The Boston Globe profiles the last remaining shoe and boot maker in New England, Alden Shoes. The company’s classic footwear has been worn by the likes of John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Indiana Jones… and the Massachusetts state troopers. The shoes will set you back about $350-$500 a pair, but they seem like awfully nice people. “Our shoes don’t wear out,” says Robert Clark, Alden’s vice president. [Boston Globe]

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  1. freshyill says:

    What about Hersey? [www.herseycustomshoe.com]

  2. uconn says:

    I’m using my tax rebate on a pair or cordovans.

  3. ClayS says:

    @freshyill:

    They apparently didn’t choose to pay an advertising fee to the Boston Globe for a “news” story.

  4. ClayS says:

    @freshyill:

    Also, the Limmer Boot Company which I believe is also located in New England makes boots, custom and non-custom. I have a pair of the latter.

  5. Slusy says:

    New Balance has five factories in New England as well.

  6. jfarnsy says:

    I get made fun of by a colleague at work who won’t spend more than $30 on his shoes – he can’t fathom spending so much on a pair of shoes. But his shoes look cheap. My Aldens fit like a glove, never go out of style and do last many, many years! If I could just win the lottery so that I can afford to buy a new pair…

  7. beavis88 says:

    “last *original* shoe and boot maker”, according to TFA. As the first few comments prove, there is a difference…

  8. cmdr.sass says:

    Limmer is a NH company and makes boots far superior to any other in our hemisphere.

    I find it funny that the MA troopers wear shoes that cost several hundred dollars. Yet another extravagance at the expense of the beleaguered MA taxpayer.

  9. Scudder says:

    @ClayS: Website states:

    In the mid ’70s, the Limmers entered an agreement with a major footwear manufaturer in Bavaria to produce the line of footwear offered here.

    Dunno if that means they’re made in Germany???

  10. Scudder says:

    @scudder: Their misspelling, not mine.

  11. ClayS says:

    @scudder:

    Their non-custom made boots are made in Germany. Their custom-made footwear is made in the USA; the lead time is ridiculous, like a few years. I have a pair of their off the rack boots. Extremely comfortable. I recall having to fax them a tracing of my foot, and they select the sizing based on that.

  12. Scudder says:

    @ClayS: Kewl…always looking for fair-wage and domestic products. Thanks!

  13. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @cmdr.sass: If they do last longer than other shoes, the department could be saving money in the long run. To some extent, spending more on shoes will actually get you your money’s worth.

  14. algormortis says:

    I’ve had the same pair of Alden shoes since i was a froshling in high school. I was a year behind so i was 15 then.

    I’m 30 now. People still ask me where i got those lovely penny loafers.

    They were custom makeups, as in my feet are too narrow (but alas big enough) for men’s shoes, but even off the rack, Alden shoes are far and away the best thing going. I did pull a seam once and upon calling them to ask who fixed Aldens, they told me to mail them in. That’s service on then 9-year-old shoes.

    (I like Danskos and Docs too and speak happily of them, but my Aldens…let me put it this way; anything i’ve had for 15 years that’s still in one piece, much less beautiful, has to be good.)

  15. Melt says:

    Allen Edmonds are the way to go. Made in the USA (mainly in WI) and can be totally recrafted from top to bottom for $85 for the lifetime of the shoe (new soles, insoles, etc)

  16. NoWin says:

    @cmdr.sass: I think Alden gives the new troopers the graduation set of boots gratis. If they are paid for by the state (taxpayers), I think thats the only set they get on us; any later pairs I think they pay out of pocket.

    By the way, Alden does make reeeeally nice shoes.

  17. jendomme says:

    My husband has three pairs of Alden’s (one of which is cordovan). The oldest pair is 18 years old. They have been refurbished by Alden once. These are hands down the best everyday shoes for men. I always laugh when people complain about spending $300-$500 for high-quality shoes that fit, are timeless and durable. These people opt for schlock such as Cole Haan, Perry Ellis, Ecco, etc. Simpletons.

    As for Allen Edmonds – they used to be ranked up there with Alden (and Church’s for that matter). However, two years ago they were purchased by a Asian clothing conglomerate and the only shoes they sell that are still made in the US are their cordovan bluchers. Such a shame.

  18. dcndn says:

    I have a pair of White’s Smokejumpers (a custom-made boot company from Spokane, WA) and they are unbelievably comfortable. When you have a size ten F width foot, it’s pretty amazing how much better they feel than off the rack shoes. Not cheap, but they made me a believer in shelling out for a custom shoe.