Been wearing the Alden 403 boots for one & a half months now, 2 to 3 times a week.
One thing I’ve noticed so far, apart from the slight darkening of the grain, is the creasing of the vamp & the effect this achieves in combination with the pull-up of the CXL leather.
Further due to the pull-up, the toe-box & sides of the vamp (where the leather is stretched and bent) also presents a lighter colour & glossier tone compared to the vamp.
Below is a bunch of pics taken on the same day, but under different lighting conditions – hopefully they’ll illustrate what I’m trying to convey.
I find it to be a very pleasing aesthetic 🙂
The stitching, apart from giving the Alden high work boot it’s distinction, also seems to prevent the sides of the vamp & toe-box from becoming heavily creased.
A very curious contrasting effect, although the creasing may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and can’t be prevented either (I keep a pair of hefty cedar trees in them all the time.)
The CXL too, apart from being very responsive & water resistant, also takes a decent shine with minimal effort.
In fact, I doubt it’ll need any polish for a long time…my oil/wax concoctions seem to do the trick just fine.
But being responsive is sometimes a double-edges sword when it comes to boot leather, in that responsive leathers usually have a more delicate grain & are prone to abrasions.
However, I’ve found that any nicks or scratches are easily buffed away with a little bit of emu cream.
Although not as easily cleaned or ‘corrected’ as cordovan – after all, CXL is a grained leather, unlike cordovan in which the fibre runs consistently vertically – it is still more easily handled than most footwear cattlehides I’ve come across.
In contrast to most pictures you see on the website of online vendors, the CXL leather on the 403 is actually very much more maroon than brown.
Under natural light of good intensity, the leather actually lightens up to lollipop red.
In terms of function, the neoprene cork outsole is doing it’s job just fine.
Comparing to lugged soles, I can definitely ‘feel’ the terrain a bit more, but so far it has provided good traction and proven to be slow wearing.
The lasted upper is also staying true to it’s last shape…not that we should expect otherwise 😛
Stitchings are all good too, none of that rumoured loose-thread action happening.
So far, the only bone I have to pick is the flat cotton laces…the colour matches well with the boot, but the lace itself is way too flimsy to work with the speed-hooks.
Hopefully the replacement laces which I’ve ordered will arrive soon!
All in all, a fine boot!
A full update to come once I get some more wear 🙂