What are the relevant factors, pros/cons with regard to A&E shoes in calfskin? Is this a desirable material? Is it as stiff as regular leather? I don't believe calfskin takes a shine as well as other shoe leather. The texture seems like it would be softer and not as smooth. Any insight appreciated, thanks...
Edited to say I also get the impression that the calfskin is not quite as formal/dressy...? Perhaps that is because the character of the shine is different.
I think you've got it backwards. Calfskin is THE most formal leather for shoes after patent leather. AE uses a good quality chrome tannage in the vast majority of it's shoes, but probably the lowest choice cuts from the hide compared to higher end brands (like Alden, Crockett and Jones, Alfred Sergeant, Vass, etc). This isn't surprising considering the price point.
AE's calf will take a mirror shine, but it's on you to get it there (quoting this very thread from 4 years ago when I first joined).