black), but this comment gave me a good grin today.

Would be really cool if AE ever offers reverse black shell like they did for one pair only.
 

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