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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen:

This past weekend I weighed whether I should purchase the Brooks Brothers Alden 986 #8 for $598 or the Alden 986 from the Alden Store for $540 - $50 discount sale.

The salesman at Alden told me the only difference is that Alden is lined and the BB model is unlined. ANd that it is better to purchase the lined version because it is cheaper and will last longer.

Which is the better shoe to purchase if all else is identical? Anyone have experience with both of these shoes?

Thanks in advance
 

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I like the lined version. I wear mine w/socks The unlined is a more casual shoe. I would rather get the cheaper one from Alden. Or go online to citishoe,com and get them with a free pair of shoe trees and no tax if you live outside of NY city.
 

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I bought and returned the BB model. Too flimsy without the lining. I like support. I've had the Alden for three years and am delighted. I generally wear it with socks, but occasionally without. It's awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thank you guys. I did indeed purchase the lined version from Alden for $490 ($540 minus $50 sale) and purchased cedar trees for $30.

My hesitation was that the unlined BB version looked nice and casual and soft whereas the lined version seemed to be hard like a tank.

I feel better now that you guys like the lined version.
 

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I really like the lined version, as well. I generally am not a fan of unlined shoes. That said, I wonder if the unlined BB version is noticeably more comfortable when worn without socks(?) Ideally, I'd like to have a pair of each...If the opportunity presents itself, I would not hesitate to purchase the BB model on ebay or through the exchange thread. However, I wouldn't pay full price and $598 seems very high for those shoes (better off waiting for BB sale or being patient on ebay).
 

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Larsd4 said:
I bought and returned the BB model. Too flimsy without the lining. I like support.
I've tried on the lined version and I can claim fairly confidently that that model has little support at the rear of the shoe. The counter is narrow and I didn't perceive any stiffener inside the uppers, at least in the sides...which is the opposite of every other Alden shoe I've tried, all of which have serious side & rear stiffeners. I suspect your perception of "flimsy" comes from the fact that cordovan is much thinner than the calfskin used in Weejuns and other unlined loafers.

Ignatius J. Reilly said:
I feel better now that you guys like the lined version.
The only thing that really matters is how feel on your feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only thing that really matters is how feel on your feet.[/quote]

Doctor Damage,

You are absolutely correct, of course. I was in a bit of a rush when I wrote that. Let me explain, I actually preferred the BB unlined version. I live here in NYC. I walked in 346 to try the unlined version and then crossed the street to Alden Store to try the lined version. I liked the BB unlined version because they seemed softer. But the Alden salesman sold me on the fact that the lined version would hold up better. I guess I was looking for confirmation from others here on this board that I made the right choice. I will look out for the BB model on e-bay. I don't really want to plunk another $500 down.

Thanks guys.
 

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No question - the Alden shoe is (IMHO) the way to go.

I really like the BB version. But the Alden version seems to me to be spec'd out at a little bit higher level. I think the soles on the Alden are longer-wearing. I've compared the two shoes side by side and had my local shoe repair guy, who happens to be an Alden dealer (yes, I appreciate that this could cause a bias) critique both shoes.

Ultimately when it came to spending my $ i voted for the Alden. An all around better-built, longer lasting shoe.
 

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One thing that you might think about is what happens if you eventually have the LHS rebuilt.

Alden does such a superb job of rebuilding, that this seems to be a fringe benefit, when thinking about the initial cost.

I've got a pair of 986s that are 10 years old, that Alden just rebuilt. Since they are lined, my guess is that they have held their shape much better than the unlined version.

It was astonishing to get these out of the box, and to see how much they look like they did, 10, years ago. For something like $135, the rebuilding may make the lined versions the best choice.

I'd be interested in the opinion of Doctor D.
 

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Having worn lined and unlined versions of essentially the same shoe, I honestly cannot tell any difference in the level of comfort afforded by each. While neither shoe seems to wear hotter or cooler than the other (both shoes are always worn with socks...it must be a thing with me!), the unlined shoe has seemed to get a more "worn-in/beat down" appearance than the lined version. The sides of the unlined shoes droop quite a lot these days, looking a bit like it always wanted to be born a boat shoe! :eek:
 

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One thing that you might think about is what happens if you eventually have the LHS rebuilt.

Alden does such a superb job of rebuilding, that this seems to be a fringe benefit, when thinking about the initial cost.

I've got a pair of 986s that are 10 years old, that Alden just rebuilt. Since they are lined, my guess is that they have held their shape much better than the unlined version.

It was astonishing to get these out of the box, and to see how much they look like they did, 10, years ago. For something like $135, the rebuilding may make the lined versions the best choice.

I'd be interested in the opinion of Doctor D.
Intrepid,

Good point. The Alden salesman also sold me on the fact that I can bring the shoe in for rebuilding whereas with BB I would be on my own.
Any BB store can send your shoes back to Alden for rebuilding at no additional cost beyond the $135 that Alden charges.
 

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