Tag Archives: Alden Lasts

Shoe Craft: Alden Lasts

The Alden Shoe Company was established in 1884 by Charles H. Alden. A major fixture in the once-thriving New England shoe and bootmaker industry, Alden is the only shoe manufacturer from that region still making all of their footwear in the USA. While other shoe companies have turned towards low cost labor available overseas in order to meet trendy consumer demands, Alden has thrived because of their commitment to quality, craftsmanship and tradition.

Today Alden shoes are known throughout the world for their superior quality and fit. One of the biggest factors in determining how a shoe fits is the form on which the shoe is made known as the last. Alden has been making all of their shoes on the same lasts for decades, and with good reason. For one, a last provides consistent fitting properties. Though a variety of patterns and styles can be constructed on the same last, they will all fit the same because they are crafted using the same form. This means that once you know your size in an Alden last you can expect the same fit every time. This consistency ultimately benefits the consumer when considered in comparison with other companies whose manufacturing standards can fluctuate and change, resulting in shoes with an inconsistent fit.

Each last also provides its own distinctive silhouette. The different toe and heel expressions that result from the unique contours of the individual lasts create recognizable stylistic accents. For instance, the Aberdeen last has an elegant slightly tapered toe shape that lends itself to a wide variety of designs including Alden’s Cap Toe Dress Shoes as well as their Tassel Moccasins and Full Strap Slip-Ons. The Van last on the other hand, is used for just about all of Alden’s Slip-On Leisure Mocassins because it’s fitting properties allow for a high wall around the shoe which can accommodate a full foot as well as a high vamp which helps a Slip-On to fit snugly and securely. All of the other classic lasts used by Alden including the Tremont, Barrie, Hampton, Plaza, and Copley have singular fitting properties as well.

When purchasing Alden shoes, the last is an important consideration for determining your size. If you’ve worn Alden shoes before, you can be assured that you will be the same size in all shoes built on a particular last. If you are a new Alden customer, we would encourage you to contact us and we can assist you in finding the right fit.