Another year, another 9,472 Alden makeups to choose from—to buy and wear, but also for Stitchdown’s year-end picks for the best of 2019

The pretty simple rules! 1) All boots and shoes must have been first released in 2019 (I’m pretty sure I got that all correct…). 2) No rare shell. Because of obviously limited availability, but also because nobody needs me to consume their brains with what they might have missed on that front. Unhealthy.

Speaking of shell, I’m actually surprised with the lack of it that made it into the list. Obviously there are countless tremendous Color 8 and black shell Aldens that basically anyone would be honored to own. But I think it just comes down to: being creative with shell is tough. Although I like to think that a whole bunch of people will be happy with something a little different come this Spring

This list could’ve easily been three, or honestly 10 times as long. But you need to cut these things off somewhere. So I went with what struck me the hardest, instead of everything I wish I had in my closet. Most but not all of these 17 picks are still available in at least a few sizes—click through those links to see what’s left.

Oh and definitely check out The Best Viberg Makeups of 2019 if you haven’t already.

LaRossa Atom Wing Dark Brown ReginaLa Rossa Shoe x Alden Atom Wing Blucher

LaRossa is primarily a very excellent shoe repair shop outside Boston, but they also carry some Aldens, and do a makeup here and there—one of which was one probably the most heart-stoppingly innovative, yet somehow quietly elegant re-inventions I saw all year. Atom blucher+wingtip=damn. Just, damn. Brilliant stuff.

Alden Brick And Mortar Belltown Indy Blue SuedeBrick & Mortar x Alden Belltown Indy Boot

While I’m a bit of an Alden Indy boot purist personally, every now and then an Indy makeup that’s far from the 403/405 really catches a piece of my heart. This is one of them. The blue suede, the 9 eyelets, the tan wedge sole—in many ways it’s a totally divergent boot. It’s also completely fantastic. Bravo.

Alden Brogue Easyday BlucherBrogue x Alden Easyday Blucher

Designed by @marvaments, these crepe-soled, reverse tobacco chamois triumphs are as casual as you want them to be, until you need to go somewhere nice. But don’t want to change shoes.

Brogue Alden Officer ShoeBrogue x Alden Officer Shoe

I love a shoe that seems trapped in time, somehow summoned forward from a place when you had one pair of shoes, and they kind of looked like everyone else’s one pair of shoes, but your one pair of shoes was just…better. These are definitely better.

Alden Alpine Grain Atom Blucher Ealdwine

Ealdwine x Alden Martin Atom Blucher

The Atom is a great, fun, classy-casual makeup—that little flap just does so much. You’ll see some great Atom makeups, and I certainly love them in shell and also hunting green suede. But these Alpine grains on the Hampton last from Mr. Matt Gray himself have a real place in my heart.


HOW MATT GRAY ASSEMBLED PERHAPS THE WORLD’S FINEST COLLECTION OF ALDEN RARE SHELL CORDOVAN BOOTS


Alden JCrew DeRosa BlucherAlden JCrew DeRosa Blucher

J. Crew x Alden Derosa Blucher

Blue suede is just fun in general, but these manage to casual it out really nicely, making them almost earn an “actually pretty wearable” label. I imagine they look fantastic all beat up.

Alden Regina Grain Jumper Boot

Alden Madison Brown Regina Grain Jumper

The Jumper boot is an Alden Madison stalwart that they’ve done in all sorts of leathers over the years, but this one with buttery regina grain and brass eyelets is every bit as good as any of the rest. Maybe even better.

Alden Country Calf LHS Leather Soul

Leather Soul x Alden Unlined Country Calf LHS

While it’s basically impossible to reinvent Alden’s timeless and absolutely necessary Leisure Handsewn Loafer, these use one of the more unique leather choices I’ve seen. Unlined for Hawaii!

Alden Military Shoe UTip Leather Soul

Leather Soul x Alden Military U-Tip

Ok yes this is the Leather Soul section. Hawaii’s finest really went for it with these casual kings on the 379x military last and Goodyear wedge. Every single person who’s shopping for sneakers should maybe just get these instead.

Alden Tan Suede Punched Cap Chukka Leather Soul

Leather Soul x Alden Tan Suede Punched Cap Six-Eyelet Chukka

I went back and forth between these and the color 8 shell version, but the tan suede just kept calling, and calling, and calling. Such a unique makeup. Love ’em.


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Alden MIlkshake Suede Tankers Frans Boone

Frans Boone x Alden Milkshake Suede NST Boot

No point in dancing around it—these are on here for the sheer audacity alone. And for the fact that they’d probably make pretty great dancing boots.

Alden Fremont Blucher Brick and Mortar

Brick & Mortar x Alden Fremont Dover Blucher

This is a bold combo to be sure, but for me, it really, really works. Love the under-utilized walnut calf upper, but obviously this shoe is about the loud chunk underneath, with the natural reverse welt and Sahara Tan wedge. Pretty much the opposite of a standard Dover in every way.

David Wood Alden Mackworth

David Wood x Alden Mackworth

The Alden Ranger Mocc in general doesn’t get enough due, but I particularly love this red-soled iteration from Portland (the Maine one) clothier David Wood. Hey, if you’re gonna start putting funky-soled casual shoes into a list like this, why ever stop?

Todd Snyder Alden Indy Boot Green Reverse Chamois

Todd Snyder x Alden Green Reverse Chamois Indy Boots

Green is good. Sometimes. Definitely in this instance.

Alden x Brogue Mentor Blucher

Brogue x Alden Mentor Blucher

If I was seeking a mentor, and Patrick Swayze from Road House wasn’t available, these would be high on the list.


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Alden of Carmel Natural CXL Straight Tip Boot

Alden of Carmel Natural CXL Straight Tip Boot

Just a great straightforward but still original boot whose natty CXL should patina like crazy. I have a hunch that this 2-2 heel/toe cap stitching pattern is really going to pick up steam in 2020 (you’ll see what I mean early in the year).

Alden Leffot Dearborn Boot

Leffot x Alden Dearborn Boot

Ok fine so this one is grandfathered in—it’s a restock of a 2017 boot—but it’s just too elegant, and too arresting, and too subtly two-tone with its color 8 shell and dark brown Regina grain, and just overall too damn good to leave off. Hampton last.