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

Bavo

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As someone else later to the game on Alden collecting (really didn't take off until 2018 or so), I've had a lot of luck the past couple of years on expanding my exotic stable. My $0.02 is that there aren't really as many high spend VIP only exotic retailers as people sometimes make it out to be (but there certainly are a couple). For shops without fully open lists, it's moreso cultivating a relationship with that retailer than anything else. Yes, one way to build on that relationship is obviously by buying a bunch of stuff from them but I can't even say how many pairs I've acquired just by regularly keeping in touch with retailers or just asking at the right time, and these are mostly shops where I haven't placed a ton of orders.

Even the larger retailers will only get an exotic allocation every few months (and smaller shops may go years in between) and if you don't put some effort into staying in touch with them from time to time, their run is likely going to be filled by the time they remember that random guy who bought one pair from them over a year ago and then never reached out since.
It took me a while to learn that many of the retailers who sell Aldens and are listed among their stockists never do special make-ups or have anything exotic. In my experience, most of these shops are wonderful places with great service, but they have only the full array of loafers, a nice bal and maybe longwings and are not interested in selling anything beyond that.
 

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.
In the interest of scoring rare shell colors, do you have a strong opinion on Horween vs. Comipel? A major appeal of Alden rare shell is the translucent patina that Horween rare shades (in particular) take on.

I understand Grant Stone and Trickers use comipel but I've never seen them in person. Based only on online research, I believe Shinki shell can achieve the translucent patina but is thinner and less durable than Horween. I also note that C&J, Carmina and Enzo Bonafe still choose Horween over comipel.

The one data point I have is my custom order with Rozsnyai. Over email, Sandor told me he generally uses comipel which he found to be cheaper but of similar quality and more readily available in rare colors. However, he offered and I accepted a premium to special order Horween armagnac because I wanted the translucent patina and he believed that would be more evident in Horween than comipel shell.
 

stook1

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In the interest of scoring rare shell colors, do you have a strong opinion on Horween vs. Comipel? A major appeal of Alden rare shell is the translucent patina that Horween rare shades (in particular) take on.

I understand Grant Stone and Trickers use comipel but I've never seen them in person. Based only on online research, I believe Shinki shell can achieve the translucent patina but is thinner and less durable than Horween. I also note that European brands like C&J, Carmina and Enzo Bonafe still choose Horween over comipel.

The one data point I have is my custom order with Rozsnyai. Over email, Sandor told me he generally uses comipel which he found to be cheaper but of similar quality and more readily available in rare colors. However, he offered and I accepted a premium to special order Horween armagnac because I wanted the translucent patina and he believed that would be more evident in Horween than comipel shell.
I have 3 experiences with comipel Rocado all in unusual colors. It's okay but in my personal opinion it really doesn't hold a candle to horween. Comipel Rocado seems flatter to me and, in one case, I had a not so great experience with the color fading quickly and in an unpleasant way (this is on their ocean blue color). I ended up redying that piece myself and my own dye work has held up flawlessly for FAR longer. YMMV.

Overall, I dont think it's a bad option but given the choice between horween and comipel Rocado I def prefer horween. No personal experience with shinki or some of the other small tanneries.

By the way Grant Stone uses Horween. Trickers has very rarely also used Horween.

ETA: I think I mixed up Rocado and Comipel. I don't think I have ever had Comipel. Apologies for the error and editing my post.
 
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broiler

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I have 3 experiences with comipel all in unusual colors. It's okay but in my personal opinion it really doesn't hold a candle to horween. Comipel seems flatter to me and, in one case, I had a not so great experience with the color fading quickly and in an unpleasant way (this is on their ocean blue color). I ended up redying that piece myself and my own dye work has held up flawlessly for FAR longer. YMMV.

Overall, I dont think it's a bad option but given the choice between horween and comipel I def prefer horween. No personal experience with shinki or some of the other small tanneries.

By the way Grant Stone uses Horween. Trickers has very rarely also used Horween.
Great to know thanks. I consider myself a practical man and I'd happily pay less if the same patina could be had with comipel. But even with Horween, at least IME Allen Edmonds shell looks less impressive than Alden and my Carmina saddle shell has nowhere near the patina of my C&J dark brown or armagnac shell.
 

Crizzlelovesyou

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In the interest of scoring rare shell colors, do you have a strong opinion on Horween vs. Comipel? A major appeal of Alden rare shell is the translucent patina that Horween rare shades (in particular) take on.

I understand Grant Stone and Trickers use comipel but I've never seen them in person. Based only on online research, I believe Shinki shell can achieve the translucent patina but is thinner and less durable than Horween. I also note that C&J, Carmina and Enzo Bonafe still choose Horween over comipel.

The one data point I have is my custom order with Rozsnyai. Over email, Sandor told me he generally uses comipel which he found to be cheaper but of similar quality and more readily available in rare colors. However, he offered and I accepted a premium to special order Horween armagnac because I wanted the translucent patina and he believed that would be more evident in Horween than comipel shell.
Of the 8 different Shell Cordovan tanneries that I'm aware of and their uses in footwear, the overwhelming majority of noteworthy and high end brands use Horween. Personally I have Horween and Shinki shell, though my Rocado shell should ship this week and my Cloe shell should be shipped by the end of the month. Horween only uses Aniline dyes which is a big part of how it ages. Tricker's is the only major brand I can think of that uses Comipel (but they use Clayton/Spire and Horween shells in special GMTOs.) I'm sure there are more. From what I've seen in photos the next best aging shell after Horween may be Cloe which is the newest of all the tanneries, but I'll know better after I get my pair in and put some real wear on them.

Edit: also to note GS switched to Horween
 

stook1

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Great to know thanks. I consider myself a practical man and I'd happily pay less if the same patina could be had with comipel. But even with Horween, at least IME Allen Edmonds shell looks less impressive than Alden and my Carmina saddle shell has nowhere near the patina of my C&J dark brown or armagnac shell.
At least based upon my experience, I don't think there's much of a difference in the aging properties of Horween shell from any of the makers you listed other than probably Alden. I think C&J may use more colored polish on their shell from the factory. I can tell you that I stripped a TON of it off my Harlechs when they were brand new. Perhaps that's a factor in your perception of the color change?

To me, Alden is really the odd duck in that they so heavily process their shell. Everyone else seems to be within a relatively tight range and the differences seem to be more at the margins. AE for example, tends to burnish a lot of their shell but limited to the toes (not really a fan of that). Carmina uses some kind of polish at the factory but I don't get the sense it's tinted. I am pretty curious to know what they use since I like it and find it to be very long lasting. C&J def seems to use colored polish, probably to improve matching. No idea if they are doing it across the board or just on a case by case basis but it for my pairs it has been too heavy handed for my taste.
 

JSO1

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Hello all, Got my first Alden boots and posting some pictures. These are the Alden Plaza Last Indy boots Shell Color 8 made for Gentleman Footwear and I am very impressed by these boots.

View attachment 1593130View attachment 1593131
View attachment 1593135View attachment 1593136
View attachment 1593132View attachment 1593133View attachment 1593134
These are spectacular. Congratulations. A great first pair of Aldens.

As someone else later to the game on Alden collecting (really didn't take off until 2018 or so), I've had a lot of luck the past couple of years on expanding my exotic stable. My $0.02 is that there aren't really as many high spend VIP only exotic retailers as people sometimes make it out to be (but there certainly are a couple). For shops without fully open lists, it's moreso cultivating a relationship with that retailer than anything else. Yes, one way to build on that relationship is obviously by buying a bunch of stuff from them but I can't even say how many pairs I've acquired just by regularly keeping in touch with retailers or just asking at the right time, and these are mostly shops where I haven't placed a ton of orders.

Even the larger retailers will only get an exotic allocation every few months (and smaller shops may go years in between) and if you don't put some effort into staying in touch with them from time to time, their run is likely going to be filled by the time they remember that random guy who bought one pair from them over a year ago and then never reached out since.
Agreed 100% on this.
 

saurabh

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Awesome boots!

BUT!! Hold on a sec... I thought we were just discussing recently, probably a few dozen pages back that Alden would not do split reverse welts on plaza? Or have I failed reading comprehension (entirely possible)?
Thank you, not sure if Alden doesn’t do reverse welt on plaza anymore but this was RTW model at Gentleman footwear and it included the reverse welt.
 

Vocans

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Awesome boots!

BUT!! Hold on a sec... I thought we were just discussing recently, probably a few dozen pages back that Alden would not do split reverse welts on plaza? Or have I failed reading comprehension (entirely possible)?
I think this makeup is the one we were initially talking about when it was mentioned that Alden doesn't normally do them
 

JSO1

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Thank you, not sure if Alden doesn’t do reverse welt on plaza anymore but this was RTW model at Gentleman footwear and it included the reverse welt.
Correct; my understanding is that this was let through as reverse welt in error on the original order (from a year or so ago) and that it was allowed through on the second order again because of that. I believe they will not do this for any other retailer (intentionally, at least).
 

stook1

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I think this makeup is the one we were initially talking about when it was mentioned that Alden doesn't normally do them
Correct; my understanding is that this was let through as reverse welt in error on the original order (from a year or so ago) and that it was allowed through on the second order again because of that. I believe they will not do this for any other retailer (intentionally, at least).
Thanks guys. That's a bummer. They look great.
 

Gabru

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Would appreciate some info here , if Green reverse chamois leather is used by any retailer make ups ? I saw some older make ups but nothing new anymore so wanted to get confirmation here
 

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