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What exactly is Cordovan Cont. leather?


Mar 27, 2014
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I read that Cordovan cont is short for Cordovan contrario, which is Italian for Cordovan reverse.

Does this literally mean that the reverse or under side of the horse's rump is used, just like the side that Horween stamps with their logo? Or, does it refer to another area of the horse altogether?

Logically, I can see why the underside may be used, perhaps to use the horse's hair as warm lining, especially for, say, gloves or winter boots. Cordovan Cont. is used on Italian Guidi shoes, but it's not exactly apparent what the difference is, as the hairs aren't used on those shoes, and it doesn't seem to make much sense to use the underside of Cordovan leather unless it's culled Cordovan leather that has unattractive marks on the outer hide; hence, the underside is used. Yet, Guidi shoes sell at a premium - unless their marketing strategy of their distressed and rugged collection of shoes is that sublime, I don't see how they regularly sell for more than many Alden or Allen Edmond shoes.

Speculations aside, I'm not able to find much more information on the 'net, so an informative discussion is very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!


Well-Known Member
Jun 11, 2016
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Reviving this thread with an answer since it's the top search result for "cont cordovan".

Cont is reverse leather, with the full grain (hairless) on the inside and the flesh on the outside. If they are unlined then the actual full grain side will be touching your feet.

Guidi offers this not because they are using damaged hides, it is to give a high-quality roughout/suede/flesh option for people that want something different than smooth grain. Roughout leather is a classic for boots and is very durable.

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