A disappointing discovery

Not full leather heel caps

I may be opening the box of Pandora here, but I wanted you to know what I found out when I send my Alden shoes to my cobbler for a resole. What did I discover?

Well, in short, my cobbler found out that Alden used compressed ‘leather’ for the midsole and used the same compressed material to build up the heel. This is not uncommon to do. Shoemakers do it to cut costs and the consumer will not notice it, but on a 500 dollar pair of shoes, it’s definitely a bummer.

Most shoemakers above the 500 dollar range will use real leather to build the heel. This will ‘mould’ to the foot and will cushion the blow when you come in contact with the ground.

While I don’t know if Alden is still doing this, because I suspect that the store that I bought them from may have had these shoes for a long long time. When I wore them they almost immediately started to crack, because of dry leather. I still enjoy wearing them and I actually like the look of a beat-up shoe.

I still love Alden, especially their cordovan. Their prices have climbed in recent years, especially here in The Netherlands. While they are nice I think my money is better spend elsewhere, what do you think?

All photo’s are taken by me.

If you want to know more about compressed ‘leather’ used for the buildup of the heel watch this

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thank you for kicking the @aldenarmy #aldenarmy in their nuts, cheers


hey lennart, the oldest pair of alden’s I inspected showing this feature was approx. 15 to 20 years old. the parts were marked made in china. basically alden is assembling spare parts from china with a big premium. it is very dissapointing, imo.