A Guide to Alden Sizing
One of the more frequent queries we get at Trunk is regarding which size Alden a customer should buy. Whilst everybody's feet are different we thought it'd be useful to put down some guidelines that might help customers choose for themselves. Sizing obviously differs depending on whether you choose cordovan or suede, lined or unlined, shoe, chukka or loafer but also personal preference.
When I asked John Happ from Alden how they should fit this is what he said:
"Our primary fitting guideline is the ball joint of the person's foot should line up with the widest point of the outsole. Our shoes and boots are made to hold the foot snugly from the ball joint back to the heel. By fitting to the ball joint, a consumers is assured that his toes will have enough space in front to properly relax in the shoes. Then, the arch of the foot can relax and the heel is held snugly in place. By following this guideline, all the little details of our structural orthopaedic architecture work together to balance your foot, legs and back."
In simpler terms this means that with your heel nice and snug at the back, the widest part of your foot should sit at the widest part of the shoe.
Alden are perhaps best known for their cordovan shoes, in particular the plain toe blucher and longwing - both Trunk favourites and styles that we try to always carry. The plain toe blucher and long wing blucher are both made on the Barrie last (the 'last' is the foot-shaped block that a shoe is made on - a different shaped last means the shoe fits differently), which is what John Happ from Alden describes as their most 'classic' fit and we can consider it the baseline against which we measure the other fits. Cordovan is a very stiff leather but it's very durable and will soften over time. Normally a US shoe size is one size up from the UK equivalent, so a UK9 would be US10. However, Alden are a wider fit, and in the cordovan lace-up shoes we'd suggest buying s half size up from your UK size to accommodate this, or even (depending on your foot), going for an equivalent. As an example, I'm a true UK9 and wear a US9 in the cordovan lace-ups.
The suede chukkas are another classic style but much lighter as they're unlined. They're made on the Leydon last. It's got a slightly flatter forepart compared to the Barrie which means the foot sits flatter and maybe a half size bigger is needed. I find a chukka stays on the foot better than a shoe, perhaps because they fasten higher up on the foot. I generally wear a UK9 and in the unlined chukka I'd wear a US9.5 or a US10. John suggests this is the only style where a customer would vary from the standard fitting.
Loafers should be tighter - with no laces to tighten you don't want them to slip around. The Alden loafers are made on the Van last - this style has a slightly higher and rounder toe to show off the hand-stitched front and to give it a nice casual style. Obviously whether you intend to wear them with socks or not will have an influence on the size you buy but these should fit similarly to the Barrie last (plain toe or long wing). Trunk founder and director Mats Klingberg normally wears a UK10 and wears the Alden cordovan loafer in a US10, so the equivalent of a full size down.
We hope some of this information helps in making your Alden purchase an enjoyable and easy process!
Tim Yates - Buying & Operations Director