I always keep two pairs of Alden’s Cordovan in my closet at all times.


One pair’s worn down and beaten up, and the other pair, shoe-treed and polished.


They’re maybe the most versatile shoe in my closet.


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  1. Laura

    May 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I love this kind of shoes! I was so glad when they begin to do men derbies for women a few years ago!


  2. ptb

    May 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Why in heaven’s name would you not maintain and care for the pair which is more worn? Plenty of options for a lower-shine finish, if desired. You’re too old, too grown-up, and too smart to abuse Aldens. C’mon.

    • melissa

      May 3, 2013 at 12:21 am

      Maybe the first pair, was an older pair? Or maybe it’s fun to let some thing have a little worn look, after all, we all will have that one day anyway….

    • M

      May 3, 2013 at 5:44 am

      I agree!

    • DaniLi

      May 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Both look damn good but personally, I think you should have rather maintained that pair of Aldens and bought yourself a pair of Florsheim by Duckie Brown “Broken-in Brogue”


    • Michael

      May 9, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Funny you make a comment like this. I was actually just thinking about something like this. I have a beautiful pair of Santoni shoes (in this similar burgundy/brown color) and I want to wear them with jeans or khakis more often, but they’re just too nice and really want to reserve for more formal wear. I have been strongly thinking about buying a 2nd similar pair just to beat around in with jeans and not care about scuffs, etc. Great and timely post (for me) by the Satorialist. This should answer your question or at least the logic behind having 2 similar/same pairs of shoes.

  3. Reptilia

    May 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

  4. carol

    May 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

  5. Quinn Cooper

    May 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t know much about men’s shoes but I do know when a man is wearing a nice pair of shoes. Men seem to think that shoes don’t matter that much, but I completely disagree. I honeslty think it is one of the first things a girl looks at on a man (well maybe not the first but you get my drift).

    Quinn Cooper Style

  6. anyway

    May 2, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    It reminds me the “Sockless” post (good fun).

  7. Michael R

    May 2, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    These shoes have great style possibilities…a good bet. They transcend fashion’s ins and outs.

  8. Catharine

    May 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Brilliant, I will just do that! to have 2 pairs of same high heel shoes…. the one that I end up wearing all the time, I will just buy another same pair….Why haven’t I thought of that? Thank you!

    I wonder how many pair of shoes you have : )

  9. Jake

    May 2, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    While I think the beat up style doesn’t suit brogues very well, this is still a cool post. Any plans on showing off your custom cordovans?

  10. Monsieur Marcel

    May 2, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    When I was just out of college and making my way in the workforce, a woman whose opinion I valued told me that she judges men by the quality of their shoes.

  11. Jill

    May 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    My husband wears shoes very similar to these (different brand, though I can’t think of it at the moment) and has for years and years. One pair black and one pair cordovan. They work with so much. :)

  12. Gian Luca M

    May 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    elegant shoes…

    Gian Luca M


  13. Jill

    May 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    My husband always has a couple of these too – different brand but similar style. One black and one cordovan. They’re perfect with so many wardrobe choices. :)

    Also to the poster who chastised Scott for not caring for the older pair- I personally love it when a well-worn pair has that patina and the creases…it’s a great look. Just because they’re worn in doesn’t mean they’re not cared for. :)

    • une chatte grise

      May 3, 2013 at 2:39 am

      Yes!! A well-worn pair of good shoes is a thing of beauty indeed. Honestly, I find the older shoes far more appealing than the pair on the right.

    • Sevan

      May 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

      I totally agree. I always kept my shoes as long as I could, caring for them by taking them to the cobbler for repairs and using a good wax.
      Same as clothes or furniture : I don’t like the “brand new” look.

  14. 9ido

    May 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    The new ones on the right are great.
    Shame the others look like crap and uncared for.

  15. Jeff

    May 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I just bought a new pair of penny loafers and i do the same thing. i keep a pair for weekends and jeans and a fresh pair for the office. by the way, why not use vibram sole safers on your leather bottoms? i always get some installed right out of the box.

  16. Mark Miller

    May 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    They are great shoes, well made and timeless…sad to see that you would not keep even a more aged pair in a little better shape.
    Also….you forgot to mention Alden is a Made in the USA shoe!

  17. Sue

    May 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm


  18. SRQPIX

    May 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Shoes really do matter…a lot! It’s hard to be stylish without a good and proper pair.

  19. phototristan

    May 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I’m a big fan of Alden shell cordovan shoes. If I had to choose only one, it would be these (Alden 975) for sure.

  20. emily

    May 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    I do the same, but with the Vibram Performa Jane, in black. :)

    • The Sartorialist

      May 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      My Alden’s are so comfortable I don’t need to add anything extra
      At first sight I thought they would be uncomfortable or hard to break in but they were instantly great.


    May 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    wow they are great, love them!

  22. Francesco

    May 2, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    There is something very intimate between you and your (shell cordovan) aldens, if you don’t own at least one pair you really cannot understand…

  23. Jama

    May 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Swap the worn out pair for the plain-toe blucher model. You won’t find a more comfortable shoe that is even more versatile.

  24. Flor

    May 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Jajaja this shoes are amazing. I like most the used ones. They have life :)


    May 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Serious shoes. I think that if I had to get rid of every shoe that I own, then keeping only two pair, one would be a pair of the Adidas Stan Smith, and the other would be the Alden shoe pictured above.

  26. Pauline

    May 2, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    They both look amazing !

  27. Chris

    May 2, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    I have so much to say about this post and these shoes (in such a good way). But all I will say is: Damn :)

  28. Leesee

    May 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    may I ask, since the pair on the left look more worn in. Have you considered placing ‘shoe-treeds’ inside of them?

    Or would they feel stiff and not broken into?

    I hate it when my leather shoes fold in the front like that….


  29. rwi

    May 2, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    From my point of view Alden are too high priced for the quality you get. Allen Edmonds is even worse. Carmina shoes have a nice store in Paris and offer a very high quality and prices around 550 Euros.

  30. Evan

    May 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    These shoes cost $650. Please, put in the shoe trees.

  31. cristina

    May 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    like an Englishman in new york ;-)


  32. milex

    May 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    They go with so many outfits! I wish I had money to invest in one pair :)

  33. Erica

    May 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    So smart & smart looking! Love these shoes


  34. Sylvia S

    May 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Mr. Scott Schuman …. I know that you´re coming to Mexico!!!!
    I am so happay!!! see u soon. yupi

  35. Lindsey

    May 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Beautiful shoes! Love them

  36. AyaOgasawara

    May 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    That’s a great idea.
    sometime i bought jeans and tops 2 pairs but shoes was never try that. i will try next time. :)

  37. OB

    May 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    for unique Alden styles you must check out Moulded Shoe in Manhattan :

  38. JD

    May 2, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    “You won’t find a more comfortable shoe that is even more versatile.”

    Agreed, but i would recommend the AF88 from Alden Carmel as well..unobtrusive and a great winter time commando sole.

  39. melissa

    May 3, 2013 at 12:20 am

    when my son was about 2 years old, I would dress him in Gap overalls, a cashmere sweater from an amazing Italian children’s designer, and a pair of wing tips….

  40. Suzanne Nelson

    May 3, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Nice! Love the subtle contrast, love you posted them.
    Mildly depressed at the number of commenters who just don’t get it….

  41. Vea

    May 3, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I am 52 and I do exactly the same with my Church’s … Or my jeans……

    BTW I am french and I just love your blog for years … and so does my son who is 22

    Thank you Scott

  42. Roy

    May 3, 2013 at 1:33 am

    “My Aldens”. No apostrophe.

  43. Freya - Fashionable People

    May 3, 2013 at 1:54 am

    So smart and such a classic shoe


  44. Leah

    May 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

    I love these kinds of shoes and have been looking forever for a pair designed for women. Anyone willing to help out? Preferably online store please.

  45. Simone

    May 3, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Le Alden sono scarpe fantastiche ma anche molto costose…. peccato non abbia mai potuto permettermene un paio

  46. Elena

    May 3, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Looks like the old pair was with you for a while and attended lots of fashion events;)

  47. justoutwalkin

    May 3, 2013 at 3:31 am

    Aldens are the best ever and — at least used to — fit narrow feet (AA). Maybe the only thing I don’t like about retirement is that there is no place to wear them. I sometimes wonder if the twelve people that got mine apprecciated what they had.

  48. Denisa

    May 3, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Really great and elegant. My grandfather use it too. Have a nice friday.


  49. rine

    May 3, 2013 at 3:56 am

    great looking, but I’m too poor to afford that; right now i only own 3 pair of shoes which I have to clean and change all the time; maybe some day..

  50. Edoardo Giardini Giussani

    May 3, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Go for “sunken metal toe plates”.. On such beautiful shoes they are going to double the lifetime of the sole, the shoe and it’s aspect!! Especially i guess in your case where you enjoy walking a lot in them!!

    Milan – Italy

  51. la cafarde

    May 3, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Please, get some shoe trees for the old pair! Plus saddle soap, neatsfoot oil, kiwi parade gloss and dubbin. I’ve got a pair of Bally chelsea boots that have lasted 18 years so far with this treatment. You won’t regret it

  52. Stew

    May 3, 2013 at 4:36 am

    No style they are like something my grandad would wear after he was de mobbed after the war

  53. Namrata

    May 3, 2013 at 5:10 am

    I actually think the one thats beaten down looks way better!


  54. Lelli Family

    May 3, 2013 at 5:27 am

    essential style …… for a stylish man

    Daddy Lele

  55. mMore

    May 3, 2013 at 7:05 am


  56. London_Wit

    May 3, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Personally, I dont like the shape of Aldens, would recommend trying Cheaney’s which is way better constructed shoe by any standard .. my two cents

  57. bp294

    May 3, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Alden’s is an esteemed label, but their shoes IMHO always lacked a certain daring. The best cordovan brogues available in the USA over the last quarter-century were sold by Brooks Brothers. Now, talk about shoe porn! They were plain toe, and sort of minimalist chic — Jil Sander before Jil Sander. This was in the olden days when BB was still owned by WASPs. (BB also used to make white boxer briefs which were truly decadent in their luxuriousness.) Cordovan shoes are a bitch to break in, which is possibly why the Sartorialist holds on to his old well-worn pair so zealously. I’ve grown to admire a good beat-up pair of leather shoes — of course, the antiqued-shoe trend has made this entirely acceptable — but these are the wrong sort of brogues for that effect, methinks.

    • Francesco

      May 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

      the cordovan shoes sold by brook brothers were produced by Alden, probably one of the earliest example of cobranding.

      • bp294

        May 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm

        I’ll take your word for it, Francesco. But having owned a couple of pairs of the BB shoe, I don’t remember Alden’s name on the label; and I’m pretty sure Alden didn’t sell the shoes themselves. Hate to date myself, but I’m talking the mid-1980s. Are you sure we’re talking about the same model from the same era?

        • bp294

          May 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

          I stand corrected. Just ran across, by chance, some pairs of Alden for J. Crew boots, a few made of cordovan leather, for sale on eBay. And, yes, the maker of these remarkably beautiful boots were certainly the makers of the Brooks Brothers oxfords I remember so fondly. Just an exquisite level of craftsmanship!

  58. paxton

    May 3, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Great shoes & both looks work. But i bet you wear them to show a dashing bare ankle….wd like to know what you do to protect the inside. Leather insoles? Low sock liners? Or…? Newspaper rolled up to app shape is good for keeping shoes trim. The English Times is very good….small & easy to roll into compact pointy oval…..

  59. Martine

    May 3, 2013 at 8:17 am

    HA, so you DO have a shoe tree.

  60. Nico

    May 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

  61. Lesly

    May 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

    When I met my husband he was always nicely dressed, but he really was quite frugal in many ways and still is to this day. I started upgrading his wardrobe over time, buying him really nice suits, making sure that he went to a tailor for a perfect fit, etc and he would complain about the money spent but went along with it. In the past two years I have gotten him two pairs of Alden wingtips and he LOVES them. In fact he loves them so much that even when I gave him the price tag he didn’t even flinch. It also helps that they are made in the USA and will last a lifetime with good care. It is true that a lot of women pay attention to a man’s shoes! Bad shoes can ruin a look.

  62. LesFleurs

    May 3, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Why not take the pair on the left to a cobbler for resoling?
    Worn is fine on Brogues, scruffy not so much.
    It’s like the difference between “Vintage” and just “old”.

    • Jurg schmid

      May 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Alden will make them look new for 120$
      Regards Jurg

  63. Tom

    May 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I blew the bank on a pair of these a few months back, but they were worth every penny. Unfortunately I walked into somebody the other day though, because I was looking at my Aldens instead of looking where I was walking!

  64. Erick

    May 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

    I have a black pair of Allen Edmonds Norwegian split toes which are beat up beyond belief. Salt damage, scuffs, huge holes in the soles, etc. They’re my favorite pair of shoes and plan on keeping them around for a while.

  65. Frank

    May 3, 2013 at 10:08 am

    To me, Dr.Martens oxford collection, beat classic and modern, because they match them both. I can’t stop using them.

  66. mattiabdk

    May 3, 2013 at 11:55 am

    the best shoes in the world !!!!!


  67. FripperyVintage

    May 3, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Love this photo!

  68. ap

    May 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm


  69. Herman G

    May 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Quality never goes out of style..”

  70. Michael

    May 3, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Remember when you used to say that didn’t like Alden’s? It looks like you really changed your opinion on them.

  71. BirthoftheKool Kendrick

    May 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    An excellent choice in shoes, no doubt. But why don’t you send the “beaten up” pair back to Alden for refurbishing? They do and excellent job.

  72. troy

    May 3, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    i understand a good cobbler can make these look new? haven’t had the need but i’ve seen articles/before and after photos. ask around.

    • bp294

      May 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm

      It’s absolutely amazing what a good cobbler can do! I’ve held on to shoes for decades (1) because I take good care of them and have enough pairs to rotate their use and (2) because I rely on shoe repairmen to revive older pairs. I guess some people would consider them mid-market, but I swear by the Andrade chain in NYC, run by a very nice family from South America (I forget what country exactly).

  73. gus

    May 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Absolutely brilliant. The difference between having style and reading about it.

  74. Herrbergquist

    May 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Classy – quality never goes out of style.

  75. Dr.Ofnothing

    May 4, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Fanstastic. I do the same thing with a pair of brown Cole Haan cap-toes.

  76. anania fortunato

    May 5, 2013 at 1:59 am

    simply perfect

  77. robert

    May 5, 2013 at 5:07 am

    alden makes great shoes! Just got my first pair, a cap toe brown lace up! comfort , quality construction, and, fairly priced if you think of the years you get out of them!
    does anybody recommend toe taps as protection?

  78. Aussiegus

    May 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Hi Sart, have you have ever done a post on shoe care? Which products do you use or recommend?

  79. Noemi

    May 5, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Every man should have these shoes, they’re all so beautiful!

  80. Greg

    May 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    A perfect pair.

  81. A Life Designed

    May 6, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Growing up I remember these being my father’s ‘go to’ shoes… As timeless and classic today as they were then!

  82. Els

    May 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Shoes are meant to age. They will too, no matter how well you look after them. It makes them look loved and real. Having a spare pair on hand, yells us how timeless they are to the one who wears them

  83. lola

    May 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Une métaphore des âges, lecture de droite à gauche, la jeunesse, la vieillesse :)

  84. Nick

    May 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

    If only I had the money for real cordovan shoes. I love the color so for now just regular leather ones will do.

    I like Johnston&Murphy best – dressy, well made but comfortable.

    Cordovan shell shoes start around $500 I drool.

  85. J Fussell

    May 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I have four pairs of Aldens – all made on the Barrie last. Last year I returned a pair of cordovans to the factory to be refurbished. It’s a little pricy, but they came back looking like new. Incredible work and a new set of shoetrees to boot.

  86. Stan

    May 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    How did they get so worn if you ‘keep them in the closet at all times’?

  87. adrien

    May 8, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    I have always think that Alden are very heavy, i prefer Finsbury.

  88. Eric

    May 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I do the same with APC’s (though they cycle more quickly). The stack ranges from Dark, to summer-weight, to tissue. Age statements may be passĂ© in categorizing spirits, but they’re still my instinct with denim.

  89. Skweekah

    May 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I love brogues. When I wear mine, I feel like a King amongst mere mortals.

  90. Dee

    May 20, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I’m the same way with my UGGs.

    • dcinDC

      June 15, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!! Looks like I’m the only one that got it.

  91. Treborn

    May 22, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I bought a pair of Alden 975′s (not unlike that well worn pair) at a Salavation Army donation store back in the 1900′s for 75cents when I first started college (circa 1992). I brushed and buffed, they looked and felt so damned good for many years. I always assumed that those shoes must have belonged to a successful man, hence and therefore, “walk a mile in a man’s shoes…”. Just bought some new longwings, wont wear them much, hope some kid will find them after I’m done with them and carry on the legacy.

  92. Saverio Dolcimascolo

    June 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Fantastic .. Vintage and Alive…!!

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