Alden Indy 403 – One Year Review

Alden Indy 403

About a year ago, in the spring of 2017, I got myself a pair of Alden 403 Workboots or Alden Indy, as they’re named these days. These are the standard 403 make up with brown chromexcel leather, 270 welt, neocork soles, and on the Trubalance last.

I got the from the Alden Shop of San Fransisco, one of the two Alden owned shops, who sent them promptly and without problems. The package was less than good though, with a stained box that looked like it was old and used. The shoes did however not show any signs of usage and had zero scuffs or other signs of ware.

Alden Indy Sizing

Having read quite a few reviews before making the purchase, I went against the common recommendation of sizing a half size down and went a full size down to 8E instead of my usual 9. This was not a problem and the shoes are arguably one of the most comfortable shoes I currently own. The toe room is plenty but not too big and the heel is being held in place very nicely. My right foot is just a tad bigger than my left foot so the right foot is a little more snug fit, but nothing that would make we want to size up half a size. The support for the foot in this size is very good.

Quality

Alden 403 - Wonderful to walk in but lacking in quality
Alden 403 – Wonderful to walk in but lacking in quality

While the Alden Indy’s are very comfortable to walk in I find the quality to be really subpar and not what I had come to expect from a $550 pair of shoes. What you can (possibly) see from the image above is how the stitching of the welt is really close to the edge of the shoe. Having been worn some 2-3 days per week, most of the stitching at the top half of the sole is gone, and is starting to losen at the top of the shoe as well.

The problem was obvious from day one and the lack of attention to detail is felt throughout the whole construction of it. The neocork sole cutout is uneven, the loopholes are just a tad off and so on. It’s a shame since the shoe really is treating your feet like royalty.

The front of the Alden Indy 403 Boot
A close-up shot of the Alden Indy 403 at one years of normal use

Wear

I wear these about 3 days per week and I mostly wear them with jeans but they go surprisingly well with dark green chinos as well as gray wool trousers. As boots go, they are comfortable to have on for an 8 hour work day as well as taking that long Sunday stole around town.

The inner lining of the shoe, together with the neocork sole make these boots a dream companion on any surface. I’ve used them in the woods, on asphalt, and even in the sandbox playing together with my kids. The Alden Indy’s can take a beating in that respect and, in my opinion, they just look better with a little wear on them.

Care

Taking the advice from many a boot aficionado on the various forums on the internet, I’ve only really brushed these shoes once since I bought them. Sure, I’ve dried off some sand and such from time to time but only once did I apply some shoe care product on them and in that case I used a Renovateur product from a well known merchant. They need very little care to look good since the leather is so “oily” as it is.

The Alden Indy 403 - a nice pair of shoes all things considered
The Alden Indy 403 – a nice pair of shoes all things considered

Final Thoughts – Alden Indy 403 One Year Later

The three questions I ask myself after having owned a pair of shoes for a year or so is

  1. Do I wear them enough? Are they my goto shoes or are they “I should really wear them since I bought them”
  2. How are they holding up? They were nice when I bought them, or else I wouldn’t have gotten them, but how are they holding up now?
  3. Would I buy them again or recommend to a friend that they buy a pair?

The first question is a resounding yes. I wear them and I like to wear them. They are practically my go to boot.

The second question is a bit trickier to answer. I like how the Indy 403 shows almost all interactions you ever have with it in the leather. It scuffs easily and that’s kind of nice actually, at least in a footwear like this. But the shoe feels a bit like it’s coming a part. I sure like wearing it but it’s not a value purchase. I cannot say I’m happy to have paid what I paid for these shoes. The longevity is just not there. In another year, given the same wear, I doubt they hold together.

Thirdly, I would advice anyone who are thinking about buying a new pair of boots to certainly have a look at a pair of Alden Indy 403. However, I would never trust a web shop sending me a good enough pair. If I were to buy these – or other Alden shoes – again, I would definitely want to see them in the store first. I’d look at the stitching, the sole cut, and the loopholes. Also, if you find a pair of seconds, I’d say go for them. I think the pair I purchased for full price was only up to the standard of a pair of seconds anyways.

So, would I? Would I buy a pair of Alden Indy 403 again. All things considered – yes. I’d probably go for the 405 though, just to get to try something new.

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