The Alden Shoe Company was founded in 1884 by Charles H. Alden in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
Beginning in 1850, a series of inventions in the footwear industry led to mechanized stitching and lasting operations, with an extraordinary improvement in quality and consistency. The explosive growth of the shoe industry in eastern Massachusetts at the turn of the century was impressive. Numerous companies were being started, and demand soared. Charles Alden's new factory prospered, specializing in men's shoes, custom boots, and children's footwear.
After World War II, New England shoe makers began to struggle as production moved to new manufacturing regions offering lower labor costs. Over the remainder of the century, manufacturers looked farther and farther away in search of cheap labor and materials to meet the insatiable demand for low-cost, mass-market, consumer footwear.
Most of the shoe manufacturers in New England could not compete in the post-war economy, yet Alden prospered by focusing not on lower quality mass-market production, but on high quality dress shoes, and by excelling in specialties such as orthopedic and medical footwear. It was a period of growth and intensive development at Alden, especially in the design of comfortable, orthopedically correct lasts. In 1970 a new factory was constructed in Middleborough, Massachusetts where production continues today.
Alden is now the only original New England shoe and bootmaker remaining, of the hundreds who began in the region so long ago. Still a family owned business, Alden is a story of success and survival driven by an unwavering devotion to quality craftsmanship.