Originally Posted by The Devil's Hands
That's the thing...I want something versatile. It seems that the PA is the favorite shoe at AAAC and here, so I have no problem with picking one up.
I plan on wearing these shoes to work, and in town; casual, dress, you name it.
The weird thing is, of AE's dress oxfords, only the Leeds is offered in horsehide.
Actually, they have two other shell cordovan offerings in dress lace-ups: the MacNeil (a longwing blucher) and the Bradley (a split toe).
Whatever shoe you decide on, a plain captoe bal like the Park Avenue (or its Alden counterpart, I presume) is going to look decidedly weird and out of place when worn casually. You can get three pairs of A-E calfskins on closeout for the price of one pair of Alden shell cordovans at full retail. The former might be a better choice in building your shoe wardrobe at this time.
Horsehide and shell cordovan are not the same thing. Horsehide is excellent for heavy work boots and such but too thick and tough for dress shoes. It is simply the tanned hide of a horse or mule. Shell cordovan is actually a membrane between the skin proper and the flesh on the rump of a horse. Despite what some may tell you, there is absolutely no difference between the shell used by A-E and Alden although some feel, perhaps rightly, that Alden puts a better finish on their shell cordovan shoes at the factory. Also, Alden has an assortment of attractive colors in their shell offerings. A-E only offers black and #8 burgundy.