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Behind the brand: Alden Shoe Co

Alden is a mythic name in American shoemaking. Founded in Middleborough, Massachusetts, in
1884 by one Charles H. Alden, the company is still family run today. It preserves the great tradition
of New England shoemaking for men who want footwear that’s smart, comfortable, and built to last.
New England established itself as one of the USA’s shoemaking hubs in the early 19th century. It
was originally a cottage industry, with one craftsman working from his single room ‘10 footer’
cottage (guess why they were called ‘10 footers’?) but Alden opened up shop with bigger
ambitions.

The company’s timely investment in new shoemaking machinery, superior materials and
orthopaedic lasts put Alden in poll position as one America’s top shoemakers at the turn of the 20th
century, a position it’s retained ever since. Among the firsts to its name are the use of shell
cordovan (cordovan is a superior leather made from tanned horsehide) and the first commercially
successful tassel loafer design.

Today, Alden’s mastery of distinctive shoemaking materials, superior comfort-factor, and proper
welted construction sets the brand apart – that and its position as the only surviving 19th century
New England shoemaker today.

Its preppy, understated designs are favourites of ours here at Trunk; from go-to penny loafers to
sleek long-wing Bluchers, it’s a shoemaker worth knowing. These five pairs are Alden classics,
perfect for pairing with everything from an unstructured suit to a sweater and chinos.

Cordovan plain-toe Bluchers

The Blucher is a smart-casual classic. It takes its name from the figure who purportedly invented it;
the 18th century Prussian field marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Bright spark that he was,
Blucher commissioned a new military boot design for his troops, with two side-pieces lapped over
the boot’s tongue. Not only were the results more sturdy, but more insulating too. Alden’s Blucher
is true to the original, lasted with elegant plain toes in classic burgundy cordovan. Simple and
elegant, they’ll look great with grey flannels and a navy blazer, or with rolled-up denim jeans and a
work jacket. £795, shop now

Cordovan penny loafers

If lace-ups aren’t your thing, but you’re intrigued by the prospect of a pair of Cordovan shoes,
Alden’s penny loafers are the natural choice. They offer a relaxed take on traditional welted
footwear, but the vegetable-tanned Cordovan lends them a distinctive sheen that looks a treat in
deep burgundy. A specialism of the Horween tannery in Chicago, a single hide takes up to six
months to tan – so you can be sure these shoes have had plenty of time lavished upon them. We
wear ours with Trunk slim fit ‘Welbeck’ cotton trousers, rolled up at the ankles.
£795, shop now

Dark brown suede Chukka boots

Another style with military origins, the curiously named chukka boot was invented for the British
army’s use in hot, sandy terrain during WWII. The simple design with its supportive lace-up front

was easy to produce and functional, but today it makes for a chic casual boot – particularly in dark
brown suede. Alden make theirs with two-eyelet uppers, set on robust rubber commando soles,
perfect for poorer weather. Play up to this boot’s utilitarian origins and pair with a field or utility
jacket and a pair of chunky cotton cords on grey days. £595, shop now

Cordovan Longwing Bluchers

A dressier take on Alden’s Bluchers, these shoes are among the brand’s most formal designs. With
their long brogued side-wings, they give the impression of slimming the wearer’s feet when worn,
and look great with dark winter suiting. Another design in Alden’s signature burgundy cordovan,
these will age and wear-in beautifully over time. It’s also worth noting these are set on Norwegian
welted soles, which come with the added advantage of keeping damp weather at bay – not that
you should be jumping in puddles in these. Try yours with our Wigmore suit in navy mohair or grey
flannel, plus a chambray shirt and knitted tie. £795, shop now

Unlined snuff suede chukka boots

Who says boots have to be stiff? Alden’s unlined suede chukka boots offer a lighter, more
malleable alternative to heavier lined styles, and will mould to your feet quicker than calf’s leather
boots. In warm snuff suede they’re simple and sleek, and match easily with other neutrals, indigo denim and earthy olive cotton trousers.
If you didn’t think ankle boots are for you, these really are worth a try. £595, shop now