Saddle’s Back

saddle-51Sketch c/o Leesa Leva

The response to my post on Saddle Shoes was overwhelming.

A Treasury of … found two pair.


The first pair from F-Troupe has the look and feel of a souped up pair of Vans Authentics.


The second pair, from Urban Outfitters are nice. They’re too flimsy for my taste, but the minimalist approach should have wide appeal.



East Side Bride and Mi Melodia bonded over a funky pair of spectators (note, fellas: not saddle shoes) from English designer Tracy Neuls’ TN_29 collection, a great-looking shoe for the plaidy in your life!


After seeing that I wrote about Corpus, one of the brands his firm represents, Mr. Steven Rojas of Archetype Showroom sent me a photo of this navy buck which comes from a collaboration between Paris boutique Aprill 77 and London shoe company YMC. The shoe is vegan-friendly and very handsome. I would love to know what the hand-feel is like on the artificial suede.


In the comments of the last post, Trip and two gentlemen named Richard referenced Ralph Lauren. The RL Henley Saddle is simple, classic, and far and away my favorite version of the saddle. Unfortunately, I’m unable to justify spending $575.00 for what would be a knock-around shoe. Please alert me if you find these on sale.


p3170017Did I say favorite? Make that my second favorite to these beauties. Mr. Richard Coyle was kind enough to send these photos of both his pair of long-discontinued saddles from Alden. I love the simple, elegant tooling of the saddle itself. The perforations or brogueing emphasize the difference in the saddle and vamp leathers and elevate a casual shoe to a level that is downright dressy.

Richard had this to say:

I got them in the early 80s in a store in Princeton, NJ. They were a stock item in the store but they were custom ordered by the owner and they are true classics built on the same last as the dress saddles sold by Alden today. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see them again in the white versions. The man that owned the store was a prep fanatic and he hated to see the demise of classic clothing on the campus. Even after his retail store closed, he maintained his relationship with Alden and continued to do special orders for the saddles. He had a client list of Princeton alumni from over the years and used to ship the shoes all over the country. He told me that he even traveled to the Alden factory to inspect the leather before he allowed the builds! Did I already use the word fanatic? Well anyway, some of us benefited from his obsession. The shoes have been refurbished twice by a company in upstate NY. The refurbishing does an amazing job of bringing the leather back to life and diminishing the scars from wear. Maybe some day, someone will convince Alden to make them again. Until then the RLs will have to do.

Mr. Coyle? Done deal.


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16 responses to “Saddle’s Back

  1. Yes! Those Aldens are the best finds yet.

    Of course they are extinct.

    The writers can’t give us a happy ending this early in the story. It wouldn’t be right.

    Our noble longing shall go on…

  2. Wally

    I think the J. Crew saddle shoes are worth mentioning. I own a pair and they are pretty comfortable.

  3. Spectators. What would we do without you?

  4. chopsnyc

    I have a pair of these Stewart Marshall’s that I love — I just happen to be wearing them today.

    Available here. The website’s pretty dismal, but the shoes they offer are quality and won’t break the bank. Stewart Marshall is their proprietary brand, but they have a lot of others as well. Nice goodyear welt, some crepe, and some rubber soles. I found them a few years ago after seeing a host of them on the John Bartlett Spring 07 runway.

  5. Will, I’m glad you like the Aldens. I’m going to put in the call. It’d be nice to see the return of their saddle shoe.

    Wally, I have a pair of bucks from J. Crew. Twice the sole has come unglued. The same hasn’t happened for your saddles?

    ESB, What would we do without spectators!? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

    Chops, those may be a winner. They’re not buck, but the price is right for how I intend to wear them (see: beaters). Both the coral sole and the leather sole are attractive and at under $100, hard to beat.

  6. hey Max
    i bought an all white pair of bucks / saddle shoes on e-bay from facconable for 18 pounds … they get dirty but so does christina aguilera ?!

  7. the obvious answer to all your cravings can be found here. Men, women, it’s all there. Not affiliated with them, just a customer!

  8. Morgan

    Alden’s Washington D.C. shop was stocking all-white nubuck saddle shoes with a red rubber sole as recently as last summer. I know this because I lost an auction for a pair on eBay that the seller identified as purchased at that store. I called the store and they had no more in stock as they were a seasonal item, but that I could try again next spring (which would be now). Worth a shot.

  9. Ex Back

    Hey, cool tips. I’ll buy a bottle of beer for that person who told me to go to your site 🙂

  10. swagokash


  11. Richard De Mello

    You can find R.L. Saddle Shoes at Grapevinehill Discount Shoes & Boots on the net at discount prices.

  12. He He so funny I was made (Mom thought they would cure my flat feet. Alas, not yet.) to wear these all growing up and hated it. But I was thinking about them recently and wondering where I might find a pair… the search is on, thanks for some leads!

  13. Richard J

    Here is a link to a new option to the RL saddles at a much lower cost and from a major supplier, J&M.

  14. HLDM

    My info may no longer be up-to-date, but the RL saddle shoes are/were made by Crockett & Jones (at least until 2005) hence the very high sticker price. C&J shoes are of fantastic quality, but you really need to make sure you try them on for proper fit. Just do a little homework prior to ordering on-line… I hope that didn’t come off too pedantic.

    Also, RL periodically makes some bucks/saddles at lower price points. They are often made in China but at a really high quality factory. The shoes always used CL Stead buck suede which is the real deal in for bucks.

    I have to say that I am very taken aback these days at how many times I see RL shoes mentioned on-line. I worked for many years at RL Footwear and recall the nastiest comments about RL shoes. From mid-90’s til mid-00’s, the Euro brands were the rage. I always felt like we were pushing water uphill. Wow! How the pendulum swings. One of the best things about those years is that I now have a closet full of the currently lust-worthy shoes & boots.

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