Some expensive shoes are made from corrected-grain leather - particularly in Australia, where we pay ridiculous prices for low-quality shoes. As an example, Church's - which make some very good shoes - also sell shoes made from "binder" leather (their term for corrected grain).
Most high-end shoes, however, are made from calf leather. The big difference is that corrected grain leather is made from cheap, poor quality leather which has had the outside leather shaved away and then "corrected" by the application of a coloured, plastic-like outer layer, whereas calf leather shoes are made from coloured leather to which you can apply polish to get a nice shine.
At first glance, corrected grain leather can look nice - it has a high shine and it is low maintenance. However, it scuffs easily and unlike a calf leather shoe, the scuffs cannot be polished away. Also, the plastic-like top layer on CG shoes cracks more noticeably than on most calf-leather shoes.
Here are a few threads from around Styleforum on corrected grain leather:
- "Please give me a short explanation of corrected grain leather"
- "How to spot corrected grain leather"
- "What's wrong with corrected grain?"
Thanks Journeyman. Much appreciated.