Alligator / Crocodile Shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by SpooPoker, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. Aluan

    Aluan Well-Known Member

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    How do alligator/crocodile behave differently from calfskin in terms of creasing, shine, maintenance, and durability? I'm thinking of getting a pair, but I don't know anything about gator/croc leather.
     


  2. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Yes they do and it's not because of small scales. They look like Stacy Adams or Giorgio Brutini [​IMG]
    I'm not a fan of the shoes. I agree with monty that they look like SA shoes.
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Seriously speaking: are there any "ethical concerns" about croc/alligator stuff? My wife got a bit upset when I got myself an alligator credit card holder. Thus, is there anything "wrong" with the crocodile /alligator industry if compared to, for example, the cattle industry where calf skins comes from?
    I'm not sure about the crocodile situation but there are several operations in the southern United States that farm alligator. That's all I buy--American Alligator. So it is a renewable resource, not in any way endangered. Side by side the most significant difference is that crocodile has a pore at the top of each tile....sometimes hard to see. And crocodile tends to have smaller tiles for the same size skins. But if you choose small skins to work with--a 30 cm skin will make one full cut oxford--the difference may not be noticeable. On the other hand, if you get a dinosaur of a croc and cut from the throat it is sometimes indistinguishable (for the inexperienced eye) from sea turtle. Which, in turn, increases the demand for sea turtle. [​IMG][​IMG] Even if only marginally. As for wear properties, alligator is much, much denser than calf skin. In the last 30 years or so alligator and crocodile have been tanned with more modern chemicals and they are comparatively much softer than the old Bombe' finished skins. That said, even with a razor sharp knife it can be difficult to cut some of the tiles that verge into the back or in the tail. So, a shoe made with tail leather, for instance, will not crease as finely or conform to the foot as easily as a shoe made with belly or throat. That can affect comfort. On the other hand any leather that develops deep and fine creases or, more importantly, has a texture that creates extreme variations in surface will collect dirt and dust and this is where the shoe will deteriorate first. In many localities, a certain percentage of dirt is actually comprised of fine volcanic rock or glass--the High Desert of Central Oregon is one such place. Alligator is very scuff resistant and very durable. I don't have any hard evidence but I would guess that the newer tannages of alligator will out last calfskin four to one, all other things (like cleaning and conditionaing) being equal. A 30cm skin--measured across the belly--will run roughly $300.00-$500.00 wholesale. For a full cut oxford you would need two. That should give you a starting figure for pricing shoes made with alligator. Of course that's the "St. James Av." quality--the best belly cut with the smallest tiles.
     


  4. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    Tell your wife that alligators are farmed like many other species.

    I didn't ask to Tony where my alligators were coming from...
     


  5. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I actually have a few whole alligator skins - what do you think the cost would run if I supplied the skins to commission a shoe?
     


  6. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    I actually have a few whole alligator skins - what do you think the cost would run if I supplied the skins to commission a shoe?

    It will depend on the quality of the skins.

    The best bespoke makers are using the belly and any default in the scales will make them reject the skins for sale.
     


  7. henluc

    henluc Senior member

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    Tricker's new old stock
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     


  8. lasbar

    lasbar Senior member

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    They're crocodile . I had this surge 2 years ago for crocodile instead of alligator before Tony confessed that he preferred working with alligator skins than crocodile ones..

    The scales tend to be more regular and the supply less hazardous was one of the explainations.
     


  9. meister

    meister Senior member

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    I'm not sure about the crocodile situation but there are several operations in the southern United States that farm alligator. That's all I buy--American Alligator. So it is a renewable resource, not in any way endangered.

    Side by side the most significant difference is that crocodile has a pore at the top of each tile....sometimes hard to see. And crocodile tends to have smaller ties for the same size skins. But if you choose small skins to work with--a 30 cm skin will make one full cut oxford--the difference may not be noticeable.

    On the other hand, if you get a dinosaur of a croc and cut from the throat it is sometimes indistinguishable (for the inexperienced eye) from sea turtle. Which, in turn, increases the demand for sea turtle. [​IMG][​IMG] Even if only marginally.

    As for wear properties, alligator is much, much denser than calf skin. in the last 30 years or so alligator and crocodile have been tanned with more modern chemicals and they are comparatively much softer than the old Bombe' finished skins. That said, even with a razor sharp knife it can be difficult to cut some of the tiles that verge into the back or in the tail. So, a shoe made with tail leather, for instance, will not crease as finely or conform to the foot as easily as a shoe made with belly or throat. That can affect comfort.

    On the other hand any leather that develops deep and fine creases or, more importantly, has a texture that creates extreme variations in surface will collect dirt and dust and this is where the shoe will deteriorate first. In many localities, a certain percentage of dirt is actually comprised of fine volcanic rock or glass--the High Desert of Central Oregon is one such place.

    Alligator is very scuff resistant and very durable. I don't have any hard evidence but I would guess that the newer tannages of alligator will out last calfskin four to one, all other things (like cleaning and conditionaing) being equal.

    A 30cm skin--measured across the belly--will run roughly $300.00-$500.00 wholesale. For a full cut oxford you would need two. That should give you a starting figure for pricing shoes made with alligator. Of course that's the "St. James Av." quality--the best belly cut with the smallest tiles.


    Thanks for that professional advice.

    What would be your take on my vintage brown gator Nettletons? - as an idea of age - the seller's grandfather owned them. The black croc ones are around 1960s I suspect.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     


  10. Jerome

    Jerome Senior member

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  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I actually have a few whole alligator skins - what do you think the cost would run if I supplied the skins to commission a shoe?
    Depends on the size and quality. And condition. One of the sad things about the older alligator was that it was a very dry tannage and with age and no conditioning...or simple neglect...it would literally "die." That said when a maker purchases leather to make a pair of shoes, he effectively warrants that his sources are impeccable and that the leather is good quality. He takes the risk. If you had some nice skins in really good condition, a maker...such as myself...might not charge you anything extra above and beyond the price of a pair of calfskin shoes. But, personally, I would have to carefully inspect the skins before I took such a commission and even then I would be reluctant to warrant the skins. I've worked with alligator a fair amount in my time and I've seen some really crappy stuff come through the door in the arms of customers who shot their own, so to speak. I turned away almost, but not, all of it.
     


  12. A.L.Z.

    A.L.Z. Senior member

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    yes, I like the look of alligator shoes. But I agree that there is something "tacky" (or, rather, "pimpish") about them. If I get myself a pair, I will certainly not wear it to meetings with clients, unless I know them well.


    LOL, exactly my feelings. I sincerely enjoy alligator and other exotic leathers, but you're totally correct, one must walk a fine line between refined elegance and downright clown, pimp, or worse....

    If worn "incorrectly", one is a clown....colors help there as well [​IMG]
     


  13. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I think they are interesting...and am considering buying some.

    I like e.g. these (under: modello 1)

    http://www.silvanolattanzi.com/italiano/collezione.html


    The skins on these are amazing, but IMO the heel is just a bit too high. Great looking shoe though.
     


  14. mr monty

    mr monty Senior member

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    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     


  15. mr monty

    mr monty Senior member

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    [​IMG][/IMG]
     


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