Is Alden more expensive cordovan better that C&J and Carmina?

Discussion in 'Andy's Fashion Forum' started by AleksejsN, May 16, 2019.

  1. AleksejsN

    AleksejsN Starting Member

    Hi all,

    By some reason I can see that Alden is going about £200 more on cordovan shoes than CJ, and £100 than Carmina, at least in Europe.

    It is just taxes or also quality difference?
  2. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    They are all fine quality shoes.

    Your question really has two parts; is the construction better? Are the hides better? As to the first, I believe that both C&J and Carmina are at least equal in quality to Alden's, and likely better finished.

    I'm not a fancier of cordovan, but Alden sources its hides from Horween of Chicago, U.S.A. which has an industry wide reputation for fine quality cordovan hides. Alden also finishes the cordovan in their making which many find offers a superior appearance.

    I don't know where either C&J or Carmina source their hides, but would be confident that any shoe C&J makes would use a fine hide. Carmina likely also, but I'm not as familiar with them. Beyond that I think it may revolve around an individual's personal preference as to differences of appearance among them.

    The issue of the hide aside, IMO, both C&J and Carmina make generally better finished, and more attractive shoes than Alden. And while Alden shoes are solid, that price difference would not be justified from what I've seen from all three.
  3. TKI67

    TKI67 Senior Member

    United States
    Odd to me that Alden’s are so much more expensive abroad and Crockett and Jones are so much more expensive in the USA. A two hundred dollar delta either way is hard to explain.
  4. eagle2250

    eagle2250 Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator

    Harmony, FL
    United States
    In sports it's called "the home court advantage," methinks? ;)
  5. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast Connoisseur

    United States
    New York
    The "import" halo effect, maybe?

    Before the internet, that was quite often the case, but given time - owing to the web's transparency and shipping costs coming down - my guess is the premium will shrink.

    Also, Alden, which I've read (don't know if it's true) can't meet demand, might view the overseas market as only worthwhile if it can capture a premium - otherwise, it could probably sell the shoes in the USA at its "normal" price without the hassle of an oversees effort. That's just a guess though.
  6. SG_67

    SG_67 Connoisseur

    United States
    Here, it’s the other way around.
    C&J is ~$1000 here which is about $250 more than Alden. I’m sure it has to do with both the supply as well as any tariffs and taxes as may be imposed.

    Edward Green shell cordovan is just north of $2000 here.
  7. richard warren

    richard warren Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    I have a bunch of Aldens, mostly shell cordovan. Their lasts suit me (I never size down).

    I have a few C&J, but no shell. Their lasts don’t suit me, but the workmanship and finish is noticeably better than Alden, in my opinion.

    I have read (but could be wrong easily) that many makers other than Alden do not “glaze” their shoes (glazing being a sort of final polish with a machine called a jack, not the application of an artificial surface) and lack the particular shine of Aldens. I find that particular shine a large part of the attraction, others apparently find it plastic looking.
  8. eagle2250

    eagle2250 Connoisseur/Curmudgeon Emeritus - Moderator

    Harmony, FL
    United States
    You can count me as one more who really likes the Alden finish on their shell cordovan designs. Not intending to restart the American Revolutionary War, but I have four pair of Cheaneys and love them all, but I also have four times as many pairs of Alden designs and I love them even more! My blood must run Red, White and Blue. ;)
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 5:14 AM
  9. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    Funny, because Alden's only runs $ green! $ :D
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 11:09 AM
    eagle2250 likes this.
  10. suitman19

    suitman19 New Member

    United States
    Grand Rapids
    To my knowledge (pretty accurate) Alden does not ship their shoes overseas.
    They generally only ship to a customs port and the retailer from overseas is then responsible for transport. The reason the shoes are that much more expensive overseas is that the retailer has to bear the extra costs of shipping as well import duties into their own country. This is true of many American companies.
    Fading Fast likes this.

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