But if the care needed to keep my non-AE shells looking "like new" is compared to the care needed to keep my calf shoes looking "like new" (calf from Alden, AE, C&J, EG, Lobb, Sargent, etc.), it is not even close. The former requires far less care than the latter. This is demonstrably true. All that is needed is a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth, occasional horsehair brushing, and very infrequent polishing (a minimum of 15 wears). While I don't go as far as some - that shell needs no care - there is no question it needs far less care. The nature of shell cordovan leather simply allows for less care in a way calfskin does not. This is fact, not opinion. Don't get me wrong, some shell lovers do care for their shoes an awful lot - such as horsehair brushing after every wear, etc. - but this isn't necessary (as per Nick Horween of Horween Leather, the foremost supplier of shell to the world).
And the notion that calf is more comfortable than shell is truly mindboggling, and makes me wonder what shell models are being compared, and how, or even if, the said shell models are properly broken-in. Shell on a double leather sole takes time to break in. There is no doubt about that. But once shell is properly broken-in, the notion that calf is more comfortable than shell, based on my experience, would require a significant departure from good sense.
I have 37 shell models, shoes and boots, from Alden, AE, C&J, Florsheim Imperial (vintage) and Hanover (vintage), and 25 calf models from Alden, AE, Hanover (vintage), Alfred Sargent, Crockett & Jones, Edward Green, and John Lobb. I used to have far more calf models than 25, but have gotten rid of many over time.
My only experence with shell was with two pair of Alden (Color 8 + Ravello). As far as comfort, I didn't find shell any more comfortable than calf. Second, the first day that I owned my Alden PTB in color 8 I was walking out of the shop to my car, there was a light rain - I didn't think much of it but later that night I noticed "bumps" all over the top of the toe (both shoes) - no matter what I did those bumps remained for as long as I owned the shoes. The same with scratches - I could never get rid of them or even minimize them (and I used all the best stuff, with the Mac Method). Then there were the creases - I have never had a leather that creased so much! I have had boots and chukkas that I wore in all kinds of weather that had almost had zero creasing. And I could always, with a little boot oil, Obenauf's, or Saphir make calf skin look new. Once there was a real blemish with shell you had to live with it. I was told that this all was "character" - sorry I didn't care for this "character."
But it really comes down to personal preference, and at 60 I guess I'm just more at home with calfskin. It is what I used and cared for most of my life. I know calf, I like calf.