In Review: Alden 405 “Original” Indy Boots – $573
About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC and hydronics industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Today we’re checking out the Alden 405 “Original” Indy boots. It’s the iconic boot that most of us menswear and film fans know from the Indiana Jones films. Here’s Jim Pietryka, Director and Co-Founder of Ealdwine Gentleman’s Shop in Raleigh, NC, giving just a bit of the backstory on these boots:
Alden has been in business since 1884 and is well-known for making high quality, comfortable boots and shoes in various dress, semi-dress, and casual styles. I’m a huge, self-admitted Alden fan and have quite a few pairs of their Goodyear welted boots and shoes, including a handful of pairs of Indy boots, one of my favorite Alden patterns. Needless to say, when the opportunity arose to review a pair of their most classic Indy boots, I jumped at the chance almost as fast as Indiana Jones jumped into action. Read on!
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
Made in the USA, legendary boots.
- Brand: Alden
- Style: High top blucher workboot with moc toe
- Size: 10 US (43 EU)
- Last: Trubalance
- Construction: 270° Goodyear Storm Welt
- Upper: Full-grain “Legacy” cowhide from Horween
- Sole: “Neo-Cork” oil resistant soles
- Details: Foot Balance “Thomas” rubber heels, brown eyelets/speed hooks, natural welt
- Extras: Two flannel shoe bags
- Country of Origin: U.S.A.
- Price: $573 USD
Pairs great with… a fedora and a whip.
My pals at Ealdwine ordered this pair of 405 Indys in the “Original Brown Workboot Leather” in my size direct from the Alden factory in Middleborough, MA. FedEx dropped them off on my doorstep just four business days later, which was fairly surprising given this was all done during the Holiday shipping rush.
FYI: Ealdwine has a simple 10-day return policy. If you’re unhappy with the size, fit, or color of your purchase, return them within 10 days for a full refund. You’re on the hook for return shipping, though. As with most shoe retailers, returns must be in mint resalable condition with no evidence of try-on or wear.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, great service, fast shipping, and a dead simple return policy
Better not be snakes in there.
Alden delivers your new shoes or boots in a lovely pine or forest green shoe box made of sturdy cardboard. One edge of the lid is hot stamped with the Alden crest and logo in gold foil, while the bottom half has the model number, size, and width stamped in legible white ink. While this box isn’t decorated as fancy as some of the other brands that I’ve reviewed in the past, they do hold up over time.
Looking inside the box, my boots were individually wrapped in clear plastic bags with a cardboard divider that helps protect them during shipping. They arrived in mint condition with no obvious signs of damage.
The included pair of Alden boot storage bags are the golden standard that I judge other shoe bags against. These felted cotton cloth bags are soft, sturdy, and can double as a polishing cloth in a pinch!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Simple, but very solid. I love these Alden branded shoe/boot bags.
Extra care taken for shipment.
After taking the boots out of the box and unbagging them, the first thing that strikes you is the warm brick red color of this leather. It’s sometimes hard to determine color accuracy online – different monitors and cameras will display colors differently – but this is certainly a darker shade of red in between a mahogany brown and a burgundy. It’s quite striking, but not in a “What the hell am I going to wear these with?” kind of way. The natural leather storm welt, white welt stitching, and white moc toe stitching add a nice pop of contrasting color that compliments the matte full-grain cowhide leather upper, sourced from Chicago’s Horween tannery. According to an internet friend of mine that works for Alden, this particular leather tannage is called Legacy, a variant of Latigo and similar to the infamous and widely used Chromexcel. Brown eyelets, speed hooks, and flat cotton laces round out the package up top.
Full grain Horween leather. White moc toe and welt stitching.
Flipping the boots over, you’ll notice the reddish Neo-Cork soles, Foot Balance “Thomas” heels, and neatly finished Goodyear welted stitching. Neo-Cork outsoles aren’t unique to Alden, but they’re interesting nonetheless combining granulated bits of cork into flat slabs of nitrile rubber. They’re oil and water resistant while also being very durable; I’ve had one pair of the classic Indys in my own personal rotation for over five years and the soles are still kicking. I will note that they’re not the grippiest soles out there – be careful on slick grass, ice, or packed snow! If you need something with more grip, look for models with the Commando soles. The Foot Balance “Thomas” heels are pretty unique in that the inside medial edge extends a half-inch longer than the outside edge. This gives added support under the medial arch zone. These rubber heel tops are glued down and nailed in place, but can easily be replaced by a local cobbler.
Goodyear Welted. Neo-Cork soles, Foot Balance “Thomas” heels.
Peering inside, you’ll immediately notice the comfort amenities. The O.G. Indy boots used to have a 100% cotton duck canvas or Cambrelle nylon lining, but those have since been switched out for a soft and supple glove leather. There’s a small layer of foam underneath the gold foil stamped heel pad that helps cushion your heel. In my experience, this foam is very durable and doesn’t fade or break down easily. Finally, you’ll notice the natural vegetable-tanned leather used for insoles. Over time, the leather insoles will conform to your feet, kind of like how your couch has that one divot just for your backside.
What you won’t immediately notice are the layers of natural cork and the tempered steel shanks underneath those leather insoles. The cork filler also conforms to your feet in time and adds additional resilience and insulation. The steel shank is ribbed for
your pleasure extra strength, giving the shoe a literal “backbone” for some additional long term stability, support, and shape.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! Top quality materials, craftsmanship, and design for durable comfort.
Glove leather interiors. Insoles that will conform to your feet over time.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
Today’s Indy boots are made of premium materials: high quality cowhide uppers, glove leather lining, vegetable-tanned leather insoles, cork filled midsole, and the Alden signature ribbed, tempered steel shank to support the metatarsal area. Comfort is always subjective, but assuming you find a size and last that works for your feet, I promise you these are some of the most comfortable boots you’ll ever buy.
The Trubalance combination last is Alden’s widest and most voluminous last. It was designed to fit a wide range of foot shapes, from normal to extremely pronated or heavy feet. It’s especially great for those that need orthotics. The Trubalance last features a wide forefoot zone, a straight inner border, and a smaller heel cup to lock the heel in so that the foot remains balanced and won’t slide around. It’s best for those with low arches and flatter feet, although I have no issues with my moderately tall arches.
Roomy through the forefoot. On purpose.
Due to the extra volume, the Trubalance last runs a half-size larger than standard US sizing. I suggest sizing down at least a half-size from your Brannock measurements. Knowing this, I choose a 10D in the Alden Indy boots made around the Trubalance last and tend to wear medium to thick socks with them.
For reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Vans and an 11 in most Adidas or Nike sneakers.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Great! VERY comfortable and will get better in time. Size down at least a half-size.
Designed to fit a wide range of foot shapes, and thus, runs half a size large.
Size down a half size.
I find that Indy boots are best worn in “smart casual” outfits with sport shirts, flannel shirts, and chambray shirts paired with casual-leaning chinos, five-pocket pants, and dark denim. I could certainly see a tailored sport coat or a chunky cardigan thrown into the mix as well. The Indys are very versatile.
Yes, Alden Indy boots are certainly an expensive investment, but given the top quality materials, American craftsmanship, and Goodyear welted recraftability, they’ll serve you well for many years to come. There have been many imitations and knock-offs over the years, but there’s nothing quite like the genuine thing. I highly recommend Alden and the Indy boots. Should you find yourself in Raleigh, NC, drop by Ealdwine and see my friends Jim Pietryke and Matt Gray to try some on for yourself!
Avg. Score: 5/5 Stars – It’s a legend for a reason. The Indy is the quintessential heritage work boot.
Enter here to win a pair of Alden 405 “Original” Indy Boots from Ealdwine Gentlemen’s shop. One entry per person. Deadline for entry is 11:59 pm ET 1/27/21. Winner will be notified by email. Good luck, and a HUGE thanks to Ealdwine for loaning a pair to Adam for review, as well as providing a pair for giveaway!
UPDATE: Congrats to Randy G. who won the drawing for a pair of Alden Indys from Ealdwine Gentlemen’s Shop in Raleigh!
A big thanks to the folks at Ealdwine Gentlemen’s shop for providing a pair of Alden Indys for review and giveaway.
As you can see in the shot above, they know what they’re talking about when it comes to all things Alden!