TKI67

Advanced Member
My beloved Alden for Brooks unlined shell LHS are now well into their fourth decade and showing it. I wear LHS with things like blazers or sport jackets and grey slacks but also sockless with shorts or reds when boating shoes would look too "Saturday afternoon." I am too old to break in another pair of shells and am pondering either the dark brown calf (lined) or the Chromexcel (unlined). I welcome opinions on the relative pluses and minuses of each, including comfort as well as style and versatility, and would also welcome thoughts on the Rancourt Dirigo penny loafers, for which I just got an email.
 

hsc89

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I have a pair of the unlined chromexcel LHS that was done as a make-up by LeatherSoul a few years back that I wore the heck out of in much the same way your describing. While I didn’t hesitate to don a coat and tie on occasion when wearing them, I avoided pairing them with anything more refined than a nice pair of khakis or cords. After a bit of wear, they really developed such a “comfortable” look that they simply seemed more suited to casual, less formal attire. That being said, they required almost zero break-in and saw so much wear (I actually wear a pair of khakis and a button- down just about every day to the office when I’m not having to make an appearance in court) that my ravello (sp?) LHS that I picked up at about the same time stayed looking almost new and unworn for a couple of years.
 

TKI67

Advanced Member
I have a pair of the unlined chromexcel LHS that was done as a make-up by LeatherSoul a few years back that I wore the heck out of in much the same way your describing. While I didn’t hesitate to don a coat and tie on occasion when wearing them, I avoided pairing them with anything more refined than a nice pair of khakis or cords. After a bit of wear, they really developed such a “comfortable” look that they simply seemed more suited to casual, less formal attire. That being said, they required almost zero break-in and saw so much wear (I actually wear a pair of khakis and a button- down just about every day to the office when I’m not having to make an appearance in court) that my ravello (sp?) LHS that I picked up at about the same time stayed looking almost new and unworn for a couple of years.
That is terrific feedback. When I worked in my post big bank/big law firm years my uniform was khakis, OCBD, and LHS. Now that I am both retired and in Austin, the more casual vibe should not be a problem. I love comfort.
 

fishertw

Advanced Member
I have not had an unlined LHS but do have Aldens Chromexcel , lined LHS and they are great. I now need shoes with removable insoles due to full orthotics but do recall how quickly and easily these became the daily "go to" casual shoes.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
My beloved Alden for Brooks unlined shell LHS are now well into their fourth decade and showing it. I wear LHS with things like blazers or sport jackets and grey slacks but also sockless with shorts or reds when boating shoes would look too "Saturday afternoon." I am too old to break in another pair of shells and am pondering either the dark brown calf (lined) or the Chromexcel (unlined). I welcome opinions on the relative pluses and minuses of each, including comfort as well as style and versatility, and would also welcome thoughts on the Rancourt Dirigo penny loafers, for which I just got an email.
My friend, I feel your pain. Of the LHS's in my rotation, my long loved Alden Made for Brooks Brothers unlined Whiskey Shell LHS's areindeed my most comfortable pair of LHS's. Mine are in their second decade of service and still look great, showing very little wear and tear. They have been refurbished once and the heel toplifts have been replaced perhaps five times. I'm pretty sure they will outlast me. I have calf and Chromexel Beef Roll penny Loafers from Rancourt that have proven to be extremely comfortable and are holding up under substantial wear. At this point in time the icing on the cake is that they are priced at a substantially more friendly price point. Good luck in your hunt!
 

TKI67

Advanced Member
My friend, I feel your pain. Of the LHS's in my rotation, my long loved Alden Made for Brooks Brothers unlined Whiskey Shell LHS's areindeed my most comfortable pair of LHS's. Mine are in their second decade of service and still look great, showing very little wear and tear. They have been refurbished once and the heel toplifts have been replaced perhaps five times. I'm pretty sure they will outlast me. I have calf and Chromexel Beef Roll penny Loafers from Rancourt that have proven to be extremely comfortable and are holding up under substantial wear. At this point in time the icing on the cake is that they are priced at a substantially more friendly price point. Good luck in your hunt!
Many thanks. Any favorite?
 

TKI67

Advanced Member
I have not had an unlined LHS but do have Aldens Chromexcel , lined LHS and they are great. I now need shoes with removable insoles due to full orthotics but do recall how quickly and easily these became the daily "go to" casual shoes.
Many thanks!
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Many thanks. Any favorite?
My favorite based on frequency of wear would be the natural hued Chromexcel loafers, fitted with the Lactae Hevea (Not sure of the spelling at this point) soles. Very comfortable on the foot and quite handsome in a rugged, manly way! If you are looking for a casual shoe, you just couldn't go wrong with this one. ;)
 

drpeter

Super Member
I have a nice-looking pair of Allen Edmonds shell cordovan LHS, very comfortable, plus several other loafers from classic Bass Weejuns to vintage pairs from AE, Florsheim, Bostonian and others. And a great pair of Grenson pebble grain loafers made in England, recently acquired.

I have been thinking about taking the plunge and getting a pair of new Alden LHSs. One concern: The price for a new pair is substantial, and I will have to buy them sight unseen. I have not been able to find a shop in Wisconsin that carries Aldens (Jack's Shoes in Madison, from whom I had bought Aldens, closed a few years ago) so I may have to venture as far south as Chicago for a fitting. I hesitate to spend that kind of money to buy something directly from the Alden website. We'll see.
 

TKI67

Advanced Member
I have a nice-looking pair of Allen Edmonds shell cordovan LHS, very comfortable, plus several other loafers from classic Bass Weejuns to vintage pairs from AE, Florsheim, Bostonian and others. And a great pair of Grenson pebble grain loafers made in England, recently acquired.

I have been thinking about taking the plunge and getting a pair of new Alden LHSs. One concern: The price for a new pair is substantial, and I will have to buy them sight unseen. I have not been able to find a shop in Wisconsin that carries Aldens (Jack's Shoes in Madison, from whom I had bought Aldens, closed a few years ago) so I may have to venture as far south as Chicago for a fitting. I hesitate to spend that kind of money to buy something directly from the Alden website. We'll see.
That is likely prudent. Their lasts are quite varied, and in my experience correct sizing can diverge as much as a size depending on which lasts you choose. Then add the variability of the way some leathers relax and stretch far more than others. That said, if you can find the correct size they are supremely nice shoes and can last a very, very long time. My Van last shell LHS go back to the '80s and have been in use four or five days a week. Not a bad run, and it isn't over!
 
Last edited:

smmrfld

Super Member
I have a nice-looking pair of Allen Edmonds shell cordovan LHS, very comfortable, plus several other loafers from classic Bass Weejuns to vintage pairs from AE, Florsheim, Bostonian and others. And a great pair of Grenson pebble grain loafers made in England, recently acquired.

I have been thinking about taking the plunge and getting a pair of new Alden LHSs. One concern: The price for a new pair is substantial, and I will have to buy them sight unseen. I have not been able to find a shop in Wisconsin that carries Aldens (Jack's Shoes in Madison, from whom I had bought Aldens, closed a few years ago) so I may have to venture as far south as Chicago for a fitting. I hesitate to spend that kind of money to buy something directly from the Alden website. We'll see.
Don’t even consider buying a pair of Aldens without being fitted properly. Way too much variation in lasts. Not worth the hassle of multiple returns, etc.
 

drpeter

Super Member
Thank you @TKI67 and @smmrfld . I am glad you both confirmed my suspicions! The variation in lasts is exactly what drives my concern. I would be less bothered if I find something in a local shoe shop or a thrift shop that I try on and fits reasonably well. Like many of my AEs. At those prices, I can afford to take a chance. My thrift finds have so far been good fits in the shoe department, and those that I have worn for long time periods have served me well. I don't think my feet are very hard to fit ( a pretty standard 9.5 D in the Alden scheme of things), but the vagaries of the lasts can create issues, as you both point out..

When I had my fitting at Jack's in Madison years ago, for my first pair of captoe Alden shells, there was an Alden representative there who worked with me to ensure a proper fit. He was perhaps the most courteous, old-world gentleman I have met, a patient and considerate man who took plenty of time with me to make sure everything was done correctly. Always in a beautiful classically tailored Ivy style suit and tie, he was a few years older than me, perhaps. He even gave me a business card and wrote down his home number on it! When I finally received the shoes, I called him up to thank him, and he gave me some good instructions on caring for the shells. Then he simply said welcome to the Alden family. I was duly impressed. This is the kind of person who represents a firm well.

One of these days, I should write a short story about this man. He would be a great subject for one! Remember Mary McCarthy's story, The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt? Along those lines, this one could be called The Alden Man.
 
Last edited:

TKI67

Advanced Member
Go for the Alden LHS in shell. It's really fantastic, but wait until you can be properly fitted. You will not regret it.
It is an all time great, tied, IMO, with their shell tassel loafer as the best shoes in the Trad world. I have a pair of them, but they are most venerable. I know how to fit myself by mail on anything with the Van last. I am leaning towards the Chromexcel LHS, quicker to loosen up and a bit more casual.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
It is an all time great, tied, IMO, with their shell tassel loafer as the best shoes in the Trad world. I have a pair of them, but they are most venerable. I know how to fit myself by mail on anything with the Van last. I am leaning towards the Chromexcel LHS, quicker to loosen up and a bit more casual.
Have you considered haunting the Shoemart's list of Alden seconds for a few months. You could save $200+ if a pair of the Alden Chromexcel LHS's in your size were to come up on the list. My last pair of Alden's All Weather Walkers came off that list. You can find great bargains on the shell versions of their LHS's as well. Good luck in your hunt. ;)
 

TKI67

Advanced Member
Have you considered haunting the Shoemart's list of Alden seconds for a few months. You could save $200+ if a pair of the Alden Chromexcel LHS's in your size were to come up on the list. My last pair of Alden's All Weather Walkers came off that list. You can find great bargains on the shell versions of their LHS's as well. Good luck in your hunt. ;)
That was my plan!
 

drpeter

Super Member
Have you considered haunting the Shoemart's list of Alden seconds for a few months. You could save $200+ if a pair of the Alden Chromexcel LHS's in your size were to come up on the list. My last pair of Alden's All Weather Walkers came off that list. You can find great bargains on the shell versions of their LHS's as well. Good luck in your hunt. ;)
Thank you for this tip, Eagle. I will practice said haunting for a while too.
 

eagle2250

Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator
Congrats on your choice and may you long wear them and only in good health!

Ironically, yesterday afternoon I received an email from The Oakstreet Bootmakers in Chicago, advertising the 5504 Mohawk leather Chelsea boot, featuring the fleshed out side of the leather in the boots construction. A unique look, I thought....and now a pair is to be shipped out to me sometime today. And so now we must endure the tensions of the wait. ;)

PS: I think SWMBO might be right..."I have a problem with my incessant shoe purchases!" LOL. :crazy:
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.