Founded in 1884 by Charles H. Alden in Middleborough, Massachusetts - shoemaking was already the predominant industry in New England of the time, second only to farming. Pulling from the expertise of the region’s craftsmen and the new machines of the Industrial Revolution, Alden shoes followed the tradition of Northampton formal and semi-formal footwear with some bonus hard-working American ingenuity.
Just prior to the founding of Alden, the Goodyear welted process of sole stitching was invented in America, making it easier to resole shoes than ever before and defining a new generation of shoemaking of quality as aesthetic. Alden has used this same method since its beginning. Working from lasts with a reputation for being bulkier than their European counterparts, Alden shoes have the benefit of comfort and an overall larger “American” silhouette. Additionally, shoes are left on their lasts for several days for a pre break-in period. Along with producing traditional men’s shoes, Alden has pioneered the field of orthopedic design for fit and balance that began with retooling for the military during WWII and was perfected by the 70’s. Their leathers are mainly sourced from small tanneries in the US and Europe and their shell cordovan comes from the last such tannery in America, Horween Leather Co., that Alden has used continuously since 1930.
While shoe manufacturing has been mostly outsourced overseas for the mass-market demands that require cheaper labor, materials and manufacturing - Alden has stalwartly focused on creating hand-crafted, high-quality products that have remained relatively unchanged for 135+ years. Out of the hundreds of shoemakers in New England during the nineteenth century, Alden is the last one standing - continuing their commitment to the quality of generational craftsmanship.