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Products with Personality: Alden 403 Workboot

by Eric Langlois |


The Alden Shoe Company: Footwear for the Elements

For most of the year, working at home or in an office, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to footwear. In dry summer weather, a sleek, leather soled shoe in snuff suede will carry you to and from work with style. At home all day, fleece-lined slippers or casual moccasins will do everything you need them to. But when the rain comes down or the snow piles up, and you still have somewhere to go, a rugged, water resistant boot that keeps your ankles dry is a must-have, and our Indy Boot from The Alden Shoe Company has you covered.

Founded in Middleborough, MA, in 1884 by Charles H. Alden, the Alden Shoe Company has consistently produced high-quality footwear in the United States for well over a century. While the Great Depression took a toll on American shoe manufacturing, Alden survived and managed to thrive during World War II. Alden prospered in the postwar era by focusing on producing handsome, high-quality shoes that provided orthopedic comfort to their wearers. One of these shoes, still produced today, is the model 403 workboot.

Made on Alden’s wide Truebalance last, the 403 laces with five sets of eyelets and four pairs of speed hooks, allow comfortable lacing to the top of the ankle. The upper is made from Chromexcel leather sourced from Horween Leather Company in Chicago, secured to the sole with a rugged 270 degree Goodyear welt. The outsoles themselves are made from Neocork, which combines the low-profile look of a flat leather sole with the grip of rubber.

The 403 is a solid-looking boot with a wide sole, but the upper is quite sleek and stylish. The toe box is ornamented with moccasin stitching, which is still hand-stitched in the Alden factory. This stitching adds a distinctive flair to the shoe, while the toe panel remains a single piece, adding to the durability of the 403 boot.

The Indy Boot: Take on Life's Adventures

The 403 gained new life in the 1980s, due to a fortunate twist of fate. Professional carpenter and actor Harrison Ford was already fond of the Alden workboot in his daily life for its practicality and comfort. When he met with costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis during pre-production for Raiders of the Lost Ark, he suggested that his character adopt the same footwear. The 403 boot and the similar model 405 have become an iconic part of the globe-trotting image of Indiana Jones, to the extent that both are commonly referred to as the Indy Boot.

The Andover Shop is proud to be one of a select few retailers to partner with The Alden Shoe Company, and stocks the 403 workboot in stores alongside other Alden shoes. If you’re in need of a pair of shoes to carry you on world-spanning adventures, or just to and from work in a New England winter, our staff will be happy to outfit you.