Question (originally posted by @GimpArm): 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?

Answer (posted by @Chris Waffles):
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.
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:

Answer 2 (posted by @Larson McCord): These are shell cordovan, notice the humps. You can't see it exactly but there are no creases which appear in calf.

Have a question and can't find an answer? Want to contribute your knowledge to the community? Try here:

For more threads and articles on shoe care and leather, go here:
Shoe Care
Shoe Care Products
Leather Care

New to Styleforum and want to get more informative articles, style tips, fashion news, and exclusive deals? Sign up for the newsletter.

For a daily dose of Style (forum), follow us on Instagram.