Cordovan shells...Are they worth the difference in price?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Greyfox, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. Greyfox

    Greyfox One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    290
    Location:
    East Tennessee
    I want to get a nice pair of AE dress shoes and I am trying to determine if the cordovan shell is worth the extra $'s. I have read the AE site for an explanation of this leather but would appreciate any opinions as to how it affects the looks, comfort and durability of the shoe. For those of you that are AE fans any recommendations as to what dress shoe I should consider (I am a 60 year old) and where to buy them would also be very much appreciated.
     
  2. HungaryTom

    HungaryTom One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,204
    Location:
    Hungary
    Once you think Allen Edmonds it is already more expensive than average. So you won't "save" money. Whether it is boxcalf or shell cordovan. But you will get a quality dress shoe. I have shell cordovans from Vass since live in Budapest.

    It is crucial to try on the pairs before buying them once you spend that amount. Yes they are expensive. Alas they are comfortable, beautiful, I like them. I like shell cordovan. I like mine and would buy them again. No regrets.

    Therefore I recommend you to buy them. The longwing blucher is a nice design for cordovan. At any age. The brogues look good with the lustre of the leather. But if you like plain shoes, the captoe is also beautiful. Elegant. So if you really like the leather go for it. Color: choose oxblood or some brown tone rather than black.
     
  3. The long-wearing durability of cordovan is reason enough for the extra investment. I have a pair that have been resoled three times and I expect to be wearing them until I am dependent on motorized wheels. Properly cared for, they never wear out.
     
  4. HarpPlayerGene

    HarpPlayerGene I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,682
    Location:
    North Central Florida
    I am certainly an Allen Edmonds fan (up to twelve pairs of them now) but I'm a bit suspicious of their newest product. I only have older ones, and my cobbler tells me they have declined in their workmanship and materials. I do not have first hand experience with this and I encourage you to get your own confirmation. I would hope that any maker who traffics in shell cordovan would not then skimp on the leather used on the soles or the material they choose for the footbed, for instance.

    I have two pair of shells (both old Florsheim) and I've had a couple more pass through my hands. I really do like having them in my collection and I go to them fairly regularly - - but I consider mine to be fairly casual as shoes go. The deep burgundy color, the 'depth' and subtle variation, the sheen, the general durability, the absolute resistance to creasing or cracking are all plusses for sure. I also like the history; being a particularly American product, making efficient use of an abundance of horses and wild mustangs on this continent. But still, there's just something about mine that gives me an almost 'work-shoe' or sporting feel.

    Once you discuss and confirm quality with your source, you will probably go for those AE shells -- and you will most likely always be glad you did, growing to like them more and more as time passes and the patina becomes more rich and interesting. I, personally, just wouldn't consider them to be an 'everything shoe' or even a very 'dressed up' shoe.

    Oh, and when you care for them do NOT use leather conditioner. Only use a VERY small, thin coat of cordovan wax polish and then brush and buff.
     
  5. dwebber18

    dwebber18 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    216
    Location:
    Hoboken
    Shell is a wonderful product. I have 1 pair of shell shoes and they are Alden LHS loafers in whiskey shell cordovan. It makes a fine shoe that takes on a character of its own when it ages. Shell doesn't develop those thin creases like calf leather, its wrinkles instead but only to a certain point then it stops. If you don't mind spending the extra cash shell is the way to go, but calf leather AEs are also quite nice and I've got 2 pairs of those. Allen Edmonds is currently running a 12 days of Christmas sale with a different item on sale each day. They had a select few shoes on sale so far, so maybe as we get a little closer they will offer a wider range of shoes for sale so check their website each day to see whats on sale that day. You can also google the Allen Edmond's Shoe Bank for their phone number and ask what they have in your size or particular style and you may be able to pick up a cosmetic second or a discontinued first for a good deal.
     
  6. SteveAS

    SteveAS Practically Family

    Messages:
    841
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I have two pairs of AE shell cordovan Leeds (one in oxblood and one in black) and this is exactly my experience. Mine are about 10 years old and I wear one pair or the other about four days a week. When they're freshly polished, the still look like new; shell cordovan is almost impervious to scratches.
     

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