Indiana Jones Boots: What Boots Did He Wear?

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by  Jon Wadsworth | Last Updated: 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to emulate your movie heroes, but while Indiana Jones was cool, your wife might frown upon you going on date night carrying a bullwhip and leather jacket.

The bullwhip may be a bit too much on a first date, and don’t get me started on the hat; but what about wearing Indy’s leather jacket and boots? Everyone loves the adventurer look, right?

What you can do with unabashed glee is wear the same boots that Indiana Jones wore: the Alden 405s, soon renamed the original Indy boots, are an excellent-looking boot that’ll soon have you demanding to be called Dr. Jones. Before date night, though, let’s look into the Indy boot to see if it’s worth the price tag.

What Boots Does Indiana Jones Wear?

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There isn’t much screen time in the Indiana Jones movies given to Harrison Ford’s feet, so it took some serious digging for people to discover that the boots Indiana Jones wear are actually Alden 405 work boots. The story goes that Ford was supposed to be wearing Red Wing boots during filming but had already worn the Alden 405 while working as a carpenter in his pre-Star Wars days.

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As boot connoisseurs, we get it; your favorite pair of boots are your favorite pair of boots; why fix what isn’t broken?

And if it’s good enough for Indiana Jones, it’s probably good enough for us. What are Indy boots, though? Are they any good? Who makes them?

Alden Indy Boot
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Who is Alden?

Alden Indy flatlay with camera

The Alden Shoe Company, established in 1884 by Charles H. Alden, is a Massachusetts-based shoe manufacturer that is one of the few remaining boot companies that still make their boots in the USA. 

The Alden Shoe Company saw a rise in demand during the Second World War, but by the end of the 1940s many manufacturers had left the area to seek lower labor costs.

Competition is always fierce in the footwear industry, so Alden took steps to avoid having to compete with companies using cheaper materials or manufacturing techniques.

While many of the companies that had been forced to leave Massachusetts had been targeting cheaper, affordable footwear, which necessitated lower material and labor costs, Alden saw an alternative way forward.

The Alden Shoe Company maintained their edge, allowing their workforce to remain in the USA,  by focusing on the high-end dress shoe market and further niched down into orthopedic and medical footwear. It worked, as Alden is the only remaining company in New England that’s still making boots and is still a family-run business. 

With a great history and an emphasis on superior quality materials and craftsmanship, Alden feels part of bootmaking folklore. With the continued trend for manufacturing to be outsourced to countries where cheaper labor can be found, Alden is one of the few remaining companies that can offer customers something that they crave; a hand-crafted boot that’s made in the USA.

What are the Features of an Alden Indy Boot?

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There are a surprising number of different styles available in the Indy boot, although, in this article, I’ll focus on the original Indy boot; you can check out other styles of the Indy boot here at Lost&Found.

The two main Indy styles are the Alden Indy 405 and the Alden Brown Chromexcel 403 Indy Boot, which I also really like the look of.

The Indy boot utilizes a TruBalance last, making the width of the forefoot and heel differ from each other; this gives the Indy boot a sleek, unusual profile that looks fantastic. The 405 leather is a brighter orange color than many boots, making the boot stand out in a crowd.  

Alden Indy 405 calf leather side profile
Wearing my Alden Indy 405

What that means for you is the style of an Indy boot does look different from many dress boots; it looks slim and attractive, with the added bonus of plenty of room for your toes to move around. The narrower heel grips your foot well, holding the boot nicely in place, and the wider toe box offers excellent freedom of movement.

If keeping your feet snug is a priority, the Indy boot comes fully lined with glove leather, making them extremely comfortable to wear. The sole is also chosen for comfort; the neoprene cork outsole is comfortable, although it can offer less grip than you’d like, especially in rainy or icy conditions. 

Alden Indy Boot
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Is the Indy boot Orthopedic?

breaking in Alden Indy boots

The Alden Indy has a triple-ribbed steel shank that offers excellent arch support and a Thomas heel, which is perfect for people who overpronate. These features make the Indy boot worth considering if you have a history of arch problems or you tend to roll your heel and ankle inwards when you walk. 

The Indy boot isn’t explicitly designed for orthopedic help, so always consult with your doctor in these cases.

The support you get from the Indy boot is great, and many reviewers have commented on its comfort and support, as well as the heel helping those who overpronate.

The Indy boot is a pricey yet attractive-looking boot, so it’s an option to consider if you’re looking for a dress boot that offers superb support. As I’ve already mentioned, Alden did specifically lean towards a premium quality boot and focussing on orthopedic and medical footwear, so the company knows what to aim for in this field.

Do Alden Indy Boots Look Good?

closeup Alden Indy 405 leather toe box

The leather used to create the classic 405 Indy boot differs from the Alden Indy 403; it uses an attractive brown leather made from calfskin, and, as you’d expect from a high-end product such as this, the leather is of superb quality and looks fantastic. Well maintained, I can see the look of the Indy boot only improving with age.

The contrast between the darker upper leather and the white moc toe stitching is superb; it makes the Alden Indy boot really stand out. The stitching is just for show as the moc toe is purely decoration. The neo-cork outsoles are Goodyear welted, further enhancing the boots’ color contrasts. 

Are Alden Indy Boots Good? 

model walking in Alden Indy 405 boots

It’s hard to ignore the history behind the Indy boot; it’s part of the charm; you feel like part of an exclusive club when you own a pair of Indy boots. Indiana Jones is a great movie character, a real 80s icon.

And given that I’m an 80s aficionado with a love for classic style boots, you’d think I would be totally in love with them, which makes the fact that I’m not all the sadder. 

The Alden Indy boots look great. I love the look of the leather, style, and comfort. I can’t fault the look or feel, which is another benefit. I could see myself wearing a pair based on the looks, casually throwing into a conversation that I wear the same boots as Indiana Jones…

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Looks aside, are they a great pair of boots? Almost; for the price of the Indy boot, I had hoped for slightly more. The heel on the Indy boot is comfortable but will wear down quickly if you’re wearing them regularly (something I would like to do with a $600+ pair of dress boots). 

In fairness, the “Thomas” heel is glued down and then nailed into place, so a cobbler can easily replace these; the issues with Indy boots are minor, and on a less expensive boot would be overlooked. The Alden Indy boot isn’t waterproof, but it is fairly water-resistant, so you can wear these boots in poor conditions for a while.

Conclusion

I almost love the Alden Indy; they’re superb looking but just fall short of being a magnificent boot. I admit that if the price were slightly lower, I would seriously recommend them, but I had expected almost perfect boots for the price. That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend them; who doesn’t want to be like Indy? 

The Indy boot has a glorious history; they’re iconic boots that you’ll love, especially if you need superior arch support or just love their slim profile.

Alden Indy Boot
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FAQs

How long do Indy boots usually last?

Indy boots are hand-crafted, making them a serious upgrade on quality. Providing you look after them and ensure they’re properly cleaned and maintained; there is no reason why a pair of Indy boots shouldn’t last between five to ten years, perhaps even longer. You’ll likely have to have them resoled at some point if you wear them regularly, though.

What’s the difference between an Alden 403 and 405?

The Alden 403 uses a different leather than the 405 (the classic Indy boot), commonly referred to as Chromexcel. While the Indy boot is made from calfskin, which is a brighter shade of orange, the Alden Indy Work Boot Brown Chromexcel (known as the Alden 403) is a darker brown. The 403 is also an excellent alternative to the Indy boot.

What do the numbers inside Alden boots mean?

Because they are handmade, Alden boots have numbers stamped on the inside; these numbers represent the model number of the boot, its size, and also the run number.

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