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.