Alden 403 Chromexcel boots

My Alden 403 – had to wait a couple of months, but the pricing was crazy good!

Big thanks to Kyle at Baker’s for all his help 🙂

The Alden Indy boots, first known as the “high work shoe” earlier last century (of which there are many versions and revisions over the years), are American classics. They were made famous on the feet of Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies.

The 405 boots that Ford wore in the films were made of dark brown cattlehide (not the brick/rust red you see on the modern standard 403/405), but since the first Indiana Jones movie Alden has changed the colour of the 405 boots several times.

The standard Indy construct is an incomplete Goodyear welted make-up with a steel shank bridging the heel to the outsole.

This allows for a slimmer heel profile – not that it makes a huge difference on work boots anyway – and the shank makes up for the area of weakness where the welting ends and where the boot bends with walking.

I don’t particularly mind the colour not being exact, and thus I went with the 403 option with Horween’s Chromexcel!

It takes a shine more easily then the regular cattlehide, and is more water resistant and responsive to oils & waxes.

Btw, this pair has been conditioned with my home-made emu conditioner before the photos – you won’t get so much shine right off the bat.

A bit of oil also makes the colour come alive – gives it a deeper, richer tone.

A highly reflective shine would be possible with some wax polish, but not really keen on that look at this stage.

The pull-up effect of the Chromexcel leather lends a nice contrast between the quarters and the backstay.

I like the way Alden has left the leather midsoles and heel-stacks uncoated.

The mid-sole is of decent thickness.

Neoprene cork – one of the denser, heavier soles I’ve come across.

The hardware is of good quality, and the Goodyear welting done very neatly.

Although I will look for some round or leather laces to replace the standard flat, fabric ones.

I was impressed by Alden’s cut of the hide for this boot.

Much less grain damage/irregularities compared to Wolverine’s 1000 Mile boots (one version of which also made of Chromexcel).

But that’s not to say funny little spots aren’t here and there…which, in small amounts, add to the character of the boot!

The stitchings on the boot are spot on.

After some talk amongst the forums of stitch irregularities that were supposedly common on the Indys, I’m glad my pair turned out well.

The white contrast stitch adds to the appeal of the boots, I think, and distinguishes the Indy from other popular work boots.

This pair was made on width D (normal) of Alden’s Trubalance last.

Surprisingly, it’s actually a little less roomy (across the horizontal of the toe-box) then Tricker’s width 5 (normal) 4497 last.

Just FYI I’m size 8 UK on Tricker’s 4497 last (normal width) and size 9 US on Alden’s Trubalance last (normal width.)

I think I could have gone with a size 8.5 US on the Trubalance, but then I’d need a width E.

The leather lined edges are a nice touch, and adds a little sophistication to these work boots.

I wish my Tricker’s had lined edges…

Anyway, the closing off of seams and edges are very well done on these Indy’s.

Bonus: this batch was lined with leather on the inside! Yay!

IIRC older batches were lined with cotton duck?

Very happy with the 403 boots – great boots, and great pricing from Baker’s.

However, a small issue I noticed on the sole…

Not sure whether this is a deliberate design or a construction oversight.

My fear is that water may leak in and cause damage to the unwaxed portion of the leather heel-stacks…well, only time will tell.

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4 thoughts on “Alden 403 Chromexcel boots

  1. I’m considering the 403s over the 405s. Are you still happy with yours? Any problems since your photos? BTW, great photos and commentary. Thanks.

  2. Hello mike,

    I just bought a pair of alden 403 and I haven’t handled any shoes with cxl leather before. Could you share some tips on how to treat the leather?

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