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Should I give up on Alden?

4761 Views 20 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  JBierly
I’m fond of Alden because I like they way they do shell cordovan and I find all their lasts that I have tried fit me comfortably true to size.

On the other hand, over the last few years I have had to return three or four pair ordered over the internet because of obvious defects. They were all drop shipped. The last pair I bought in December were shell plain toe bluchers, one of which after wearing has been revealed to uppers subtly but definitely misaligned (the flaps and eyelets just do not line up like they should and like they do on th other shoe).

I went to the only local store that seeks Alden and tried on a pair of calf captoe balls, and the leather was quite wrinkled near the eyelets on one of the shoes.

I now have a hankering for a pair of shell medallion toe balls.

Is it wishful thinking I could order a pair from the New York Aldn store that I would not have to send back? Is there anybody who might sell them who would look at them before shipping, instead of drop shipping?
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Thanks for the replies. I gave up on looking for “perfection” a long time ago. I have been buying shoes to wear for work for about 40 years. The problems I had on the shoes I returned were pretty obvious, even by today’s standards, except for the last pair of PTB’s, which I kept. I have 4 other pairs of shell bluchers and on all of them the flaps and eyelets line up, but on this pair things on the left shoe are just out of kilter. Hard to explain but you can see it and more important feel it. The wrinkling on the calf shoes I tried on in the store was unlike anything I have seen on quality shoes in 40 years of buying shoes.

I don’t rememebr if I had to pay postage on the shoes I returned, which is not a big deal one way or the other, but my tolerance for wrapping things up and shipping them off is very low, and I do not feel comfortable having someone else do my personal stuff (which is probably harassment here days).

I’d like to see the Alden folks prosper and continue on in the same business in the same way into the future. I try not to be too critical on the internet but everybody needs feedback somehow.

I was not aware of Alden of Carmel and will give them a try.
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Never had a problem returning Aldens. I don’ t remember if I had to pay return shipping but that’s not a big deal one way or the other. I have 14 pair and have had to return 4.

The fact remains that getting an acceptable pair of shoes after two (or more) tries is just not the same as getting them the first time.
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Since this was posted I have received via internet one pair of shell bals which I returned mostly because the little leather tab that covered the bottom of the laces was so off centered and protruding (and hence noticeably off) that it jumped out at me on my first look at them and I realized I could never be happy with them. The “perfs” were also sort of strange and more indentations than perfs. The area I had had problems with previous Alden’s, with the area 270 degree welt ends being done poorly, was ok but not up to say Crockett and Jones level.

On the whole, I have had difficulty getting bals that I would be happy to wear in a formal setting.

On the other hand, I got a pair of what I believe to be Alden made suede tassel loafers from Brooks Brothers. Seem to be ok.

My conclusion is that while I like their lasts and materials may be quality, workmanship is suffering to the point that one must be careful when buying shoes to be worn when appearances matter (in my case, more formal shoes).
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