Alden of New England
Kenny taught me a valuable lesson. Because something is more expensive doesn’t mean it isn’t worth more. Better products can be cheaper to own. Look at shoes, for instance (coming from great shoe salesman). They hold up better and can be restored to new condition. You get added benefits: comfort, looks, better foot health.
KENNY SHERMAN stood from a position of facts delivered with passion. Yet again, his words prove true. After ten weeks absence, my ’09 cordovan loafers are back. For quarter the price of new, my old shoes were restored. Treated to skillful craftsmanship and shoemaking experience from the factory which manufactured them over a lustrum ago, they are now virtually brand new.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WEAR A CHEAP PAIR OF SHOES
Taken apart, cleaned, dyed, reassembled with all worn parts replaced, then polished. Boxed in correct retail packaging in tissue with new cloth dust bags and cedar shoe trees. A complete “new purchase” experience. Except these were my shoes. Not new shoes.
You know how shoes start falling apart in a year? Right about the time they become your favorites? Aldens typically last me three years. After recrafting, they come back as new shoes but their uppers are “broken into” to my feet. Cork, outsoles, insoles, heels, all replaced, all sewn together on the original last (shoe mold). Pre-broken-in new shoes. What a concept! An ultimate “body off” restoration.
Once again, a pleasure for rambling about windy concrete canyons and shady flagstone parks. Don’t your feet deserve the best?
Speaking of shoes, did we mention how cheap I am regarding footwear? We discussed Alden Cordovan Loafers when my favorite $120 dress shoes fell apart after only a year. Long conversations with Kenny over leather, insoles, lining, vamps, and welts produced one firm conviction. The cheapest shoe is the best shoe. He then opened Sherman Brother’s inventory to my perusal.
Wow, what nice material! Hey, these are absolutely the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. But Kenny, did you notice the price? $400? $600?
Who doesn’t love a great salesman! Kenny Sherman brought it all down to my level. You buy a shoe that is designed and manufactured to last years after it becomes your “favorite”. Instead of falling apart, it is just getting started. After three-to-five years, your cost is identical to an average shoe. Another year or so, and you’re MAKING MONEY! And when something fails, this shoe can be recrafted. SOLD!
After Kenny hooked me with superior dress shoes, he appealed to my vanity. “Jim, you seem the type of guy who likes wearing loafers without socks”. Yup, quietly wealthy. Tennis camp, dinner at the Club. That’s me. Who doesn’t like the feel of leather against skin? I invested in my first pair of Alden Unlined Flexwelt Loafers.
These are, literally, the closest thing to going barefoot. Your foot will sing the praises of superior American craftsmanship. New England at it’s finest! Easily surpasses their chowder! Skin soft suede. It is no wonder a Special Order of these takes months to get. Asia’s appetite for quality American shoes is voracious.
If you want a three season (four, in some locations) shoe comfortable as a fine leather glove, visit Kenny. Or someone with his passion. Get your feet accurately measured. Slip into a pair of America’s finest summer shoe. Alden’s Suede Unlined Flexwelt Loafers!
Socks? We don’t need no stinkin’ socks!
Unconsciously I became brand-loyal. Reaching for the same spice or salt, shoes and tires, buying habits formed decades ago influence every day. Particularly loyal to my shaving cream, I’ve found anything else, at twice the price, does not compare with Barbasol.
Who has not heard of Barbasol ? In the 1930s, after the Raytheon Tube put a radio in everyman’s home, America would be familiar with Singin’ Sam the Barbasol Man. “Barbasol, Barbasol … No brush, no lather, no rub-in … Wet your razor, then begin.” Actors, sports figures, even NASCAR has advertised for Barbasol.
Shaving is not rocket science. Lather up, scrape face, rinse, done. But in 1919, the process was forever changed by MIT Professor Frank Shields. In Indianapolis, Indiana, Frank started a company to sell the cream he invented. A scientist who understood the big picture, because I still buy only Barbasol. For the price? Sure. Mostly for the quality, though.
Planned Obsolescence. The manufacturer’s credo. Just about the time a pair of shoes begin to feel perfect, they fall apart. Without need, there is no demand. The decision-making process to buy will not exist.
A sales position beckoned after an injury forced me to take a break from rigorous tradesman labors. The product formerly installed would now, through new skills taught by Sales Training Managers, be sold (by me) for others to install. I breezed through instruction, and two weeks later hit the pavement running. And running. And running. Until my dress shoes fell apart. The old adage, “Wanna be a success, start your day with a decent breakfast and a good shine on your shoes” was not quite working, with the upper detached from the sole. The other salesmen started calling me Flappy.
Decades of living finally produced one new thought. Shoes start to fall apart just when they begin to feel really comfortable. So began the decision-making process with me. I was to become a buyer of premium-quality shoes. The salesmen saw me coming!
I choose Alden of New England, shoes made since 1884 in Massachusetts. They are recraftable, a construction that is designed to allow rebuilding. Which I’ve done once so far; the shoes came back looking, literally, brand new. Most importantly, Alden is an American company that stands behind their work. When a bit of stitching came loose, I posted the shoes back to Alden with a note, and they came back repaired and shined up, no charge.
You get what you pay for. Premium shoes feel better on your feet, and, with care, will last for decades. Run the numbers and you’ll see, it is less expensive to buy quality.
Alden is now the only original New England shoe and bootmaker remaining of the hundreds who began so long ago. Still a family owned business, still carrying forward a tradition of quality genuine-welted shoemaking that is exceptional in every way.