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Why it’s not unalloyed joy to open an Alden shoe box

3974 Views 37 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  127.72 MHz
Some time ago I gave a rare review of a product, a pair of Charles Tyrwhitt 2 eyelet derbies, with the phrase (IIR) “they’re alright.”

I just received a pair of Aldens and frankly cannot really say the same. The “fit and finish” of Alden is just not up to snuff, and even a modestly priced shoe like Tyrwhitt comes out way ahead in that score, having exactly zero blemishes. If I were to wear them, they may wrinkle, crack, and fall aprt; I cannot say since I never have. But they look really nice, even on close inspection.

Glue showing in the heel, nicks in the top of the sole, dubious stitching of both the welt to the sole (which probably is related to the fact the sole looks like it protrudes too much from the body) and of the welt to the upper, and the piece de resistance: spots of no. 8 color from the body on the brown saddles of a pair of saddle shoes. They look gorgeous from six feet away, but up close, you just have to wonder: is Alden a family owned business trying valiantly to supply what American customers want in the face of the challenges of rising labor costs and the loss of a trained labor force to time, or a bunch of complacent, arrogant, and possibly incompetent exploiters of the “made in America” sentiment.

Judging from the embezzlement case, my guess is complacent, arrogant, and incompetent...and very lucky to be the last man standing (possibly due to the wisdom of an earlier generation of management).

And to answer your question, I will probably keep the shoes. It’s Christmas, there’s a lot going on, and they do look good from six feet away.
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Never expect QC from Alden.
Again, I most strongly disagree with the opinion expressed above. ;)
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It is possible for both sides here to be correct, i.e., many people have had excellent experiences with Alden, while Richard had a terrible experience. Sort of like reading restaurant reviews on Tripadvisor or Yelp - many superb reviews punctuated by the occasional poor ones.

I typically ignore the aberrations, and make decisions based on the preponderance of experience/evidence.
Very well said, my friend. ;)
The single substantial complaint I have against Alden footwear is the time it takes them to refurbish and return shoes/boots sent to them for new soles and heels. I became so disenchanted with their turn around time(s) that I have turned to other vendors for such service, such as B. Nelson. ;)
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The complaint would be largely against the retailer, however one might wonder what is the cause of such reluctance to send the shoes back to the manufacturer? And this from an otherwise good-service store, which I recall gave me extra laces and a free can of Saphir renovateur with the Aldens.

We should keep in mind that Alden does not do business with just any store, so could the fear of losing the Alden relationship if too many defects are sent back be far from the retailer's mind? We all agree of course that the retailer was wrong to treat the customer like a chump, but I doubt Alden (being such an important part of the ecosystem) has nothing to do with this.
Retailers play customers for chumps all the time and on a shockingly regular basis, it works. Indeed, when all is said and done, we are the victims of our own complacency. Sad, perhaps, but true. ;)
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