Before Buying

First of all, congratulations on your decision to purchase an Alden shoe! I hope that this guide will help you in getting into your first pair of Aldens.

Where do I buy a pair?

To start off, the factory does not sell shoes directly. There are two stores that are owned by the Alden Shoe Company and that would be Alden of Washington D.C. and the Alden Shop (a.k.a Alden San Francisco). Besides the “factory stores”, there is a plethora of independently owned retailers who carry Alden shoes. There is a fairly comprehensive list of retailers below.

Most retailers offer the stock models and many of them offer store specific special makeups. It is highly recommended that you form a relationship with your most convenient retailer if possible in order to take advantage of their store unique special models.

What is a last?

Lasts are wood forms over which the shoe is formed on and molded to during the construction process.

What are the different lasts and how do they fit relative to one another?

Source: @REguy, Reference:

How do I size my shoes?

Sizes depends on the Last that the shoe is made around. There is now a page dedicated to sizing here.

What do the different cordovan colors look like?

Alden offers two standard colors of Shell Cordovan (Black and Color #8) and three exotic colors (Cigar, Ravello, and Whiskey) and has very rarely offered a few other colors (Color #4 and Color #2).

Whiskey Color Variation

The Exotic Colors: Cigar, Ravello, and Whiskey Shell Cordovan

@zippy Color Comparison:
@makewayhomer Color Comparison:

Color Variation Sample

All of these shoes are marked and sold as Ravello.
Ravello LWB Party - 2

I feel like I’m buying too many Aldens, what can I do?

1) Give up, there is no hope.
2) Stop reading this FAQ
3) Never talk to @mdubs

Are Alden shoes worth the price?

At the end of the day, the main benefits to Alden shoes are
1) High quality Horween leathers (Chromexcel, cordovan, and I assume suede) in unique colors
2) Willingness to work with retailers (many of whom work with customers) to develop special styles
3) Variety of well-fitting lasts
4) Recraft-ability (not necessarily by Alden, but by a variety of cobblers)
5) Decent price point compared to shoemakers that work with similar materials
6) Traditional aesthetic (high quality and stylish in a “handsome,” “gentlemanly” way)
7) Alden shoes are pretty comfortable, can be very eye catching (cordovan, suede, etc tend to get tons of compliments) and overall enhance one’s look.
The obvious downsides are
1) Poor quality control, particularly as they ramp production
2) Low / inconsistent availability

Online Purchasing Options

Also, do not forget about the used market, eBay, the StyleForum MarketPlace, and AldenSD Sales area all good places to find used Alden Shoes.