The Alden 403 is the classic design on which the term “Indy boot” is named. Harrison Ford’s character was wise to select the Alden 403 to carry him around the globe and hopefully back in one piece. Yet, strangely, the choice of boot was not the film crew’s but of the actor himself. Film fashion lore has passed down that Ford selected the Alden 403 because he understood how durable and comfortable they were from his years as a struggling actor working carpentry jobs. From real world experience, the boots became world renowned for precisely what they were designed for: carrying a man around the world in style and comfort.
The Alden 403 and 405 are a comfortable boot. This is a result of many factors, not the least of which is the leather last that Alden bestowed upon the 403 and 405. Alden’s True Balance last is widely praised for its comfort and shape that contours to the foot more than most boots of its design. In addition, the Alden 403 has a rather low heel. This design’s purpose is to maintain the benefits of a heel while providing the firmest footing possible thanks to a flatter base.
The Alden 403 and 405 are durable as well. Its Horween leather, fresh from the Chicago tannery who has partnered with Alden for decades, is a deep brown with only the slightest tinge of red to give it a dressier sheen. The stitching is even and solid and will ensure years of abuse do not separate any piece. Finally, the welt construction is tough and well finished and will allow the boot to be resoled when the time comes many years down the road.
And now we come to the differences between the Alden 403 and Alden 405. The first is the leather upper piece of the boot. In the 405 a slightly heavier weight full grain leather is used and finished in wax hide, while the 403 uses aniline leather finished in Chromoexel. There is no difference in durability between the two leathers, though the finish will come down to personal preference as the 403 is a slightly lighter brown overall.
Also, the lining of the boots differ. The 405 utilizes heavy cotton duck lining with added leather at the main stress points on the tongue while the 403 uses an all leather lining. Again, there is no discernible difference in durability here and it simply comes down to personal preference.
In summary, both the Alden 403 and Alden 405 are of remarkably well constructed and will last through many years of abuse. Right now, the Alden 403 is the more readily available of the two models but this statement may be incorrect quite quickly as Alden’s production numbers vary given the boots’ handmade construction. In the end it likely will not matter which model you choose, for the Alden 403 and Alden 405 will both take you from Utah to Venice in comfort and style.