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***The official Alden thread *** Share enthusiasm, reviews, sizing, advice, and photos.

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by jet, Nov 3, 2008.

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  1. zippyh

    zippyh Distinguished Member

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    Sep 16, 2007

    So where would you put the M58 last on that chart?

  2. interlockingny

    interlockingny Distinguished Member

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    Jan 8, 2009


  3. borderline

    borderline Senior Member

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    Feb 8, 2008
    SW U.S.A.
    I've been adding to the FAQ over the past few days. Here's the latest incarnation. Any ideas on how to make this more permanently available other than reposting occasionally? I have tried to give credit where due, with many links to original sources. As always, contributions welcome.


    Compiled by borderline using the combined wisdom of "The Official Alden Thread" on Styleforum and other web sources.

    Before Buying
    What are the different lasts and how do they fit relative to one another?
    *See below for more sizing information

    Alden's advice for sizing

    To help you determine proper fit we offer these simple suggestions:
    1. Put both shoes on. If they are lace oxfords, tie them both as you normally would.
    2. Stand up and, with your feet about 8-12" apart, have the sales person check the
    position of your feet in the shoes. The balls of your feet should be at the widest
    part of the shoes.
    3. Wiggle your toes; they should have real freedom of movement throughout the
    forepart of the shoe.
    4. Backpart fit should be snug but not over tight. As the outsoles flex and "break-in",
    small initial amounts of slipping at the heel should disappear. Going to a smaller
    size to eliminate ALL initial heel slipping can result in a fit that is just too tight,
    especially in slip-on models.
    Try not to depend upon breaking in to loosen up a tight feel. Goodyear welt
    construction and quality selection of leathers result in a very strong shoe. Try for
    a size that feels good right from the start.

    What do the different cordovan colors look like?

    I feel like I'm buying too many Aldens, what can I do?
    1) Give up, there is no hope.
    2) Stop reading this thread

    Why do they call it the Indy boot?

    Are Alden shoes worth the price?
    At the end of the day, the main benefits to Alden shoes are
    1) High quality Horween leathers (Chromexcel, cordovan, and I assume suede) in unique colors
    2) Willingness to work with retailers (many of whom work with customers) to develop special styles
    3) Variety of well-fitting lasts
    4) Recraft-ability (not necessarily by Alden, but by a variety of cobblers)
    5) Decent price point compared to shoemakers that work with similar materials
    6) Traditional aesthetic (high quality and stylish in a "handsome," "gentlemanly" way)
    7) Alden shoes are pretty comfortable, can be very eye catching (cordovan, suede, etc tend to get tons of compliments) and overall enhance one's look.
    The obvious downsides are
    1) Poor quality control, particularly as they ramp production
    2) Low / inconsistent availability

    After Buying
    How should I break in my shoes?
    Use “Mac’s Break-in Procedure”:
    Shoes should be worn only on carpeting on three different days for a minimum of one hour in order to ascertain that the fit is proper.

    What is the "pen trick"?
    You put a pen where your foot joints are and then crease the shoe. This way the crease is set exactly where your joint bends and the crease is nice and even. People report varying levels of success with this, and it is generally thought to be more important for the PTB.

    Will my cordovan shoes stretch?
    The consensus is that cordovan stretches very little, if at all.

    Care and Cleaning
    How should I clean my cordovan shoes or boots?
    Use the “Mac Method”:
    1) Clean shoes with damp cloth

    2) Brush vigorously with a horsehair brush

    3) Buff with smooth cloth

    4) Use wax after a minimum of fifteen wearings

    Some other cleaning advice from Alden of Carmel
    1. Do not use 'neutral' polish
    2. Do not clean cordovan shoes using saddle soap
    3. Do not attempt to clean cordovan shoes using petroleum distillates or cleaning fluids
    4. Do not use any spray shines or aerosol type waterproofs
    5. Do not attempt to dry wet shell cordovan shoes with heat or a heater. Wipe them dry, and allow them to dry naturally
    6. Do not attempt to polish shell cordovan shoes while wet

    My shoes are dry and/or discolored in the creases. How can I fix this?
    Alden SF recommends using a small amount of cream in the creases. This can moisturize the area and also bring up some of the natural color in the leather. Most people use either Saphir Renovateur or Venetian Shoe Cream.

    My cordovan shoes got wet and there are tiny round marks or bubbles. What should I do?
    1) Next time try the Alden Leather Defender
    2) Brush them for awhile
    3) Try some Renovateur
    4) Try the deer bone treatment
    5) Just wait, it will go away evenutally

    Will Alden put a different sole on my shoes?
    Alden Restoration will now only recraft your shoes using original materials. If you want to put on a different sole, your best bet may be B. Nelson.

    Can I have speed hooks converted to eyelets?
    B Nelson will do it for $12 per eyelet (not per pair). A standard Alden boot with 4 pairs of speed hooks would therefore run $96. The top four eyelets would be off-centered with the bottom five, which is often done to compensate for the oblong size of the speed hooks.
    Here's an example: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/18000#post_4958968

    I want new shoelaces for my Indy Boots. What are my options?
    1) Alden will mail you a pair if you ask. http://www.aldenshoe.com/
    2) The Alden Madison store will sell you waxed laces for ~$6. http://aldenmadisonny.com/
    3) Red Wing model 9011 will work, request them here http://www.redwingheritage.com/laces/

    Miscellaneous Items

    LWB: Longwing blucher
    SWB: Shortwing blucher
    PTB: Plain toe blucher
    LHS: Leisure hand sewn (a loafer)

    A video by Epaulet about the Alden factory

    Cordovan: A Photo Gallery of Some of Mac's Shoes
    Whiskey: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/11760#post_4267010
    Ravello: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/11760#post_4266962
    Cigar: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/11745#post_4266729
    #8: http://www.styleforum.net/t/85589/the-official-alden-thread/11745#post_4266673

    Online Purchasing Options
    Leather Soul http://www.leathersoulhawaii.com/category/brands/alden/
    The Shoe Mart http://www.theshoemart.com/alden-shoes/bt-ald.html
    Alden Shop http://www.aldenshop.com/
    O'Connells http://shop.oconnellsclothing.com/dress_shoes.php
    Sherman Brothers http://www.shermanbrothers.com/brand...S&BrandCode=AL
    J. Crew http://www.jcrew.com/mens_category/s...enForJCrew.jsp
    Leffot http://blog.leffot.com/category/footwear/alden-brands/
    Ben Silver http://www.bensilver.com/Alden-American-Shoes.html
    Orvis http://www.orvis.com/
    Moulded Shoe http://mouldedshoe.com/alden1.html
    Unionmade http://www.unionmadegoods.com/alden_Mens.html
    Blackbird http://www.blackbirdballard.com/Alden_Mens.html
    Context http://www.contextclothing.com/brand.php?brand=Alden
    Epaulet http://www.epauletshop.com/servlet/t...den/Categories
    Renners Fine Boots & Shoes http://www.rennersbootsshoes.com/aldenshoes1.html
    Sky Valet http://www.skyvalet1.com/Alden.aspx
    Frans Boone Store https://www.fransboonestore.com/en/store/brands/alden.html
    The Bureau http://www.thebureaubelfast.com/shop/brand/58/alden/
    Alden of Carmel http://www.alden-of-carmel.com/index.cfm/shoes.htm
    J. Gilbert http://www.jgilbertfootwear.com/?q=node/90
    Need Supply http://needsupply.com/
    Tres Bien http://www.tresbienshop.com/
    Francos http://www.francos.com/
    Barneys http://www.barneys.com/
    Anecdotal sizing information
    I find the Modified last (for my foot) is wider than the Barrie. 9D Modified fits me great, while 9D in Barrie is a snug fit, the E width for me in Barrie is too wide. I find the Trubalance last to be a little bit bigger overall last to the Barrie, whereas the Modified has a more tapered mid foot under the arch, opening up to a wider forefoot. (NewYorkRanger)

    Normal size is 10.5D, I take a 10D in Barrie and 10.5E in Leydon (borderline)

    I wear a 9 D in the Barrie and i've also tried a 9E in the Barrie. I won some of each and wear them both. The 9D is a little snug and the 9E is a little loose. I have a pair of 9.5 D leydon lasted LWB and they fit great. I went with a 9.5D on the grant.
    9.5 E in the Dalton and most all AE's
    9D in the truebalance (almost perfect fit)
    9.5 D in grant ( perfect fit)
    9.5 D in leydon (perfect fit)


    I wear 6.5D Barrie and the 7D Grants fits well for me (actually 6.5E also works fine). (dsmivtr)

    If you size down 1/2 for barrie (say 10E to 9.5E), don't try to size down 1 and go wider (to 9EE) (kippy).

    the best way to determine fit and comfort is to ensure that the ball of your foot is at the widest part of the shoes. some people may have short toes and some people may have longer toes but using that area as a reference point has always worked well for me. Also there is just a feel when you put on a pair of shoes if it feels slightly too large or slightly too tight. If you think it fits you well and is not causing any pain or slipping off when you lace them, then they are likely the right size.(MiniW)
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012

  4. NAMOR

    NAMOR Stylish Dinosaur

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    Sep 3, 2010
    Heavenly & Northstar
    ^ pm Jet and have him update OP.

  5. phototristan

    phototristan Distinguished Member

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    Oct 28, 2010
    SF Bay Area

    Linked video in the care section is a pretty poor example of the Mac Method.

    You should also include this from Alden on fitting: http://www.aldenshoe.com/q1.htm
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012

  6. Mr. Moo

    Mr. Moo Boxercise Toughguy

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    Nov 25, 2008
    Bay Area, CA

  7. furo

    furo Distinguished Member

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    Apr 6, 2009

  8. furo

    furo Distinguished Member

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    Apr 6, 2009

    Need to add North River Outfitter to the vendor list.

  9. harrythedog

    harrythedog Well-Known Member

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    Dec 5, 2010
    after waiting a while... received an email from kathy today regarding the mto whiskey indy's. the good news, some of them are in. the BAD, they weren't made to spec and they used speed hooks. after the wait, it is rather disappointing. at the time of ordering was hoping to move forward with no additional speed hook purchases! as they are paid for, i am on the fence

  10. burningbright

    burningbright Distinguished Member

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    Mar 19, 2010
    The City by the Lake


    $675 for a #8 Indy is getting ridiculous. Still, I'm curious to see who's gonna come runnin' and how fast they'll sell out.

    But man, $675 for #8.... :hide:

  11. rennavate

    rennavate Distinguished Member

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    Jun 9, 2010

    Prices go up every year, man. If people don't want Alden prices to go up, they should stop buying Alden shoes... but like that's going to happen. (Plus inflation factors into things too, obviously).

  12. burningbright

    burningbright Distinguished Member

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    Mar 19, 2010
    The City by the Lake

    That sucks man, sorry to hear that. How could Alden screw an order up for one of their own stores? Still, given the wait times now, especially for whiskey, if they can't go back and alter them to all eyelets, I'd just grab'em and cut my losses.

    Speaking of eyelets, are anybody's eyelets completely shredding their flat waxed Alden laces? The eyelets on my cigar Indys are devouring my laces. The metal rings that they use for the inner eyes have sharp parts that stick up slightly. I tried to take some manicure scissors to try and ream out the eyelets and push the sharp parts of the metal down, but it doesn't seem to help. Could a cobbler do anything to fix these, other than replacing the metal rings?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012

  13. advan031

    advan031 Senior Member

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    Apr 6, 2006

    If it had antique trim...i'd buy it.

  14. hkpm

    hkpm Senior Member

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    Aug 28, 2011
    This happens to my indy. The cotton laces were "broken" by the sharp part of the eyelets.
    All you need to do is to use a small file to file the eyelets until the edge are smooth.
    You don't need a cobbler to do that for you.

  15. burningbright

    burningbright Distinguished Member

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    Mar 19, 2010
    The City by the Lake
    Thanks, I'll try it.

    What kind of small file did you use, as I imagine it really would have to be small to fit through an eyelet.

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