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The Official Alden Thread for 2021 - Share Reviews, Sizing, Advice, and Photos.

Crizzlelovesyou

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This is the Alden thread so this will be blasphemy, but I've been down the road of hunting rare shell Aldens and have acquired them new in 1/2 size too small or too big or used, and value/money isn't worth it unless you start with the correct size in a suitable last and let the insole mould to YOUR feet. If you're going to "shell out" for rare shell, IMHO most expedient way is to consider other brands.

Carmina and C&J are at least on par with Alden and available at a similar price point in whiskey/cigar/ravello equivalent shades and both use Horween shell. My C&J Marlows in brown shell are the most comfortable and well-built shoes I've ever worn and IMO are superior to Alden PTB. C&J "dark brown" looks like Alden cigar. Carmina uses "Armagnac" shell which looks somewhere between ravello and cigar with olive undertones. Saddle shell looks like whiskey but with more orange undertones.

I also had a good experience ordering custom boots in horween armagnac shell from Rozsnyai in Hungary. They're very helpful and responsive on email and offer custom make-ups at Alden price point.

Enzo Bonafe in horween mohagany shell also looks fantastic but I don't have any direct experience.
If anyone is curious, Ravello and Cigar are the only exclusive shell colors. Every other Horween Shell color isn't exclusive to any maker (I thought Chili was an AE exclusive, but its just Garnet actually and Walnut is gone forever.)

These are standard horween shell colors:
Black

Color 8

Dark Cognac

Green

Bourbon

Natural

Marbled Black

Marbled Color 8


And the "rare" colors in production now are:
Amaretto, Armagnac and Garnet.

Brandy, Color 6, Color 16, Calvados, Ivywood, Gunmetal, and Saddle are not in production or planned currently. Carmina may have some Saddle left though.

I didn't ask about any blue shades or old bronze because I forgot honestly.

That's current as of last week.

Honestly I just wanted an excuse to post this.

Oh and color 2 and color 4 go in and out all the time, but no word on when more would be made available. Some manufacturers may have some stuff stored and some leather suppliers may have other stuff on the shelves from past runs.
 

Thrift Couture

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Ok, last one. Rare in the wild shot, including hideous waiting room carpet. Also, probably one of the few chances to rock my cream RRL cords. Lbvs! :bigstar:
D8CB42E8-C687-4350-89C3-0501A2E026D6.jpeg
 
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broiler

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such a vague self-serving statement.
???

I responded to your question in good faith in an attempt to share my experiences and be helpful. I have no affiliation with any vendor or brand but have been wearing shell shoes for about 10 years starting with Allen Edmonds and then Alden. Spent 5+ years looking for new Alden cigar chukkas in 8D before concluding I was better off looking at other brands.

But YMMV. Good luck.
 
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broiler

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If anyone is curious, Ravello and Cigar are the only exclusive shell colors. Every other Horween Shell color isn't exclusive to any maker (I thought Chili was an AE exclusive, but its just Garnet actually and Walnut is gone forever.)

These are standard horween shell colors:
Black

Color 8

Dark Cognac

Green

Bourbon

Natural

Marbled Black

Marbled Color 8


And the "rare" colors in production now are:
Amaretto, Armagnac and Garnet.

Brandy, Color 6, Color 16, Calvados, Ivywood, Gunmetal, and Saddle are not in production or planned currently. Carmina may have some Saddle left though.

I didn't ask about any blue shades or old bronze because I forgot honestly.

That's current as of last week.

Honestly I just wanted an excuse to post this.

Oh and color 2 and color 4 go in and out all the time, but no word on when more would be made available. Some manufacturers may have some stuff stored and some leather suppliers may have other stuff on the shelves from past runs.

I'd add that some overseas retailers have odd stock in older shell colors. Last year I purchased an ivywood shell belt from a German online retailer that pairs very well with my Carmina saddle, C&J dark brown and Rosznyai armagnac shell footwear.

Color #4 has always been my grail shell color (never scored any) but ivywood is fantastic - kind of a darkish whiskey with olive undertones:

1618414856073.png
 
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BackInTheJox

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???

I responded to your question in good faith in an attempt to share my experiences and be helpful. I have no affiliation with any vendor or brand but have been wearing shell shoes for about 10 years starting with Allen Edmonds and then Alden. Spent 5+ years looking for new Alden cigar chukkas in 8D before concluding I was better off looking at other brands.

But YMMV. Good luck.
I think he was referring to fattybfat's account of the Alden retailer's "vague self serving statement" about having to spend enough to become a local VIP. I have to agree as someone who was "late" to the Alden game (~2016/2017) that the attitude of "sorry, you have to spend a ton with one retailer just to be allowed to even ask about rare shell" is kind of a turn off for the brand, despite my love of many of the shoes/boots.

Add that to the fact that although I probably own 20+ pairs of Alden, I have never spent a ton at any single retailer as there is such a wide variety of make ups available through many different avenues (again, a positive for Alden).

The Shoe Mart does a good job of allowing peasants like me to be eligible for rare shell. And sometimes you get lucky with a "right place right time" kind of thing. Otherwise, it's more of a "the rich get richer" scenario with Alden rare shell. And I can understand it to some degree (only so much to go around, so give long term/high volume buyers preference), but it's otherwise a silly exercise in exclusivity.
 

BackInTheJox

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Then again, I have 3 different pairs of natty CXL Indy boots that are still BNIB in the bags. Maybe that will become the new currency when the nuclear holocaust comes!
 

broiler

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I think he was referring to fattybfat's account of the Alden retailer's "vague self serving statement" about having to spend enough to become a local VIP. I have to agree as someone who was "late" to the Alden game (~2016/2017) that the attitude of "sorry, you have to spend a ton with one retailer just to be allowed to even ask about rare shell" is kind of a turn off for the brand, despite my love of many of the shoes/boots.

Add that to the fact that although I probably own 20+ pairs of Alden, I have never spent a ton at any single retailer as there is such a wide variety of make ups available through many different avenues (again, a positive for Alden).

The Shoe Mart does a good job of allowing peasants like me to be eligible for rare shell. And sometimes you get lucky with a "right place right time" kind of thing. Otherwise, it's more of a "the rich get richer" scenario with Alden rare shell. And I can understand it to some degree (only so much to go around, so give long term/high volume buyers preference), but it's otherwise a silly exercise in exclusivity.
Very sorry, broiler, I was referring to the retailer's answer that OP may, one day, become a "VIP." Your input was great and I messed up the quote.

Ah, my bad. Couldn't agree more with your post. Used to live 5 miles from the Shoe Mart in Norwalk and got my first Alden shell there - agree they were very accessible for us peasant non-VIPs.
 

Crizzlelovesyou

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I think he was referring to fattybfat's account of the Alden retailer's "vague self serving statement" about having to spend enough to become a local VIP. I have to agree as someone who was "late" to the Alden game (~2016/2017) that the attitude of "sorry, you have to spend a ton with one retailer just to be allowed to even ask about rare shell" is kind of a turn off for the brand, despite my love of many of the shoes/boots.

Add that to the fact that although I probably own 20+ pairs of Alden, I have never spent a ton at any single retailer as there is such a wide variety of make ups available through many different avenues (again, a positive for Alden).

The Shoe Mart does a good job of allowing peasants like me to be eligible for rare shell. And sometimes you get lucky with a "right place right time" kind of thing. Otherwise, it's more of a "the rich get richer" scenario with Alden rare shell. And I can understand it to some degree (only so much to go around, so give long term/high volume buyers preference), but it's otherwise a silly exercise in exclusivity.
Its never bugged me that Alden rare shell is rare, but more so that they have Ravello and Cigar as exclusives. You really can't get Cigar or Ravello any other way. Though I still wonder what the Middleborough/Middleboro shell is and why its named after the same town Alden is from.
 

trg12

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but more so that they have Ravello and Cigar as exclusives. You really can't get Cigar or Ravello any other way
So Grant Stone Maduro and C&J Dark Brown are in fact different leathers? I have a pair of Ludwig Reiter in dark brown shell that also looks and fades like the Alden cigar I know.
 

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