I will explain. Some time ago, there was a tremendous effort towards standardization in industry, including the shoe business. This resulted in, well, standard to which Alden adheres to this day. These standards included sizing by length in two aspects, the arch length and the total length, as you can see on the Brannock device website, with arch length being the more important of the two, generally.
Alden was traditionally a maker not of sporty or fashionable shoes, but of comfortable shoes, such that at a particular arch length an Alden last would give the wearer more toe room than some other brands.
This led people who do not understand the system (a surprising number of people) to believe they should wear Aldens in a size that is 1/2 smaller than the size they should really be wearing, according to their arch size. Such misunderstanding was duly incorporated into the “rules” of the internet cognoscenti. At the same time, “sleek” shoes became fashionable, possibly as part of a larger trend of the feminization of the formerly masculine elements of the population, such that some men apparently think having a “smaller” nominal shoe size is preferable (a bit or irrationality they share with many women I have known).
Not so long ago, Alden resisted, and I recall reading an interview with one of its executives who decried the practice of sizing down.
Apparently, they have given up.
Is it idiocy to bow to the ignorance and vanity of one’s customers?
The folks at Apple don’t think so.