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

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JayDotz

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The whole scarcity thing plays to the collectors more than people who actually want a shoe to wear. You see it right here on this forum where people wait with baited breath to grab some "rare" color or whatever, then it's for sale shortly thereafter, sometimes at a loss. Not sure of the thought process there. Then you have the speculators who are trying to "flip" them. I am not only talking Alden, I'm talking many brands.

For people like me who do not yet own a pair of Alden's but wanted to, this is not the time. There's a dearth of inventory, and competing with a bunch of collectors and speculators is off-putting. Again, this is not just Alden, it's everywhere. I think some of it has to do with this massive asset price increase (bubble) we've experienced.

Honestly the rare shell market doesnt even feel very hot right now. I routinely see rare shell available for sale here for retail or with a minor mark up. In the grand-scheme of things, if a rare shell shoe comes up and is a few hundred dollars over retail I just pay it. It’s cheaper in the long run than buying a bunch from a store with the hope of being offered an exotic make up one day.
 
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stook1

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Honestly the rare shell market does even feel very hot right now. I routinely see rare shell available for sale here for retail or with a minor mark up. In the grand-scheme of things, if a rare shell shoe comes up and is a few hundred dollars over retail I just pay it. It’s cheaper in the long run than buying a bunch from a store with the hope of being offered an exotic make up one day.

This is pretty much my take as well except that I can't really justify the markup when there are other options. I just buy elsewhere and don't even bother with the lists. I appreciate shoes and boots from other makers where I can get these colors so it's not really that big of a deal to me either way. Really just burning time on a slow NYE day. Speaking of which, happy new year fellas! ;)
 

whipcord

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Honestly the rare shell market doesnt even feel very hot right now. I routinely see rare shell available for sale here for retail or with a minor mark up. In the grand-scheme of things, if a rare shell shoe comes up and is a few hundred dollars over retail I just pay it. It’s cheaper in the long run than buying a bunch from a store with the hope of being offered an exotic make up one day.

That is definitely where you and I diverge. I have never even paid retail for a brand new item from a 3rd party seller. That's a no fly zone for me. If I knew the person well and could see the item IN PERSON and it was exactly what I always wanted and the size was correct, then I would probably reimburse them what they paid. But paying them more than what they paid the retailer? Nah, never doing that.
 

Shawnc

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My goodness, this is a fascinating discussion on rare shell. @stook1, I have found your posts on this to be very much on-point and enjoyable to read. @sterlingindigo, I feel your frustration. This is not how it should be and this is not sour grapes on my part. I have benefited greatly over the years with the Alden 'rare' shell game and never cared for it, even when I beneftitted from it. And the point on cigar is particularly relevant. It's a dark color for crying out loud. I love my recent splits but have you seen how dark they are? Rare? C'mon man! It's an Alden shell game (pun intended) and they make it work. Good for them. If I we're running the company, I'd likely do the same thing. Heck, if it ain't broke.....

What I find particularly funny is that you will always have the Alden apologists who seem to take offense to any reasonable criticism come on and tell you not to believe your lying eyes. That no matter how plainly easy it is for all other shoe makers to source light shell from Horween, that with Alden, it's different. And yes, generally this will come from someone who has all the rare shell one could ever dream of.

Listen, my mother used to have a saying when she was alive that went something like 'heck, Ray Charles can see that'. That's what you have here. It's a business decision by Alden that allows them to incentivize their retailers, reward loyal customers, and build interest in black and 8. Nothing wrong with that. But pa-leeze, let's not act like it's something else.
 

JayDotz

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That is definitely where you and I diverge. I have never even paid retail for a brand new item from a 3rd party seller. That's a no fly zone for me. If I knew the person well and could see the item IN PERSON and it was exactly what I always wanted and the size was correct, then I would probably reimburse them what they paid. But paying them more than what they paid the retailer? Nah, never doing that.

I mean to each their own. I don’t see a problem with buying from a 3rd party and also don’t need to interact with the item in person. I’ve bought and sold probably close to 100 pairs over the years and know plenty of others here that have done the same. I’ve never encountered a problem personally.

In terms of the price mark up….I don’t know…..I don’t want to sound like money doesn’t matter but if I can afford multiple pairs of $800 shoes does paying $1000 for a pair really matter that much if it’s pair I want?

But again, I get everyone feels differently and can respect that.
 

whipcord

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If I told everyone here that my foot is 11 1/8" in the morning, and that it appears to be 4 1/4" at its widest point, and that I never wear less than a size 12 in any sneaker, and that most of my boots are a 12 though some can be 11 1/2, and that I ordered a pair of 11 1/2 Bruno Magli boots from Nordstrom that were too small, what size would you think would be my best bet in this shoe? Because I love this thing, but don't know anything about the Barrie last vs the TB, or my Alden sizing in general:


Thinking of an 11 1/2D, but worry an 11 1/2 E might be my size.
 

whipcord

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I mean to each their own.

Absolutely. You do what you do. You can pay double retail, I have no issue with that at all.

I don’t see a problem with buying from a 3rd party and also don’t need to interact with the item in person. I’ve bought and sold probably close to 100 pairs over the years and know plenty of others here that have done the same. I’ve never encountered a problem personally.

Good for you. Unfortunately, as somebody who has been frequenting forums and shopping online for 20 years, I've seen more than my share of ripoffs to make me uncomfortable enough to be hesitant to pay a stranger $1,000 for a pair of used shoes. I'm leery of ordering from small retailers I don't know in the event that the sizing is off and they decide to tell me I can't return them, or some other issue that is a non-event with a reputable company like Nordstrom.

In terms of the price mark up….I don’t know…..I don’t want to sound like money doesn’t matter but if I can afford multiple pairs of $800 shoes does paying $1000 for a pair really matter that much if it’s pair I want?

Dunno, only you can answer that.

But again, I get everyone feels differently and can respect that.

Yup.
 

stook1

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My goodness, this is a fascinating discussion on rare shell. @stook1, I have found your posts on this to be very much on-point and enjoyable to read. @sterlingindigo, I feel your frustration. This is not how it should be and this is not sour grapes on my part. I have benefited greatly over the years with the Alden 'rare' shell game and never cared for it, even when I beneftitted from it. And the point on cigar is particularly relevant. It's a dark color for crying out loud. I love my recent splits but have you seen how dark they are? Rare? C'mon man! It's an Alden shell game (pun intended) and they make it work. Good for them. If I we're running the company, I'd likely do the same thing. Heck, if it ain't broke.....

What I find particularly funny is that you will always have the Alden apologists who seem to take offense to any reasonable criticism come on and tell you not to believe your lying eyes. That no matter how plainly easy it is for all other shoe makers to source light shell from Horween, that with Alden, it's different. And yes, generally this will come from someone who has all the rare shell one could ever dream of.

Listen, my mother used to have a saying when she was alive that went something like 'heck, Ray Charles can see that'. That's what you have here. It's a business decision by Alden that allows them to incentivize their retailers, reward loyal customers, and build interest in black and 8. Nothing wrong with that. But pa-leeze, let's not act like it's something else.

Thanks Shawn, I have to admit -- you said something at the end here that hadn't occurred to me but you may very well be right and I am just naïve. Is Alden using rare shell access as an incentive for the retailers themselves? ie. hit X sales target and you get a rare shell order? If that's true then it makes more sense to me from Alden's perspective. But otherwise, I don't really get how this aspect of the business model works to Alden's favor. Generally speaking, businesses want to satisfy the demand for their products especially if they're able to sell the item without promoting.

Using grocery & mass merch stores as an analogy... (many, many years ago I did some consulting type work in those industries) those companies and the manufacturers spend a ton of money purely doing analytics and optimization of their product assortment on the shelf. Probably every retailer worth their salt is doing the same thing these days. Space is limited, inventory needs to be limited. Seems obvious to stock the most in demand, fastest turn product assortment and dump the niche items that sit on the shelves forever and don't sell. Not to continue beating the drum but it just can't be that there aren't 5, 10, 20, etc. dogs in the huge Alden catalog that sell less quickly than the models that are drawing over retail in the secondary market.

But if it's an incentive for the Retailer that changes the calculus somewhat although I still find it to be a bit curious because given a fixed scale, why not just make what is demanded rather than trying to compel retailers to sell product that customers want less. For Alden, a shoe is a shoe. Why make the sales process more difficult by making less desirable shoes?

Anyway, I suspect most people are completely bored of my commentary. I am getting bored of my own commentary. ? I'll change into some Aldens and post some pics instead.
 

BAK

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Given Alden's size, history, and presumably their relationship with Horween, I have to think they could more fully satisfy the consumer interest in other shell colors. Furthermore, it's hard for me to believe that something like a hypothetical whiskey Indy would not vastly outsell something like a black shell oxford in this day and age.
The term rare color is a misnomer and its really just that certain colors are made to order and not stock productions.
However, I do wonder whether Alden "rare" shell is artificially scarce. Rare shells probably aren't available in unlimited quantity. So it actually is possible that Alden can only make so many rare models every year. The thing is, it's not due to the scarcity of rare shell. I mean, let's be honest, Horween only makes #4 shell every few years but... I'm sure they'd make more if Alden were to order it.
What I find particularly funny is that you will always have the Alden apologists who seem to take offense to any reasonable criticism come on and tell you not to believe your lying eyes. That no matter how plainly easy it is for all other shoe makers to source light shell from Horween, that with Alden, it's different. It's a business decision by Alden that allows them to incentivize their retailers, reward loyal customers, and build interest in black and 8. Nothing wrong with that. But pa-leeze, let's not act like it's something else.
Hey guys... I'm not sure why everyone refuses to believe rare shell is actually rare, despite evidence to support the fact. If you'll just take a couple minutes to listen to Mr. Nick Horween himself you'll understand it to be true. As @JSO1 mentioned up above, just go listen to this podcast at roughly the 27:25 minute mark. Nick Horween himself confirms that yes, rare shell is actually rare, and he explains why it is rare, and that it is not customer (manufacturer) specific. The supply is not artificially manipulated to create the illusion of low supply. These are facts from the mouth of Horween. Happy New Year.
 
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stook1

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Ok --- as promised --- Dr. Jones Indys. Why have I not worn these in so long? I was thinking about offloading them so I am glad I decided to throw them on as recompense for my previous posts. Probably need to put some effort into cleaning these up but it's a great makeup on the plaza last.

IMG_3329.jpg
 

barutanseijin

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Honest question here... why would it be a bad idea to limit their production of regular shell or calf or suede and instead make a whiskey shell ptb? Just picking a shoe somewhat at random here but you don't think a whiskey shell ptb would significantly outsell this one in 2022? https://aldenmadison.com/collection/straight-tip-bal-black-shell-cordovan-9016/

I don’t think so. Color 8 is more versatile. I might get a whiskey LHS because a LHS is kinda informal anyway, but otherwise, whiskey is too light for a lot of outfits & makeups. You could say the same about ravello.

Now, that’s just my opinion, but i suspect the no brown in town crowd would agree. How representative of Alden buyers in general? I don’t know.
 

LA Guy

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stook1

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I don’t think so. Color 8 is more versatile. I might get a whiskey LHS because a LHS is kinda informal anyway, but otherwise, whiskey is too light for a lot of outfits & makeups. You could say the same about ravello.

Now, that’s just my opinion, but i suspect the no brown in town crowd would agree. How representative of Alden buyers in general? I don’t know.

The pair I linked are black but it's immaterial to the point I was making. In terms of relative formality, I think I'm on safe ground making the statement that the vast majority of Alden buyers are getting more use out of a ptb then a perf cap oxford these days -- irrespective of color.
 

sterlingindigo

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Hey guys... I'm not sure why everyone refuses to believe rare shell is actually rare, despite evidence to support the fact. If you'll just take a couple minutes to listen to Mr. Nick Horween himself you'll understand it to be true. As @JSO1 mentioned up above, just go listen to this podcast at roughly the 27:25 minute mark. Nick Horween himself confirms that yes, rare shell is actually rare, and he explains why it is rare, and that it is not customer (manufacturer) specific. The supply is not artificially manipulated to create the illusion of low supply. These are facts from the mouth of Horween. Happy New Year.
What about brown or cigar? Why is that rare? It’s dark and every other manufacturer has it in spades.
 
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