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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings,

I'm looking for a pair of shell cordovan boots that are suitable to wear with dress attire. I very much like the Alden Cap Toe, retailed by "theshoemart.com", but I'm concerned that it might be a bit clunky and shapeless. No offense to Alden, but my experience with Allen Edmonds shell cordovans has not been good and I'm therefore skeptical of another American brand. I love my C&Js/ Tricker's/ Grensons for the sleekness and elegance. Is the Alden captoe a good choice for a good dress boot that can be an all around solid shoe?

Also -

I've talked with Ron Rider about the new shell cord boot that's being made by him. It looks absolutely phenomenal. Any personal experience with his boots is very much appreciated. It Martegani's construction (blake speed) durable and worthy of the cost that's being expended (750 USD)? This is the first time I'll be buying a non big brand shoe and I'm a little nervous. Granted this isn't a massive transactiion, but I like the assurance of a large brand for resoling and there is admittedly some kitch value to an EG or C&J. Can you gents reassure me?

Any and all help is very much appreciated! Cheers,
Tim
 

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I assume that you're talking about boots:



Or maybe these:



Ron's boots are made in the same factory as Martegani shoes, and as far as I can tell, they're pretty much equivalent. My Martegani shoes came with a darker sole than my Rider boots, and the sole channel on the Marteganis is less obviously open than on the Riders; but they're pretty much the same shoes with the same construction on the same lasts.

Makers of Goodyear-welted shoes have excellent PR. They have created the impression in the minds of the shoe-buying public that shoes that are produced by other methods are necessarily inferior. That's simply not the case. Blake/Rapid shoes are as durable as Goodyear shoes (all other things being equal), and as easily resolable (provided that you can find a cobbler with the correct machinery). The stitching along the insole in Blake/Rapid shoes can be annoying, but that's about all I can say against them.

Everybody has to make his own judgment about the relative value of a particular product; but for me, $750 for these boots is well worth it. You can get quality shoes made to your specifications in designs that might not be available in shell from any other maker in colors of shell cordovan that are extremely difficult to find elsewhere.

I have two pairs of Alden shell cordovan high-lace boots and another on order (thanks, Tom!), so I obviously like them. To me, though, they're not really dressy suit boots but more tweed-jacket-and-odd-trousers boots. Others wear them with suits, and they look fine; but not for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Jcusey,

Thanks for the very thoughtful reply. Yes, the first boot pictured, in brown shell, is the boot I've spoken to Ron Rider about.

I think I might opt for both the alden cap-toe and the Rider boot, since they seem to be quite different.

Do you know if the Rider boots will come with trees? I love the look of them. Similar to the EG Shannon, but in shell cordovan, which makes them near perfect for me.

Thanks,
Tim
 

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No, they don't come with trees. To me, that's not really a problem -- I can't bring myself to pay upwards of $100 for lasted trees, and regular old cedar trees have worked fine for me.
 

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I have three pairs of Ron's shell cordovan chukkas and a fourth pair is due any day now. Great boots for either dress or casual. I wouldn't hesitate for a moment to get his high boots but I already have a couple pair of Alden shell high boots.
 

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While I certainly defer to any of jcusey's thoughts on footwear, I thought that Tom Park's Alden shell boots on the Plaza last appear quite sleek. Both the cap toe and full brogue.



But that's just my opinion.
 
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