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***The official Alden thread *** Share enthusiasm, reviews, sizing, advice, and photos.

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by jet, Nov 3, 2008.

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  1. BeSpiffington

    BeSpiffington Senior member

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    Uncle, I'm very glad to see your beautiful Ravello tassels today.
     
  2. ReppTiePrepster

    ReppTiePrepster Senior member

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    I love this shoe... You are in elite company when you can match MrDV's possessions. BTW, DV, your ravello LHS are spectacular!!
     
  3. ReppTiePrepster

    ReppTiePrepster Senior member

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    Wonderful uncle! Wear in great health your ravello tassel mocs.
     
  4. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    Re: cordovan v. calf

    Just for the record...nobody can vouch that Cordovan does indeed significantly outlast calf and nobody can confirm that it holds up for dozens of years of regular wear?
     
  5. Don L

    Don L Senior member

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    Think it is a case of Your Mileage May Vary - too many variables to make a flat statement.
     
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  6. sevenfoldtieguy

    sevenfoldtieguy Senior member

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    MrDV's ravello LHS are splendid. I used to own a pair, but they proved to be defective. :(
     
  7. aldenwear

    aldenwear Senior member

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    Because I do not have the data required to disagree with DonL's point that you cannot make a categorical statement along these lines, I would agree with him.

    My own experience, as anecdotal as it obviously is, however is that it is indisputable that the calfskin dress shoes I have owned required more care and maintenance to look good than my cordovan dress shoes, and that the calfskin dress shoes did not last nearly as long as the cordovan dress shoes. Now, even then, the data is not uncontrovertible in an absolute sense: the calfskin shoes were not of the same brand as cordovans, so one could debate quality of construction and other variables. Ultimately, I don't think this issue matters much.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  8. ReppTiePrepster

    ReppTiePrepster Senior member

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    I think calf could probably last just as long if cared for properly. Maintenance on shell should be easier. Additionally, many here prefer the look of shell over time. Creasing and patina are much more appealing imho.
     
  9. sazon

    sazon Senior member

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    I was going to type a few lines on how much i love these LHS but I think the drool just shorted out my keybbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb
     
  10. MarioImpemba

    MarioImpemba Senior member

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    A cursory ebay visit is all the evidence needed, IMO. I have a couple of decades-old shell shoes I ebayed that look outstanding. I largely suspect the vintage shell shoes you find on ebay lived an ordinary life of abuse, and not SF obsessive, meticulous care. Calf isn't even close.
     
  11. MarioImpemba

    MarioImpemba Senior member

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    Interesting read, but speaks more to the quality of Alden than it does shell cordovan IMO...


    The uppers are showing wear.

    I'm pretty sure most shoes show wear when worn, no?


    The liners have ripped at the heel, probably as a result of the roominess of the last.

    Manufacturing issue. Does not pertain to outer leather selection.


    The top two speed lace eyelets are pulling away from the upper.

    Happened to my Alden's, too. It's a common Alden manufacturing issue.


    And, as has happened with another pair of my Aldens, there is a break in the leather at the top of the boot where the liner and outer shell meet.

    Yet another manufacturing, non-shell related issue.
     
  12. Resistant

    Resistant Senior member

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    Quote: Shell has additional strength far superior to calf due to the shells cross growth structure it is similar to extra warp and weft weaving on shirts.

    The fact is two people pulling at calf skin will be able to create a tear, shell is different since the two people will not be able to tear the hide.

    Only other skin close to shell is camel hide and it is said to be superior to shell in comfort not strength or shine.
     
  13. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    This is actually absolutely false. I can't speak about camel hide (because I know nothing about it), but the tensile strength of cordovan is far less than regular old calf skin. I am not trying to be condescending, but respected members DWFII and dibadiba have both stated such, and also have proffered data from leather tanneries that state that cordovan has a far lower tensile strength.

    To everyone else, thank you for your input, but showing pictures of old eBay shoes that probably have never been worn does not really answer the question either way. I think the best piece of evidence given, so far, was from englade, who presented his pair of 1980s PTBs that had undergone two full resolings and still looked great.

    Also, I want to be clear that I personally love cordovan, however, I am just curious as to whether cordovan is indeed superior to calf or is just a clever marketing ploy. While I do not doubt that the quality of cordovan is good, I still have not found and have not been presented with hard evidence that suggests that cordovan is all that everyone says it is. Cordovan is beautiful (I own 3 pairs of alden cordovan and 3 pairs of AE cordovan), but having spoken and listened to cordwainers on this site, the debate just does not seem to clearly fall in cordovan's favor. Steerhide and horsehide both are stronger (tensile strength-wise), and at least the people who actually make shoes seem to think that cordovan is overrated as a material. Now, that being said, I am not saying that cordovan is necessarily better or worse than calf skin, however, I have not been given and cannot find any data that suggests that it is stronger or lasts longer (and is therefore worth the extra $300).

    In the end, if you want to spend a lot of money on cordovan instead of calfskin, that's fine-it's your choice. I was just curious as to whether the money I have spent on cordovan will actually go the extra mile versus calf.

    Edit: for the record, horsehide ≠ shell cordovan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  14. coolarrow

    coolarrow Senior member

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    [​IMG] a little, but kangaroo has greater tensile strength than calf. See this wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_leather

    No comparisons to shell. I have never held kangaroo leather, though. There is a dude on here from Sydney who may be able to vouch.
     
  15. SuitedDx

    SuitedDx Senior member

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    I doubt you'll get valid data that can state SC shoes lasts longer than calf (or vice versa) because you can't control the variables of general wear. I think if we compare the materials, we should be more specific (and avoid cross-sectional approaches that look at numerous pictures of shoes), then we can at least better define "stronger" and "lasts longer." I think it's been discussed that when it comes to ripping, calf does have an advantage; however, when it comes to puncture and cuts, I think shell has the upper hands. There are a number of other ways to look at it... durability with abrasions, water resistance, etc.

    At the end of the day SC is a smaller hide than calf and it will cost more to make shoes out if it. In addition, the current demand is high for this material so suppliers can charge more.

    I like both, I wear both, and I buy both.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  16. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    Agreed.

    Anyway, back to Aldens.
     
  17. MarioImpemba

    MarioImpemba Senior member

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    Request some material samples and conduct your own lab research if you're demanding definitive evaluation. Otherwise, make a decision based upon the best information at hand like a rational person. This is tantamount to the horsehide vs. steerhide vs. calfskin motorcycle jacket debates I've seen; there is no end-all answer because of all the variables.

    Is shell better than calf? Better in what way?

    Is a drag radial better than a low-friction eco tyre? On a drag car, sure. On a Prius, no.

    Break down your q a little more...

    Longevity:
    Which one do you think is more likely to dry-rot?
    Which one will retain natural oils longer?
    Which one has better weather resistance?
    Which one has better pH stability and chemical resistance?

    Durability:
    Which one has better abrasion resistance?
    What is the ideal Young's modulus and which material comes closest?
    Which has better shear strength?
    Tensile is probably the least important lab relevant metric.

    With the appropriate care for each material, a lot of factors are irrelevant as they will both last plenty long.

    You can find an 80's Jaguar on the road today, just like you can an 80's Civic.

    So the real question to me seems to be, which one required more upkeep? Ceteris paribus, given equal neglect, I believe shell would hold up much better. If you're going to take great care of your shoes, then shell would seem to have negligible benefit to cost for you from a functional perspective (aesthetics aside).

    I'll just wander away now so as to not ruin the Alden thread, lol... :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
  18. basilios

    basilios Member

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    Howdy all.

    Just joined the forum after lurking a bit here. Allow me to add to the thread my new Alden 403s.

    Bought them locally here in Toronto and couldn't be happier to have them on my feet!

    [​IMG]

    And a better shot of them up close
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013
    2 people like this.
  19. macjedi

    macjedi Senior member

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    [​IMG]
    Cigar LWBs today. (Shhh… I think they're jealous that their younger whiskey brothers have been getting more attention.)
     
    4 people like this.
  20. mcarthur

    mcarthur Senior member

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    nephew,
    please post picture
     
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