Is cordovan all that? - Page 17
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I really like shell cordovan. It has an appearance and characteristics that are different from calf, once broken in - I like that. If properly cared for, it does not look plasticy or fake. It can last longer than calf, whether well cared for or never cared for. Even if abused, 30 minutes with a brush will have it looking great.
I also like when I see someone else wearing shell, I compliment them on their shoes and we're part of an exclusive club.
1) Unique patina/glow - look at the Alden or Crockett and Jones threads for pictueres
2) Easy to care for - only need polish sparingly
3) Hard wearing - substantial leather, can take a beating
4) Versatility (cordovan "dress" shoes, more than calf, can be dressed down as well as dressed up because of how substantial the leather looks)
1) Brogues (wintip or longwing)
2) Loafers (penny or tassel)
3) Boots (wingtip, captoe, etc)
Some people say they don't look sleek enough for suits. For certain suits (like Tom Ford as mentioned) that is likely true. However for other suits, slacks/blazer combo, etc, cordovan dress shoes are entirely appropriate.
Cordovan works well in casual boots, casual shoes, dress shoes, etc. Just make sure they match your outfit. Most of the guys posting in the Alden thread seem to be wearing them casually but I wear wingtips, loafers, longwings, etc with suits
It's a balmoral so it's going to be more formal. I think they look nice for what they are. I also really like the shell Strand if you're considering that sort of shoe. The most standard shell AEs would be the Leads and the MacNeil. Those are both "gunboats" which is very true to traditional American shell shoes.