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Shell cordovan - elaborate joke or conspiracy?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by j, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    I wore my C&J/Polo cordovan ankle-jodhpurs today. Got a tiny sprinkle on them from the door to the car, the car to the office door, etc. Looked down at them on errands on my way home and they had nasty looking little spots all over them! I've heard of this but I hadn't seen it to this extent. After getting home I polished the bejesus out of them. But who knows if it will help - after all, I did polish them when I first got them. I just sprayed some water on one as an experiment, so we'll see what happens.

    Anyway what are your experiences with cordovan in rain? I've noticed that some cordovan seems to refuse polish - it just smears around forever and never sinks in the way it does on leather. And can you get a real shine out of it like you can get a mirror finish on leather? It always seems to end up a bit waxy and/or rough to me. I like the look of it, but I wonder if it's possible to get it really shiny.

    Side note - never break in wholecut shoes that don't fit snugly. If you get a pair that you insist on keeping but they aren't snug to begin with, put in insoles or whatever until they are snug before allowing them to break in creases in the leather. I thought these were pretty snug but in hindsight I should have put in thicker insoles (I don't think a 1/2 size down would have fit) before wearing them, because now they have a lot of creases on the uppers. I don't think it will look bad after they are broken in a bit more, but if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't wear them without having them snug in the first place.
     
  2. minimal

    minimal Senior member

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    Cordovan, in my experience, get's little raised "dots" in the rain that disappear when it dries.

    I almost never polished my cordovans: usually just a good brushing. The very very few times I polished themwas with a tiny amount of polish, and I think it was a special type as it was marked specially for cordovan. (Allen Edmonds has polish that's marked for cordovan, whether or or not it's any different I don't know.
     
  3. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    No, I've worn shell cordovan in the rain and have found that they polish up nicely afterwards once tried. Hope it all works out for you.
     
  4. rnoldh

    rnoldh Senior member

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    Being that Cordovan comes from a Horse's Ass it just might be an elaborate joke[​IMG]


    P.S.: If those C & J's are a size 11D, I'll help you stop being the Butt of a joke[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. billiebob

    billiebob Senior member

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    My polo cordovans and BB Aldens regularly get pretty wet, but thankfully never get bumps.

    The Aldens positively gleam after a brushing. The Polos I can't seem to shine much at all, except for the very toe tip.
     
  6. pkincy

    pkincy Senior member

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    FWIW, the AE store folks recommended their Cordovan cream for the Leeds I purchased and said not to use a wax as it would build up. So far I have followed their advice and have been pleased.

    Perry
     
  7. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    I've never had any trouble with cordovan in rain--in fact, I probably wear cordovan shoes in the rain more than any others, mostly because they tend to have rather stout soles. But then, of course, my cordovans have usually had years to find themselves and get comfortable in their skins before they become acquainted with my feet. For all I know, new cordovan may be a bit different. Just keep in mind what you already know: cordovan is tough and will only get better.
     
  8. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    sorry J, no problem in the rain. I did have trouble, in the begining, getting them to shine, due to putting too much wax on. by using a piece of wet nylon stocking and rubbing hard, I got a great mirror shine.
     
  9. A Harris

    A Harris Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've gotten those little spots you describe on my cordovan shoes, from rain. A tiny bit of wax polish takes care of it for me.
     
  10. j

    j Senior member Admin

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    Hmm, yeah they look fine now. I'll see how they do in the next rain. I wonder why the surface of these and some other cordovan shoes I've seen is so rough in parts, though. Is that normal for a 'good' shoe? Shouldn't they try to put the smoothest parts on the toe and counters?
     
  11. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    I wore my C&J/Polo cordovan ankle-jodhpurs today. Got a tiny sprinkle on them from the door to the car, the car to the office door, etc. Looked down at them on errands on my way home and they had nasty looking little spots all over them! I've heard of this but I hadn't seen it to this extent. After getting home I polished the bejesus out of them. But who knows if it will help - after all, I did polish them when I first got them. I just sprayed some water on one as an experiment, so we'll see what happens.

    Anyway what are your experiences with cordovan in rain? I've noticed that some cordovan seems to refuse polish - it just smears around forever and never sinks in the way it does on leather. And can you get a real shine out of it like you can get a mirror finish on leather? It always seems to end up a bit waxy and/or rough to me. I like the look of it, but I wonder if it's possible to get it really shiny.



    I tend to wear my cordovan shoes on rainy days, J. The old "is cordovan warmer than calf" debate not withstanding, I tend to think that my toes are toastier in thicker soled Alden cordovans.

    I have seen bumps develop in the rain, too. For what it is worth, Alden says that you should never try to polish your cordovan shoes when wet. I thought the fear might be that you could take up one of the bumps, (Pull the scab off of the wound?) but that is pure speculation on my part.

    I hear people talking about polishing their cordovan shoes to a mirror finish, and am green with envy. I can do that regularly with calf, but have never been able to do it with cordovan. I also have wondered about the unevenness (the roughness) on some of the Alden cordovan shoes that I have. Regardless of where the bumps come from, could this be a case of "natural state of the raw material adds character" ?

    Bic
     
  12. Teacher

    Teacher Senior member

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    Hmm, yeah they look fine now. I'll see how they do in the next rain. I wonder why the surface of these and some other cordovan shoes I've seen is so rough in parts, though. Is that normal for a 'good' shoe? Shouldn't they try to put the smoothest parts on the toe and counters?

    This is certainly not too uncommon for shell. Mine haven't done that, but it happens. As you've noted, it goes away, and there is no permanent damage. Remember that shell cordovan is basically a handmade product with much variation. In other words, don't worry...be happy.
     
  13. lockey2k

    lockey2k Senior member

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    So once it rains, how do I dry the shoes off?
     
  14. denimdestroyedmylife

    denimdestroyedmylife Senior member

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  15. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    J, very strange. I go out of the way to wear cordovan in the rain, and buy cordovan boots for just this purpose. It is denser than calf and something in the membrane (whatever gives it that "waxy" appearance) keeps out the rain. The shoes never soak through, or even come close. Can't say that about calf. I have never had a spotting problem, either. I have cordo from Brooks (Alden), Vass, and Carmina.
     
  16. denimdestroyedmylife

    denimdestroyedmylife Senior member

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    yes, i wore my cordos in the rain for the first time at the end of october and they fared very well. as soon as i got indoors, i dried them on the back of my knees (whilst wearing jeans) and no bumps popped up.
     
  17. cpac

    cpac Senior member

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    Never much of a problem with bumps in either of my cordovan shoes.

    I don't think a mirror-like shine is really possible or desirable with shell cordovan (at least not in my experience). Part of the bonus of cordovan is not having to wax them as much or as often as you do calf. I use a tiny bit of wax paste to shine them about once every three or four months, with plenty of brushings inbetween. They get a nice shine too them, just not something on the level of "mirror."

    PS - too much paste can really be a problem - it smears around for ever and ruins the shine. I did this once, and managed to get things back to normal through a combination of time and lots of elbow grease with an old t-shirt.
     
  18. montecristo#4

    montecristo#4 Senior member

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    I developed bumps on my cordovan captoes that never went away. The bumps were not on the cap itself but on the piece of shell the cap sits on (the vamp?). Anyway, I almost never wear them now. Makes me pissed even thinking about it.
     

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