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Cordovan v. calfskin - Page 2

post #16 of 29
I'm with Jcusey on this one. Cordovan is nice, but not worth the extra money to me...
post #17 of 29
Make mine cordovan. I have three pair of shell, three pair of calf. They all look great but the cordovan is distinctive, even in black. The two standout Alden/BB lasts for cordovan are, IMHO, the penny loafer and tassled loafer, though the bluchers are also very nice. It's just that, IMHO, the two shoes mentioned above each seem to have arrived at their pinacle of expression in the Alden/BB incarnations. I've not seen the EG's or C&J incarnations of these shoes so I could be wrong. The cordovan shoes also seem to be scuff-proof. My bal wingtips have no scuffs after 20+ years. Calf scuffs much more easily at least if you are a clumsy oaf like me. Markus
post #18 of 29
I've got two pairs of cordovan shoes. Lots of good comments above. Here's my summary of pros/cons of cordovan.... Cordovan Pros -- warmer in winter/cold weather -- incredibly tough, thick leather -- unique and beautiful color if get "traditional" cordovan color -- easier to polish and buff to a very bright shine -- cordovan is more exclusive and rare than calfskin Cordovan Cons -- more expensive -- warmer in summertime (I rarely wear mine in the summer; I can't see cordovan being worn much in the South) -- heavier (make for a heavier shoe -- Alden's anyway) -- some complain of creasing (see above posts)
post #19 of 29
In regards to the original question, there is a place for both, IMO, in every closet. Instead of considering either 2 shell cordovan shoes or 3 calfskin shoes, why not get one of each and determine what YOU like about them thru time. Comparing the materials, and the price charged for each, is difficult since the only thing in common between the two is that they are used as shoe uppers, in this case. Like comparing steel to aluminum. Calfskin is a hide, and a commodity. The standard material for all dress shoes, calfskin is available in an almost infinite array of colors, finishes, textures and quality levels. It is culled, tanned, split, dyed, stamped, sprayed, waxed, stretched, cut-up, glued together, sanded, skived, waxed, coated, treasured, and thrown in dumpsters from Argentina to Canada, China to Spain, and all points in between. As shoe material, calfskin has the capability to produce museum grade footwear that will outlive us, as well as shoes that will be disposed of in three months. Genuine Shell Cordovan, on the other hand, is not a hide, and is a specialty item. The membrane below the hide, cut from the hindquarters of a horse, shell cordovan is only reliably sourced from one tannery - Horween in Chicago. As such, it's properties and care are very consistent, production methods unchanged thru many years. The supply is miniscule, compared to calfskin, and it's unique features (naturally waterproof, warm, and with a finish that improves, not degrades, with age) and production costs make it suitable for only one level of footwear - 'better'. That's my take, anyway. Oh, and it looks real good in Navy Blue. Not to mention Honey.
post #20 of 29
I agree with much that has been written here. Cordovan makes a great winter shoe; I only wear mine in winter. It also stands up to rain and slush better than calf. It's thickness is a nice complement to heavy cloth. And it is the only material for shoes that truly looks good in burgundy or oxblood or whatever, assuming you like that shade. Personally, I love the fabled #8 color.
post #21 of 29
Probably due to some maintenance errors on my part, I've been having some cracks develop on my nicer calfskin shoes. So, in addition to scheduling a tutorial on polishing and moisturizing from my shoemaker, I also intend to start getting cordovan to replace deaccessioned pairs. Not only brown/burgundy, but also some copies in black for standard business wear. I rather like the look of black cordovan.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
I'm with Jcusey on this one. Cordovan is nice, but not worth the extra money to me...
Mr. Harris, I could not agree more, cordovan is HOT, HEAVY, and although it will hold an incrdible shine, quite often looks unfinished when not cared for correctly. My preference for comfort, feel, and weight would always be a good calf skin.
post #23 of 29
One pair for winter wear may be enough. They're dark and heavy but the finish is interesting. The creasing seems more pronounced in cordovan-more like a ridge than a hairline. Alden makes many distinctive shoes that are not cordovan, including in particular the suede tassel loafer. if you must comply with the "classic" canon.
post #24 of 29
IMO shell cordovan shoes in either burgundy or black is the ultimate. I have worn cordovan shoes from my day school to boarding school to university to graduate school. I am a conservative dressing grandfather who wears shell cordovan  shoes twelve months a year. However the choice of either calfskin or cordovan is a personal decision and I do respect the decisions made by members of this forum.
post #25 of 29
One more controversial topic to add: Because of cordovan's unique, shinier look and texture, people who don't know or appreciate it may think it is lower quality, plasticky leather or, dare I say, pleather. Montecristo
post #26 of 29
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Quote:
One more controversial topic to add: Because of cordovan's unique, shinier look and texture, people who don't know or appreciate it may think it is lower quality, plasticky leather or, dare I say, pleather. Montecristo
Never as fake-looking as some of the corrected leather Prada uses in her men's dress shoes.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Never as fake-looking as some of the corrected leather Prada uses in her men's dress shoes.
Couldn't agree with you more there. I wouldn't touch a Prada shoe with a 10 foot pole. Black cheesy leather.... horrible. But I bet the margins are great.
post #28 of 29
I'm interested in this 'fabled' Color 8 cordovan. Is this it? Color 8? If anyone happens to have any more detailed (at least larger) pictures, please share..
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Is this it? Color 8? If anyone happens to have any more detailed (at least larger) pictures, please share..
Yup, that's it. Here's a bigger picture:
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