Alden Longwing Bootmaker Edition Review

black calf alden longwings

An American classic that defies trends, Alden longwings are lovingly called gunboats due to their robust construction which includes elements like the substantial double leather soles and full broguing that gives the shoe a little more visual heft.

Made on the Barrie last, the Alden longwing is definitely not what you would call sleek but neither is it overly chunky as you may presuppose. This grants a good amount of versatility allowing you the opportunity to wear them with jeans + a jacket as well as suits with a slightly weightier fabric.

The last itself seems to accommodate most foot types as long as you are not at one of the extremes of being overly narrow or wide. Out of the box they are quite comfortable but will obviously get better as the shoes mold to your feet.

These are the Bootmaker Edition in black calf from The Shoe Mart in Connecticut which also offer the model in cordovan. Personally I feel that cordovan is somewhat wasted on black shoes and really shines as a material (no pun intended) in the various shades of brown like ‘whiskey’ and ‘ravello’ for example.

The only thing I will fault Alden for is the minor imperfections in the finishing  of calf shoes which I have seen on more than one occasion.  At this price point ($500+ in the USA and much more in Europe), this is just unacceptable. Your can find English made shoes for example (Loake 1880 line) that cost less and won’t have the small but identifiable flaws you will see from Alden.

That aside, these are a pair of iconic American shoes that will serve me well in a variety of wardrobe situations and because they can be resoled over and over again, makes their cost (when looked at over a span of years) more sensible than spendthrift.


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Joseph Fields