This $500 pair of boots was the best purchase I made in 2015

Alden Boot 0835Business Insider/Sarah JacobsThey might not look like much, but they have got it where it counts.

I’m a pretty frugal person by nature.

But every so often, a want comes along for an insanely lavish expensive item that seems impossible to justify.

This year, that want was the Alden 405 Indy Boots, which retail for $525.

I know, I know. That’s an insane amount of money to spend on a pair of boots at the tender age of 23, especially when I live in New York City and deal with all of the added expenses that brings. How could I possibly afford to drop that kind of cash on a product category that can easily be had for a fraction of the price?

Well, a better question is: with their awesome styling and superior quality, how could I afford not to?

It’s an investment.

A better way to look at a purchase like this is as an investment. And like with any investment, you’re going to be looking for a return. What these boots return is a lifetime of happy, healthy feet.

You see, the Alden Indy boots are quite a few steps above cheaper boots in terms of quality and design. These aren’t just any pair of boots. The Alden Shoe Company has been making them the same way in their Massachusetts factory for more than 100 years.

Alden Boot 0829Business Insider/Sarah JacobsThe sole is made from neocork, and the leather is sourced from Horween Tannery in Chicago.

The reality is that good footwear is expensive. Complicated construction using quality leather and other materials demand a high price point.

The upshot: if taken care of properly with regular resoling, these shoes will last forever. And on my feet, they feel that way. It’s an investment in myself, one that will continue paying off for decades down the road — provided I still like the way they look.

It’s all down to the boot.

The 405 is one of Alden’s more “workwear” styles, and it’s considered a work boot. It’s not your average Timberland, however. The boot gives off a much dressier vibe and, apart from the toe stitching, the entire boot just oozes refinement. Basically, it looks expensive.

Not too expensive, however. On my feet the shoes kind of fly under the radar. Only a few people “in the know” have commented on my wearing the boots, which I’m grateful for. (It’s not that I’m embarrassed, but I don’t want to be known as “the guy with $500 boots” to my friends. So, hopefully they don’t read this.)

The shoes are made with leather from Horween Chromexel, a tannery in Chicago. The leather has a stellar reputation, and you can see why. It has a beautiful sheen to it, and it will age super well when given the proper love over the years. It’s also super tough and durable, and it’s hard to scratch.

I’m excited to give it some real wear over the years and watch it develop a rich patina of my own doing. After a year of wear, it’s already started.

Alden Boot 0836Business Insider/Sarah JacobsAfter being worn and reconditioned, the leather will start to age and develop a distinctive colour unique to the shoe and how and where I’ve worn it.

The boots are made with Alden’s Trubalance last, their widest. They’re made to be worn with thicker boot socks, and I’ve found that if you don’t heed that warning, the shoes can hurt your feet a bit. Even though the interior is lined with glove leather, it’s not particularly inviting. After I realised this, the shoes became much more comfortable.

The leather is soft, but the sole is hard. It’s made from neocork, which is harder than stacked leather would be. But it also provides more traction in the rain, which is useful for a go-anywhere boot like this. Some take “go anywhere” literally, and the Indy boots are so-called because Harrison Ford wore them while filming Indiana Jones.

They’re worth it.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with the shoes. They’re absolutely worth what I paid for them, which was about $100 less than retail on sale.

I’m not alone on this, either. The boot is extremely popular, and many others have extolled its virtues. J. Crew has even gone as far as to create a knock-off version of the boot that retails for $248.

I love the look, and they have the feel of extreme high quality. They will be with me for years to come, and I’m really excited about having a cornerstone “buy it for life” item in my wardrobe that I can build outfits around.

Stability is a good thing, especially when it comes to footwear. I look forward to a long life with these boots. I’m sure we’ll be very happy together.

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