My quest of upgrading the non-SA (Screen Accurate) parts of my Indy gear got me to purchase a pair of Alden 405s (sized 9 ½). These shoes are not only the same type as those used in the movies, but they also have a very interesting backstory to go along with them.
Legend has it that Ford had a preference for the Alden boots because he had worn them while working as a carpenter in Los Angeles in the years before Star Wars and stardom. Ford originally purchased his boots from a local shoe store in Sherman Oaks, California. One of the original members of Indygear (Keppler) actually found and located this particular store after some really impressive detective work back in the early 80s (remember, that was when internet did not existed, and home video technology was limited). The store was named “Frederick’s Shoes”, run by a German man named Fritz. When the time came to source multiple pairs of the boots for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ford insisted the boots be purchased from Fritz’s store and the production team honored his request. Fritz sold a number of pairs of boots to the production for use in the film (source: Indygear).
When Indygear-member Keppler found Fritz, the story started to unfold. The late Fritz was a very cautious, old world cobbler and professional shoe salesman. He kept all of his records on paper, including a precious and guarded rolodex that contained the names of all his customers, including Harrison Ford. Fritz revealed to Keppler that the boot was indeed an Alden make. Incidentally, IndyGear staff member Sergei had the privilege of seeing Ford’s customer card in Fritz’s rolodex for a brief moment and learned he wears a size 10 ½ in the now-famous Alden 405. The size of Ford’s shoes can also be confirmed from the production notes from early costume fittings for Raiders (ref: “The Complete Making of Indiana Jones” by J.W Rinzler).
Fritz died in 2002 (RIP) and the shop he spent a lifetime selling shoes out of is now closed, but many Indy fans, including a few IndyGear staff members, had the pleasure of meeting Fritz and getting fitted for their own pairs of Alden boots before his death. He was always a friendly man and a consummate professional with his customers.
And here are two pictures from a quick google-search showing the Aldens (note the different color schemes):
And for the Indy-geek, here are a couple of screen caps from the movies:
Now the question is, how long does it take to fully weather these shoes so they look screen-used? I guess these will be my new everyday-shoes then. From the reviews I’ve read over at Club Obi-Wan, these rank very high on the comfort-scale. And plus, knowing that Harrison Ford used these during the process of securing that role in Star Wars makes me wanna consider moving to California and start working as a carpenter.
So long folks, I can’t wait to take these shoes on and start beating up Nazis and get dragged under trucks in the desert.