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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. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Senior member

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    I think Vass has a well-earned reputation for imperfect construction. One reason they get a pass is because of their immense value proposition. They don't cost twice as much as a pair of Aldens. In fact, you can pick up a calf balmoral Vass for $600-$650. This shoe has a beautifully cut welt, is hand lasted with a pegged waist, has hidden stitches in the tapered sole, uses the highest quality leather available, and comes with lasted trees. Compare that to the Alden model 901 which costs $514 and features none of those qualities (though Alden calf is quit good).

    You can't get a shoe which is superior in construction to anything (EG, JL, G&G, C&J, etc.) this side of bespoke for $600 and expect perfection. Even St. Crispin's (similar construction to Vass but approximately 80% more expensive), which has beautiful finishing, seemingly has some issues with their leather selection. EG, on the other hand, is gemmed like Alden but uses super fine leather. It's all a trade off.
     
  2. chinngiskhaan

    chinngiskhaan Senior member

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    unbranded is a good option for around 85$. No frills, literally no branding of any kind on their products (hence the name). The idea is that by not branding anything and not paying people to promote their product it cuts down on cost so they can charge less than others for the same quality product.
     
  3. totalair1

    totalair1 Senior member

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    I agree with the QC discussion. One of the biggest issue faced in the world of hand made shoes is man power. No doubt there are jobs out there that are much harder than making shoes...however it seems the availability of skilled labor to make shoes, or perform just about any manual labor job continues to digress. The only solution to try and keep QC at decent levels is increased pay...resulting in higher retail prices. I don't see these challenges ever going away; however I do feel Alden has made a large effort to keep QC under control. I do not envy their position. I own a A/C & Heat company. We struggle to find good service techs who make 60k-125k per year!

    Steve
     
  4. Dillardiv

    Dillardiv Senior member

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    Same thing here. I paid my invoice yesterday, but haven't received a shipment notification yet. Can't wait!
     
  5. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    I agree completely. And, I would of procured my first pair of Vass cordovans the other day if it were not for extenuating circumstances that were beyond my control.

    And I still plan on getting a pair...or two...[​IMG]

    The point I was making is that it is all relative in the end.

    One person says Vass QC issues are due to the handwork that goes into them...

    Even though AE and Alden do not have nearly the amount of hand work as Vass, one could easily make a similar case.

    Sometime the QC issues work in our favor.

    During the trunk show that AE hosted recently I had them make me a custom Strand in Natural Cordovan. A $650 shoe. I gladly paid.

    When they arrived the shoes had what I considered to be a significant cosmetic blemish. I called up the store and they gave me a $200 discount...and they were happy to do it.

    I got a pair of rare cordo Strands, that, after I worked them over for awhile, I cannot even see the blemish anymore.

    DISCLAIMER: I am in no way shape or form taking anything away from the incredible shoe-maker Vass. I am just seeking to have an intellectually stimulating conversation amongst like-minded peers.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  6. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Senior member

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    For sure, honest discussion is important. I'd say vass qc is directly attributed to an unwillingness to eat the cost of a remake, combined with a "good enough" attitude.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  7. JezeC

    JezeC Senior member

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    i think unbranded is N&F...isn't it?
     
  8. lemmy127

    lemmy127 Senior member

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    It is.
     
  9. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    Yes.

    I do recall Namor recently having a good experience with Vass customer service in regard to a pair of his cordovan Vass boots that had an issue with.

    So, there you have it.

    Anyway, all these shoe makers have their strengths and weaknesses.

    Alden in particular represent my staple shoes. The foundation of my shoe wardrobe.

    I find the best fit with their lasts.
     
  10. halfnhalfnhalf

    halfnhalfnhalf Senior member

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    I have 10+ pairs each of AE, Alden, Carmina, and Rancourt (Blake-stitched, not handsewn). All of them have their own places in my collection. If I'm wearing a suit, I'm probably wearing Carminas . . . chinos and a button-down or polo, probably AE . . . sportcoat and slacks, probably Alden. As for the Rancourts, I just like them. [​IMG]

    (God forbid I ever develop a taste for EG and its like.)
     
  11. halfnhalfnhalf

    halfnhalfnhalf Senior member

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    Indeed.
     
  12. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    And forbid it He should...

    I am slowly finding myself gravitating that direction...and worst of all...towards their cordovan offerings...[​IMG]

    Did I forget to mention in this thread that I am having a pair of Horween Color 4 Balmoral Boots being made right now?

    I promised myself I wouldn't mention it....but I just did....he, he, he.....[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  13. Bbombers85

    Bbombers85 Senior member

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    I've noticed quite a few Color 4 boots popping up over in Japan with Horween Cordovan. I wonder if they will send any over to Alden. It will be a street fight.
     
  14. docalden2013

    docalden2013 Senior member

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    Buy Epaulet selvedge denim. Get an indigo pair, an eggshell and maybe a faded pair for less than or approximately equal to the cost of one high end Japanese pair. You'll end up with well made product, nice fading over time, and the nice folks over there can have the jeans chain stitched for you.

    Just don't fall into the spending vortex when you see the other cool items on the rest of their site.
     
    3 people like this.
  15. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    That Cap Toe #4 boot on Grant Last is amazing.

    I did hear from a reliable source that Alden is not going to ever use that shade again...

    Could of just been hearsay...
     
  16. Bbombers85

    Bbombers85 Senior member

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    That would be unfortunate as a Color 4 wingtip boot is my grail.
    Would EG be a better route to get this makeup?
     
  17. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Senior member

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    Vass would be better if they can source the leather. More options, better construction, lower price.
     
  18. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    Perhaps they would be.

    @mdubs could tell us more regarding the current state of Alden Color 4.

    When the Alden shell cordovan season is raining it is pouring...only for a season though...

    When it is dry...it is dry...
     
  19. Watchman1

    Watchman1 Senior member

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    Yes they would be. The issue is the leather...this is why my Vass MTO fell through...Alas, no shells in those shades...
     
  20. smmrfld

    smmrfld Well-Known Member

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    I recognize this is somewhat subjective and may vary, but of Alden's three primary grained leathers - Alpine, Regina, and Scotch - which has the most pronounced pebbling appearance (i.e. the most surface variation)? Thanks as always!
     
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