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.
La 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Green is good. Sometimes. Definitely in this instance.
If I was seeking a mentor, and Patrick Swayze from Road House wasn’t available, these would be high on the list.
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).
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.