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I’ve bought thousands of pounds of scrap from Alden and left over hides from Wolverine’s 1000 mile program, but that means I only get to compare Janus (Alden) to a few different “true suedes” (Wolverine) but they are all CF.Meermin had 3 reverse calf suedes for the Custom boot event: Du Poy (or Zonta?) Alicante which comes a small
$10 USD premium, CFS Janus Butts and Sciarada Castoro. Janus Butts and Castoro are ~2mm in thickness and are more appropriate for boots. I'm not sure if the Meermin rep I was talking to was referring to Zonta or Du Poy Alicante because they didn't know either. They told me that Alicante is the finest of the three. I believe Alicante is roughly 1.2-1.4mm and are more appropriate for dress shoes. As per Tannery Row's listing, Janus butts are 4.5-5.5 oz (1.8-2.2 mm) and are made from Ox hides as opposed to calf. Janus calves are 3.5-4.5 oz (1.4-1.8mm).
Theoretically thinner suedes with less dermis would have a finer nap. There isn't a whole lot comparing different suede tannages. In the Antonio Meccariello thread, a user said Antonio preferred to use Zonta butts over Janus Butts.
There are a lot of reverse calf makers. I've heard of Du Poy, Annonay, Zonta, CFS, and Sciarada. I hope someone with experience or swatches can enlighten us on suede quality.
The same article also includes:The bottom part of the leather, the part that is split off from the grain at the grain/corium junction, goes by many different names, and it can get really, really confusing. Many people refer to this bottom layer of leather as “genuine leather”, however, the term isn’t used consistently and is also used to mean real leather as opposed to manmade faux leathers. More terms you may see: split leather, corrected leather, embossed leather, coated leather, Suede, Napa leather (again, not a consistently used term), painted leather, and more. For our purposes, we’re going to refer to it as split leather.
Forget 99% of what the internet says about leather grades, it's oversimplified to the point of deceit.When I first got into high quality welted footwear and leather goods a few years ago, I dove into learning about leather reading any source I could. When I reached suede, I got stuck. There's really so little information out there and what information is out there regularly conflicts with other information. For example, and I don't point this out to create conflict, only to highlight the uncertainty, a previous member posted in this thread that genuine leather includes a portion of the grain layer, yet the excerpt below from an article on BestLeather.org explains it differently. I suppose the uncertainty may come from the fact that any tannery can make leather any way they like. But I do think some countries have regulations controlling how a leather item can be labeled, marketed, and sold so that, for example, a maker can't pass off laminated crap as cordovan.
The same article also includes:
View attachment 1742331
I suppose in the end it's all up to the tanneries and the general universal definition of suede could be anything from the underside containing a portion of the corium, which gives the fibrous nap, whether it's from the split/drop or something from the underside of the higher quality top portion like reverse calf.
Yeah I get so frustrated when ever I see things presented as ¨grades¨…like full grain lamb vs thick cow hide suede, which is actually more durable? People think it’s always ”full grain or bust”…the fact that this thread is about high end suede shows that’s a myth.As long as it is derived from the skin of an animal it is 'genuine leather'. That's what leather is--the preserved hide of an animal.
Technically, shell cordovan is not leather as it is not part of the skin or hide.
Bottom line is that the longer fibers of the nap, if not mechanically altered, originate in the looser, less dense, corium. There is little to no inherent strength in the corium. In thicker hides used for insole and outsole, shoemakers go to great lengths to remove the loose fibers of the corium and flesh.