As a student, it is difficult for me to afford shell cordovan. I want a pair of black cordovan dress shoes that will be my workhorse shoe for several years until I am set up on my feet (pun intended). Several years ago a girlfriends father was kind enough to purchase me a pair of black cordovan penny loafers from Alden in San Francisco when we were on a trip together. If I had known at the time that slip on loafers are essentially considered a casual shoe, I would have gone with a smooth black lace up balmoral (no caps or anything, I like clean lines). Now to my chagrin, I have to find a pair of dress shoes that I know wont come near the craftsmanship of my alden loafers.
I have found many listings on ebay for shell cordovan shoes in the 150-200 dollar range. But I am not an expert, so it is difficult to tell what is well worn, has been resoled, what is too much insole wear (especially since pictures only show the heel area), and how much a complete resole and refinishing should cost me. I know that Allen Edmonds has a complete program for 150. I am estimating that with re-servicing, a pair of used shoes will run me around 400 dollars. With AE cordovan pegging around $600, I am wondering if maybe it is worth it to just wait until they are on sale and bridge the gap?