While you guys probably don't care about the shoes I've bought during my life, especially since they are far from exotic or esoteric; it's an interesting 50 year retrospective for me and I thought I'd tell you about it nevertheless. I recently lost my mother and when I was going through her stuff, I found my baby shoes. That got me thinking about the significance of shoes, and although I've never been someone who really cared about shoes, I realized that I remembered surprisingly much about the ones I've had and bought. Although I was only four years-old, I somehow vividly remember my mother taking me to Potter's in Cincinnati, Ohio to get Buster Brown shoes. That went on for a couple of years then, all of a sudden, I have no memory at all of what shoes I had. Around 3rd grade, it all comes back again, and I remember calling the store every day to see if the PF Flyers in my size had come in yet. They finally did and we rushed down to get them. Not long after that, I moved on to Thom Mcan penny loafers and light blue Levi's cords. The stitching on the soles wore off rather quickly and the soles separated from the uppers, but I kept wanting more; much to the chagrin of my father. A couple of years later, I played on the soccer team and that trip with my friend to Broward Sports in Fort Lauderdale to get a pair of soccer shoes is so clear in my mind. We couldn't wait to get home, put them on and run around the neighborhood. We didn't even have a soccer ball, but that didn't make a difference. I also fondly remember a pair of white Adidas shoes with three red stripes. As I was about to enter high school, my parents decided I needed a pair of black dress shoes and we went all out and got some Florsheims. They weren't a classic style, nor one of their top-of-the-line models, but I still thought I had hit the big time. For days, I'd pick them up and smell the leather. As I settled into high school, it turned out what I really needed were desert boots and Wallabees; so that's what I wore, although some were knock-offs, rather than the genuine article. As I was about to graduate, Sperry Top-Siders became all the rage; so I bought some of those. When I arrived at college in North Carolina, I found most everyone wearing LL Bean duck shoes, even when the weather didn't call for such. Once those became too common, people moved on to the LL Bean blucher moccasin. I was no exception and bought them both. For dressier occasions, Bass Weejuns were the shoe of choice. Yep, I bought those too (as well as the LL Bean version.) As graduation loomed near, I needed an interview shoe. A few guys (very few) had a really nice looking tassel loafer, but I didn't know what it was or where it came from; nor did I really care. I wound up with a Johnston & Murphy shoe that, at the time, seemed to be of high quality. I didn't wind up with the best job, but I'm not going to blame the shoe for that. After a few years, I got a better job offer in Atlanta. I'll never forget walking around downtown Atlanta during my apartment hunting trip there. It was the biggest city I'd ever been in and to know that I would be working in the middle of it was unbelievably exciting. I walked into Brooks Brothers and there were those shoes that a few of those college guys had. Just as poor kids perceive coins to be larger than they really are, I saw this shoe as the greatest thing ever. After I settled into Atlanta, I learned that the Brooks Brother shoe was actually an Alden shoe and I bought a couple of pair, albeit at Jos Bank where they were a little less expensive. As time went on, the only dress shoes I bought were Alden's. Even graduating to shell cordovan, though, was not as exciting as the first time I saw these shoes at Brooks Brothers. During this time I was also buying Coach leather - accessories for me and purses for my girlfriend. Sara Lee eventually bought Coach and ruined it. I used to worry that Alden would go the same way, but fortunately they never did. My work environment became more casual over time and I found myself, somewhat sad to say, no longer having a need for the kind of shoe that Alden sold. So, I started buying shoes such as Cole Haan and a Brooks line that was made by Sebago. As more time went by, I started seeing a lot of a new kind of shoe - the kind sold by Born, Merrell and Josef Seibel. Although I'm not too fond of them, I did buy two pair of Born shoes and I'll admit they are pretty comfortable. I've never had an overly keen interest in shoes and over the last few years, interests in other areas have put them even further on the back burner. I still have six pairs of Alden shoes but most of them have recently become a little tight - a 15 pound weight gain probably had something to do with that. Looking for some new dress shoes is what brought me to this forum. I wondered how the downturn in the economy and the increasing casual nature of business may have taken its toll on Alden, but I'm pleased to see that Alden is alive and well. Spending quite a bit of time on this site has been a wonderful experience. I've learned a lot and I've seen some beautiful shoes. So, what's next in my evolution of shoe buying? I definitely want a pair Alden Shells in Cigar or Whiskey. I'll probably pass on any of the fine European shoes that I've learned about here. I may even go full circle and buy another pair of desert boots. I even bought a pair of Chuck Taylor's that I missed the first time around in the 70's. I'm sure that many of you have a far more glorious history with shoes than I do and hopefully some will choose to share those stories. If you're still here after all that I've written, thank you for your interest in my humble story.