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Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. garland

    garland Senior member

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    haha fair enough. To each their own!

    edit: Care to elaborate on your dislike of shell?
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  2. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    PB doesn't wear anything except black dress shoes to go with his charcoal suits, so shell isn't terribly ideal for that.

    I like them for brown rugged boots, penny loafers, and tassel loafers though.
     
  3. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

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    His shell shoes would spot up like crazy even with the lightest sprinkle of water, and it takes efforts to restore their finish. To be honest, Horween really f*cked their leather up in the "ass".

    In reality, shell would need even more care than other exotic hides.
     
  4. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    It's really not an issue though if you don't use shell cordovan for weird purposes (sorry PB, but a shell dress shoe is weird).

    For shell cordovan boots, you just wear them in the rain, and if they spot, they spot. It's not a big deal cause it's a rugged boot. If you really wanted to, you can brush the spots out in like 2 minutes with a horsehair brush.

    Also a non-issue for penny loafers and tassel loafers cause you would never wear those in wet environments.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  5. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

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    "...but a shell dress shoe is weird..." - I'm afraid I have to disagree. If this world is such a beautiful place, when it only rain in the afternoon after a long, hard day of work, when water from the faucet runs gracefully without sparking, when the sky is always clear, and when the pH of the water remains as neutral as possible, even from the rain, I'd say the jack-glazed surface of shell cordovan is very well suit for the purpose of dress shoes, especially in deep navy and black.

    The reason for shell to be such a bitch was no thanks to lack of moisture. Vegetable tanned leathers lack moisture all the time, even when they were well stuffed - speaking of which, only God knows how long the stuffed and finished hide sat through the warehouse.

    I would agree on how shell is great as field boots, but I'd rather try and develop reversed waxed calf hides, which kicks more asses in horrifying conditions.

    Shell cordovan is not suitable for loafers of any kind. It looks too dressy, for one. It is mostly thick hides, for two. The hide, when wrapped around the feet, retains high amount of feet perspiration and warmth, for three. The idea of a shell cordovan loafer simply sparked out of extra laziness for lazy people. The shoes will see little service, in exchange for the beauty of the hide being depreciated heavily.

    All in all, shell cordovan was a very unfortunate hide.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    1. Many people live in areas where it reliably doesn't rain for months at a time. They call them seasons. It's also pretty easy to wash your hands without splashing water on your feet. (Also easy to not pee on your feet).

    2. Don't know where you got the information about shell spotting because lack of moisture, but that's not how I understand it. I've heard it's from the natural waxiness of shell, but who knows -- I think these kinds of speculations are best left to people who tan leather, not consumers of menswear on internet forums (which includes me).

    3. Shell is not a dressy material. Historically, it's been used for workboots and loafers (the second having a particularly long American tradition).

    Here are some old Wolverine work boot ads.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here's an old article by Bruce Boyer on shell cordovan and tassel loafers (published in Cigar Aficionado back in the late 90s)

    http://www.cigaraficionado.com/webfeatures/show/id/Tasseled-Loafers_7439




    It's only recently that people started using them for real dress shoes. I think it's because it's an expensive material, and people often conflate expensive with dressy/ nice.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
    5 people like this.
  7. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't like the spotting that happens with them. I own shell captoes and shell whole cuts, both in black. They are a pain in the ass to keep looking decent.
     
  9. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Brushing won't get rid of the spots. I have proven this and gone over it time and time again. I am pretty sure the water just gets caught up in the wax polish. My dress shoes have a high shine on them and I think that shell that doesn't have much on them the water can better evaporate off the shoe without getting caught in a wax finish (such as the toe of a bulled shoe).
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Shell wholecuts are very #menswear-y.


    It works for me.
     
  11. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    See edited post above.
     
  12. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I don't bull my shell shoes (didn't quite understand from your post if that's what you're doing), but I do put a thin layer of wax polish on some of my shell boots. Again, from my experience, spots can easily be brushed out with a horsehair brush. It literally takes about two minutes of brushing.

    Granted, that's more work than calf, which you just have to lay and let dry naturally. So sometimes I just use rubber boots now for rainy days.

    I don't understand how you can get water on shell shoes outside of the rainy season though. I wear shell loafers and have never had a problem.

    My biggest complaint with shell: the material seems to be hard to tan in a consistent manner (from what I gather as a non-expert). A lot of times, you'll see shell shoes with mismatched shades of leather. And, over time, shell can lighten a bit easier than calf (in terms of color). So if you have a shell shoe with many panels (maybe a cap toe or a wingtip), one of those areas can lighten a bit more quickly, which results in something odd looking.

    Doesn't happen on all my shell shoes, but it's happened to some, and I'm not sure there's an easy way to tell which ones will age well when you just buy them from the store.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  13. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I have had nothing but headaches with getting spots out of shell. Maybe it is because they are black it shows more? Brushing has no effect, I have to strip them with a solvent and rebuild the finish, and yes I bull the toe and heels of my shell shoes. Why not?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's an example of a drip of water that hit the tow of this shoe. No amount of brushing, boning, or anything could get it out, had to strip them and rebuild the finish.

    [​IMG]

    Here's an example of literally 10 seconds outside while I was taking out the garbage where it barely started to drizzle. Again, nothing go these spots out except for stripping and rebuilding the finish.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    Again, because shell dress shoes is inherently weird. It's a very #menswear-y thing to wear. Shell should be used for country shoes or American style leisure shoes. Not dress shoes. Not just for historical reasons, but because a heavy, rolled leather looks too casual for business suits.

    I guess someone could bull their boots and tassel loafers, but that also seems really #menswear-y to me.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    For somebody who is into some pretty stupid looking casual menswear and some streetwear I'm shocked by your close mindedness of shell. My shoes are awesome, ain't even arguable as it's a fact of truth. The point I am making is that shell sucks if you want to keep it looking decent.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    My biggest issue with shell is that it's incredibly warm on my feet, thanks to its dense nature. It's like wearing mini ovens on my feet here in FL, and I have regretted all of my shell purchases.

    I will give suede a try. Thanks to its more porous nature, it should fit the bill...
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  17. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Many say suede is a winter only footwear.
     
  18. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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    I have heard as much, but the material seems more in tune with summer wear IMO...
     
  19. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    I like all sorts of stuff, but I recognize that classic men's clothing is governed by traditions and rules in a way that other styles are not. If we're talking about classic mens clothing, then shell cordovan oxfords and wholecuts are weird.

    It's fine to wear tailored clothes outside of the confines of classic men's style, but personally, I like my tailored clothes to be pretty clear -- all classic on one side, and then obviously fashion forward stuff on the other (Margiela suits with drapey, loose neck tees or whatever). The wearing of a traditional suit with odd-ball shoes just seems neither here nor there.

    Honestly don't really care either way, as I like how you dress (even with its peculiarities). Just saying, shell cordovan dress shoes are weird.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  20. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Weird shoes for a weird guy.
     

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