- Sep 30, 2014
- Reaction score
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.Anyone have both the AE Freeport and a pair of Alden Indy boots, how do they compare/contrast?
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.