Alden, Alas!

Take a moment. Look down. Notice your feet. Consider their shape, their length, their  symmetry.

Revel for this moment in that privilege. For yours is an experience radically different than my own.

I was, at birth, burdened with a club foot, the most common  congenital birth defect. While surgical interventions in early childhood did a serviceable job of correcting what nature imposed, the end result was two feet of decidedly different dimensions–a full size and a half difference, to be precise.

So when it comes time to purchase footwear, my options are far more constrained than most. For most of my life, I’ve simply laced the left shoe a bit tighter. Although not the ideal solution, it’s worked well enough.

Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for loafers, despite their impracticality in my condition.  And recently I’ve developed a covetous relationship with the Alden tassel loafer.

It’s a true American classic. And only the Alden version will do. After all, Alden was said to have invented the tassel loafer.

So I wrote Alden, asking if they could make a pair with two different sizes.

My inquiry was brusquely rebuffed. They were willing neither to cobble together a proper fitting duo from existing pairs nor to accept a custom order for different size feet, even for a modest additional fee that most other shoe makers charge. The only solution was to purchase two pair–for the princely sum of more than $1,000, a price simply too dear.

My only hope is that Alden will reverse course and embrace the imperative to assist those of us whose foot challenges result from disability. The alternative–serving as the Scrooge of the shoe world–is, over time, an untenable business practice.

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