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Thumbs up to Alden Black Cordovan

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I started a post about 3 weeks ago praising my burgeoning collection of Alden cordovan boots, and I wanted to give special attention to the pair of black cordovan boots that I have owned for about a month now. Ive worn them at least 2 days a week, from heavy flannel suits, to jeans, and they are just the best. I have heard the comment many times that black cordovan is a bit of a waste of money, since you dont get the aging properties and subtle coloring of the color 8 cordovan. I have to disagree. They shine up so much better than any black calfskin shoes I have ever owned, and there is such a depth to the leather. These shoes have made me like black shoes. I am a devout brown shoe wearer, but I have to say, I am finding excuses to wear these boots all the time. I just wanted to give them the praise they deserve. On a related note, when I bought these shoes at the Alden store in NYC, the salesman told me that Allen Edmonds buys its cordovan from a different part of the horse, and its refected in both the quality, and the price, of those shoes. I do have to admit, I have returned 2 pair of cordovan leather shoes to AE, for a variety of issues. I was under the impression that all cordovan leather came from the rear section of the horse. Where would AE be getting theirs from instead?
post #2 of 24
Quote:
On a related note, when I bought these shoes at the Alden store in NYC, the salesman told me that Allen Edmonds buys its cordovan from a different part of the horse, and its refected in both the quality, and the price, of those shoes.  I do have to admit, I have returned 2 pair of cordovan leather shoes to AE, for a variety of issues.  I was under the impression that all cordovan leather came from the rear section of the horse. Where would AE be getting theirs from instead?
It is my understanding that all the shell cordovan is sourced from Horween in Chicago, which in turn sources all of its cordovan from the posterior of the horse. One horse=one pair of shoes. I would suspect that the Alden salesman was, well, being a salesman. Odd that he would bother with such a story--true or not--when he has such a fine product to sell.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
He said it all came from Horween, but Alden got the best pick of the hides, and from the most "choice" part of the horses rear - his words. Having owned both, I will say that my Alden cordovans have held up better than my AE. Perhaps its not about the leather, but about the process that each company uses after it gets the leather that makes one more superior than the other?
post #4 of 24
Have been thinking of adding a pair of A-E cordovans to my already too-extensive shoe wardrobe when they have the next (autumn) sale at the Cabazon outlet, so I'd be very interested to learn about the shortcomings of your A-E cordovans. I believe Alden has a good many more cordovan options than A-E, which has only about four or five items in their lineup, so it is possible that Alden may get first dibs on many of the best shells (which I think is the proper term for the material for cordovan, rather than "hides) although obviously I don't know about respective sales volumes, which would be much more important than the number of SKUs. Horween would certainly fold if it weren't for Alden and A-E I have been informed by someone with close ties to that tannery so I don't know if it would behoove them to strongly favor one firm over the other. As our ecclesiastical friend from Alabama pointed out, it is unrealistic to expect one firm to get better parts of the shells than another although I'll check into this. It is somewhat ironic that even though I don't have any cordovan shoes, my dog has a very nice spiked collar made from Horween's finest shell cordovan.
post #5 of 24
I haven't heard whether or not Alden gets the pick of the hids, but I too have noticed that the Allen Edmonds shell cordovan (at least the shoes I have seen) are not as rich-looking as the Alden shoes. It is not uncommon to see Allen Edmonds shell cordovan shoes with pock marks or other marks on their cordovan leather.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I returned a pair of black AE cordovans because they were squeaking so loudly it was almost funny. The lady there said they had a batch of bad cordovan and would gladly replace them. The second pair had the same issue. I opted for a full refund. I also had a pair of color 8 AE, that I returned for the same reason. The replacement pair came back to me and the problem was the 2 shoes looked like they came from 2 different pairs. I sent them back and they redyed them, but Im still not very happy with them. Other differences I have noticed between the 2 brands are that the Alden leather just seems thicker, but that may just be in my mind. The depth of the Aldens is also more impressive, as is the actual leather, that often seems a bit sloppy on the AE.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
I have heard the comment many times that black cordovan is a bit of a waste of money, since you dont get the aging properties and subtle coloring of the color 8 cordovan.  I have to disagree. They shine up so much better than any black calfskin shoes I have ever owned, and there is such a depth to the leather.  
I agree. I own a number of black shell cordovan shoes. I love the look of shell cordovan in any color.
post #8 of 24
Phil, Did you get the Alden black Chukka boot or another kind? Just curious.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
I got the high lace boot, with a cap toe. I think its a unique item to the Alden store in NYC, although Alden of Carmel has something similar. My other pair of Alden cordovan boots are the chukka, in color 8.
post #10 of 24
Funny thing - I imagined a high lace boot when reading your post (likely b/c you described wearing with a suit), but when I looked on line I only found the Chukka. I then looked back at your post and realized that you had not specified. That does, indeed, sound like a gorgeous boot.
post #11 of 24
Phil, my Alden split-toe cordovan shoes squeaked some when I first got them, but it was just the sound of leather rubbing against leather. I was a bit annoying and I even asked the nice lady at the Alden store about it. She said to give the shoes a few weeks of wear and they'll stop -- she was right. I too have a pair of Alden black cordovan ankle boots (lace up with hooks) and love them. They are heavy and not the most elegant of shoes, but they can't be beat for cold winter days. They are also very versatile -- wearable with a suit or with more casual gray flannels. Even jeans.
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
I prefer it to the chukka for a few reasons. First of all, its a bit more elegant than the chukka. Yes, they are a a little clunky, but not nearly as much as the chukka. When I am standing they really look like a pair of cap toe oxfords. They have a double leather sole, that slightly extends out from the shoe, which gives it a slightly more casual air. Im in love with these boots. Apparently Alden NYC is going to get them in cigar cordovan in the summer.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Kabert- I know what you mean about the squeaking, but this was a whole different thing. They were ridiculous. The AE lady knew all about it, and she told me they had to scrap a huge run of cordovan leather because of it. It was a defect.
post #14 of 24
Are you talking about this one? I think that's the same last as the Indiana Jones boot. It would be a great looking boot in color 8 cordovan too. Do yours have the pull strap? I don't really care for it.
post #15 of 24
I'd get a pair of Aldens, but I have a hard time justifying the price tag right now.
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