Alden 986 Restoration – Part One

And so it begins. These Alden for Brooks Brothers penny loafers (the Ole 986ers) are in dire need of a tune up. I wear these bad boys all the time, and it’s time to get them back in line. I called Alden for the restoration package, which arrived a couple days later. Pretty self explanatory:

All in all, the shoes are in good shape – they are just worn. The soles are getting a bit thin, and the leather need conditioning. Probably the worst of it is that some of the stitching is coming out next to the strap. Should be an easy fix.

They were dropped off today…I was told by Alden that it should take about six weeks. My only request to Alden was to try and tighten up the heels. I thought about asking for a natural finish on the sole edges, but I’ve seen reports where they won’t do this on #8 shell shoes. Oh well. So far, the ride has been great, but we have many more miles to go. I’ll post an update when I get them back…


  1. manifolddestiny
    07/07/2010 / 2:32 PM

    My stitching is coming undone in the same place. I'm waiting for some Saphir Renovateur to get to Ron Rider so I can try and tone up the leather, since my soles are still in pretty decent shape. Having seen the magic Alden does in restoration, I think you're going to be very happy in a couple weeks…

  2. DAM
    07/07/2010 / 2:40 PM

    Interesting that you have the same stitching wear on your 986's that I have on mine.

    Now, 6 weeks…ugh. That's a long time w/out these people. Have you used the other guy from B. Nelson in NY?

  3. ADG
    07/07/2010 / 3:05 PM

    Six weeks is a small price to pay for salvation.

  4. manifolddestiny
    07/07/2010 / 3:07 PM

    I have used B. Nelson for a pair of Billy Reid boots. Their workmanship is absolutely incredible and it took like 2-3 weeks (a little longer than anticipated because their supplier shipped the wrong welt). I figure I'll probably let Alden fix my 986's when they need it, since everything will be completely original etc.

    That being said, I've never thought any of my Aldens were impeccably constructed. I don't really mind paying for the quality of materials and durability, but I wish the stitches were straight on my 986's and actually in the channel on the sole, or that the tongues on my Indy boots didn't shift to the outside of the shoe.

  5. heavy tweed jacket
    07/08/2010 / 12:40 AM

    Great blogging! Looking forward to this. Aldens only gets better with age.

  6. James
    07/08/2010 / 6:30 PM

    This is going to be interesting.Thank you for posting it.

  7. Paper Clip
    10/02/2010 / 2:46 AM

    Ha! My stitching came out at the same place as well.
    Great blog. Nice pics.

    I am sending in a 20 yr old pair of BB Plain Toe Bluchers. I just ordered my resto package this evening.

    Looking forward to 'em!

    My 986 will be next to get restored. Probably this spring.

  8. 09/15/2012 / 1:21 PM

    Ole 986s? are these different from a pair of 986s I would buy today? I ask cause I’m considering etting a pair (though I might go with the AE Patriot when it comes out in shell later this fall). I’m really not sure.

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