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How to identify cordovan leather?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GimpArm, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. GimpArm

    GimpArm New Member

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    I've seen numerous posts about people asking whether a shoe they post a photo of is cordovan leather or not and people can identify them. How are you magicians doing this? Is there some kind of a definitive way to tell or are these just very informed guesses?
     
  2. Achilles_

    Achilles_ Well-Known Member

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    I am by no means an expert, far from it. But from what I understand it doesnt crease like leather, and it looks almost plastic like compared to regular leather.
     
  3. Chris Waffles

    Chris Waffles Well-Known Member

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    I am by no means an expert, far from it. But from what I understand it doesnt crease like leather, and it looks almost plastic like compared to regular leather.

    Achilles is right--shell cordovan leather does not form creases (or microcreases) like calf does, instead forming ripples. If you are able to handle the leather, one way to identify shell is that scratches that would leave a permanent mark on calf are easily removed with a quick polish on shell.
     
  4. GimpArm

    GimpArm New Member

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    Can someone post a side by side comparison so I can see what you're talking about?

    Thanks!
     
  5. Chris Waffles

    Chris Waffles Well-Known Member

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  6. commodorewheeler

    commodorewheeler Well-Known Member

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    I am by no means an expert, far from it. But from what I understand it doesnt crease like leather, and it looks almost plastic like compared to regular leather.

    I wouldn't say that it looks "plastic-like" at all, but it does have more of a shine than most leather does.

    The best way to tell is to look where creases form on the upper of the shoe. If there are micro creases, than the upper is definitely leather. If the creases look like ripples, with no micro creases, then it is shell cordovan.
     
  7. Larson McCord

    Larson McCord Well-Known Member

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    These are shell cordovan, notice the humps. You can't see it exactly but there are no creases which appear in calf. [​IMG]
     
  8. Superfluous

    Superfluous Well-Known Member

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    when you'll see it, you'll know. It's pretty obvious.
     
  9. Stylego

    Stylego Well-Known Member

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    I'm fairly new to high end shoes. I knew nothing of shell cordovan prior to when I started nosing around here last winter. When I finally found a cordovan shoe (KC isn't a hot bed of footwear fashion) it jumped right out at me. Almost can't miss it.
     
  10. GimpArm

    GimpArm New Member

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    Ok, I see the difference and I think I'll be able to spot them in the wild now.
     
  11. Reevolving

    Reevolving Well-Known Member

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    The leather is hard as fuck. If you hit your face with it, there would be as much "give" as a plank of wood. It is almost like hard plastic. You could almost hammer a nail with it. Almost.
     
  12. miurasv

    miurasv Well-Known Member

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    The leather is hard as fuck. If you hit your face with it, there would be as much "give" as a plank of wood. It is almost like hard plastic. You could almost hammer a nail with it. Almost.

    Does the hardness make it uncomfortable?
     
  13. Prada_Ferragamo

    Prada_Ferragamo Well-Known Member

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    I'm fairly new to high end shoes. I knew nothing of shell cordovan prior to when I started nosing around here last winter. When I finally found a cordovan shoe (KC isn't a hot bed of footwear fashion) it jumped right out at me. Almost can't miss it.

    Obviously you haven't met me yet.
     
  14. Chris Waffles

    Chris Waffles Well-Known Member

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    Does the hardness make it uncomfortable?

    Only if you smack yourself in the face with it.
     
  15. miurasv

    miurasv Well-Known Member

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    This video, shown on Put This On, should give you a better idea of what to look for. Watch the first one and skip to around the 8:00 mark.

    http://putthison.com/post/5219725232...thers-are-made


    Thanks for posting the above link to www.putthison.com videos. I enjoyed watching them all. Shell Cordovan has got to be the leather in my next shoes.
     
  16. Galix

    Galix Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys!

    Nice post. I have a question about cordovan. Next winter I'll be moving to a place where it literally rains on average 235 days a year, plus occasional snow. Is it cordovan a better option than calf for that insane amount of water? And what about soles: dainite or commando?




    And if someone is wondering which city I'm talking about, it's Bergen, in the western coast of Norway.
     
  17. Reevolving

    Reevolving Well-Known Member

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    Does the hardness make it uncomfortable?

    No, just like steel toed boots aren't necessarily uncomfortable.
    They are stiffer than typical leather, but they're still pliable.
     
  18. Reevolving

    Reevolving Well-Known Member

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    Hey guys! Nice post. I have a question about cordovan. Next winter I'll be moving to a place where it literally rains on average 235 days a year, plus occasional snow. Is it cordovan a better option than calf for that insane amount of water? And what about soles: dainite or commando? .

    No, some shell stains immediately.
    I never let my shell shoes see rain.

    Rain can destroy leather soles in a day.
    Get a pair of beater shoes with rubber soles.
     
  19. Nick V.

    Nick V. Well-Known Member

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    The leather is hard as fuck. If you hit your face with it, there would be as much "give" as a plank of wood. It is almost like hard plastic. You could almost hammer a nail with it. Almost.

    Don't know about that...

    The nature of the skin lends to a longer breaking in period. Once broken in they often become favorites because of fit and little maintenance needed. Also, the character of the leather appears more distinguished over time.

    To the consumer the initial lay-out is higher because of production costs. However, if you factor in the way it out-lasts calf and exotics and the little maintenance required added, how it's appearance matures over time, it turns out to be a great value. Then, the limited, great, classic colors it comes in...
    A must have in the rotation.
    http://horween.wordpress.com/
     
  20. Reevolving

    Reevolving Well-Known Member

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    $600 is not not really a value however you slice it.
    You can buy a $100 pair of shoes every year (which look just fine to everyone)
    I bet not a single person here is wearing shoes (or any article of clothing) that is 10 years old.

    $600 shoes are not a value. They're a fetish. Admit it. Embrace it. Flaunt it.
     

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