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

3970 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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I have had more limited experience with Alden, perhaps a dozen pairs over my lifetime (those that have gone away, left due to changing feet, not due to being worn out). I have never had issues with any of them, but I would expect that if a pair were substandard, the vendor or Alden would make it right by exchanging them or, if only tried on but not worn outside and not some odd sized special order, accepting a return. For the sums involved, any vendor (or Alden) who left a customer stuck with substandard shoes ought to become the subject of an awareness effort (and hopefully reverse their course).
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I never count how many pair of Alden shoes I ever seen, but I do know I own three pairs, and one of them has stitching like this. But I am not mad at all and don't care about these little details that much, so no need to be defensive here.

View attachment 72517
Great shoes!
In our politically correct world, I thought I could never use the term again, but I thought it was "Irish pennants."
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