Repaired: Alden Tassel Moccasin

In the summer of 2008, I found my favorite pair of shoes, a used pair of cognac-colored tassel moccasins from Alden, buried in a giant L.L. Bean duffel at the Brooklyn Flea. I purchased them from my man Tutek for $30.00. I wore the hell out of them. When I found two gaping hole in the soles this fall, rather than take them to my local cobbler, I recalled the lesson my father taught me when I was a little kid. His Allen Edmonds had just returned from their recrafting service. “See, Max? Good as new! Buy a nice-looking shoe from a company you trust, and you’ll never have to buy ’em twice.” Last month, I sent my mocs back to Alden’s factory in Middleborough, Massachusetts for a full professional restoration. They arrived this week, and I am very pleased with the results.

Before.

After.

The service provides a new box, two mitts, a new set of trees, which nearly makes up for the $145.00 repair fee.

While it was hard to go without them for a month, the shoes came back better than I could have expected. The exterior leather has that nicely worn patina of an old, beat-up pair. The sole and guts of the shoe shine like they are brand new.

# For an interesting take on the history and social implications of the tassel loafer, read this 1993 article from The New York Times.
# For the most fantastic documentation of the factory, watch this video put together by Epaulet co-owner Michael Kuhle and documentary filmmaker and animator Tom Eaton. It features a real American hero, and one of my personal heroes, lifelong road warrior and master storyteller, Mr. Floyd Gilmore.
# For additional photos of the shoes, including one that shows off some pretty nasty gashes (seriously, it looks like I take a cattle prod to them every once in a while) see Flickr.

NB: I apologize that the “before” photos languish somewhere in the vast wastelands that my external hard drives have become. If found, I promise to update this post in due course.

NB: In the first photo, I’m wearing the 3sixteen ST-100X, which are made in the US with raw indigo selvedge. They’re my contribution to the Denim Debate, a must-read.

12 Comments

  1. Andrew
    February 25, 2010

    Wow, those look beautiful.

  2. JRS
    February 25, 2010

    Outstanding! I have a pair of 986s that are about to go through the same process…

  3. Michael E.
    February 25, 2010

    Did you specifically request that they leave the uppers alone? The Alden restoration usually refinishes/redyes the upper leather, but these seem to be untouched.

  4. M. Wastler
    February 25, 2010

    Michael, I didn’t do or say anything. Maybe they helped out the color a bit. These were plenty damaged, so I’m not certain what kind of effect dye would’ve had. The color is redder than when I sent them in, but I usually shine these with brown polish twice for every time I shine with cognac.

    JRS, get ’em in. Send me before and after photos.

  5. Clifford
    February 25, 2010

    I just bought my first pair of Aldens (Cordovan Longwings) last week and oddly I look forward to the day I have to send them in for restoration. 🙂

  6. M. Wastler
    February 26, 2010

    Clifford, I understand. It is an odd feeling to want to have something worn in, but when you’ve done the wearing, it’s a nice feeling, too.

  7. Laguna Beach Trad
    February 27, 2010

    Beautiful! Probably my favourite shoe. I love the colour. Well done.

  8. Barron
    February 27, 2010

    Those look amazing post-restoration! Must’ve felt weird paying a $150 fee for shoes that cost $30… but then again, maybe not.

  9. Dan
    March 5, 2010

    Just to add to this. I bought a pair of Alden boots while I was out in San Fran. When I got home, some of the stitching came undone around the side of the boot. A talked with Alden, they told me to just ship them back. A week or so later I got a pair of nicely repaired boots. Free of charge (save the shipping cost). Sure, the boots should have never come un-stitched that quickly, but it was nice to feel so taken care of.

  10. […] shoes, an ancient pair of Original Tassel Mocs from Alden, yes, the same pair I recently had restored. Besides the pending lawsuit in people’s court against one Mr. Kenneth Clark Loggins for […]

  11. Miguel Ramalhão
    October 23, 2010

    The difference is amazing, and the shoes are stunning… congrats…
    The used look they have is what a nice pair of shoes should look like … I hate the new ones….

  12. […] little over a year ago, I had my trademark Tassel Mocs recrafted by the good folks at Alden. Then, lured by the infectious grooves of Mr. Kenny Loggins, the already […]

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