This article is a thorough review of the Rushton boot of the Edward & James Cordovan line from Pediwear. We learn a little about cordovan, provide an overview of the Edward & James line, then dive into the construction of the boot.
What is Cordovan?
Cordovan is named for Cordoba, the Spanish city where the material was first developed well over a thousand(!) years ago. While it’s commonly referred to as “cordovan leather” (and, for better understanding, that’s what we’ll call it in this article), it’s not, technically, leather. Instead, it is a membrane sitting below the skin of a horse’s rear quarters.
Specifically, the section of the equine hide used in leather goods comes from an area 18″-24″ from the root of the tail and then about the same horizontally. This is called the shell.
The shell is divided into two parts; the “front” and the “butt.” The front is a little softer, but the butt is really where it’s at when it comes to durable goods.
Historically, the product was used for razor strops in barbershops. More recently, and much more commonly, cordovan is used in the creation of boots, wallets, and other goods requiring exceptional durability.
Most shell Cordovan today comes from France and Canada, where consumption of horsemeat is still faily common. However, England can produce some excellent shell as well.
Why is it so prized?
Cordovan leather is unique in that the pores of horsehide sit much more closely together than in cowhide. This makes the material more naturally water resistant. Additionally, it gives the leather a smooth appearance as opposed to the pebbled effect so often seen on bovine leather.
Because it’s a membrane, Cordovan is difficult and expensive to manufacture. The tanning process can also take as long as six months! Additionally, supply of quality horsehide tends to be quite low.
This scarcity of resources, combined with the degree of skilled labor needed, commands a premium price of around $100/square foot. You’ll need a couple square feet to make a good pair of boots.
For a great discussion on Cordovan, you can dive into our forums here.
About Pediwear and Edward & James
Pediwear is a purveyor of fine footwear, accessories, and luggage from some of the most highly sought after brands in the world, to include Crockett & Jones, RM Williams, and Cheaney.
A family business since 1976, Pediwear is currently run by Mike Small, son of the founder of the company, Barry. Mike started working at his father’s company part-time when the shop opened. He worked as a General Medical Practitioner for many years, but joined the company full time in 1999, when they added an online option and began shipping worldwide.
Edward & James is the house line of Pediwear. Named for the middle names of his two boys, Mike believes it evokes a sort of regal elegance. They use their decades of relationship with heritage shoemakers like Barker and Cheaney to create their unique twist on classic styles.
The brand features five lines:
- The Principal: A classic take on timeless Oxford and Derby styles
- The Contemporary: A more modern line with sleek, elongated lasts
- The Country: A rugged take on boots and casual shoes
- The Professional: A series of classic options at a very reasonable pricepoint
- The Cordovan: Their newest line, it features the finest in English cordovan. It encompasses a wide range of footwear, from traditional longwings to more contemporary dress boots.
The selection of English Cordovan, as opposed the more ubiquitous product from Chicago’s Horween Tannery, was deliberate. But, Mike says, the cordovan from Crockett & Jones, Tricker’s, and Barker were all excellent.
Extensive sampling and experimentation led them to believe an Edward & James boot made with English products would be a unique offering to this market.
The Edward & James Rushton Review
The Edward & James Rushton boot is a versatile combination between a dress boot and a combat boot. Let’s review from the ground up.
The Sole and Last
The sole of the Rushton is made from Dainite, an exceptionally durable British-made rubber material. The studs on a Dainite sole provide additional grip when walking in inclement weather, but are still thin enough to give the boot an elegant base on which to sit.
The boot also features a 32.75 mm (1.25in) stacked wooden heel.
The sole is secured to the upper by a 360-degree Goodyear welt. This welting system makes the Rushton completely re-soleable, providing the wearer with, conceivably, a lifetime of wear.
The welting here is substantial, but still refined to keep a low boot profile.
This model sits on Cheaney’s 130 last, which features a fairly narrow waist and heel. While the shoe is only currently offered in a medium “F” width, those with narrow feet will still be able feel secure.
The toe box is slightly more elongated than a stumpy combat boot, but still short enough it doesn’t look like a boot trying to be a dress shoe. This makes for a very elegant look!
The upper features a simple cap toe without ornamentation or broguing. The Cordovan on the Edward & James Rushton comes from the Clayton Tannery in Chesterfield.
The Chesterfield cordovan is, quite simply, exquisite. There’s a mineral-y, vegetable-like aroma to it. It feels wonderfully smooth in the hand. It’s thick, supple, and flexible.
The cordovan is a deep, rich burgundy, and shined to a luminous luster like, truthfully, this writer hasn’t seen before. The coloring is even throughout, although in various lighting reddish and black hues also make appearances.
The toe cap on a size 9UK measures approximately 2.75 inches, which puts it in perfect position for the ball of the foot to flex comfortably without unnecessary creasing on the vamp.
The toe box, in true English boot style, is a little fuller. This allows for thick, warm wool socks to be worn without rubbing or bunching on the foot. With that said, wearers may want to refrain from thinner merino or cotton dress socks.
As you see above, the rear quarter of the boot swoops upward to join the vamp. The cutting on this pair is virtually flawless. It’s one of the little details distinguishing a boot of such caliber.
The lacing is done in a ‘derby’ style. There are six cleanly punched and steel-reinforced eyelets and four speed hooks. While, perhaps, this adds a rugged character to the boot, it also makes it easier to slip them on and off.
The upper measures six inches in height, which makes it perfect for pairing with a range of pant options.
The Midsole and Add-Ins
Briefly, the insole is what one would expect from a shoe at this price point. It’s cork, and should conform to the shape of the foot over time.
The boot is surprisingly comfortable to wear from the first go, but also not so squishy one feels like the Insole will compact over a few dozen wears leaving the wearer to walk, essentially, on the Dainite.
Additionally, you can help keep your boots fresh by storing them in the included dust bags and ensuring the complimentary cedar shoes shoes (above) stay in the boots when you’re storing them.
Final Thoughts- Is the Edward & James Rushton Worth It?
At 718GBP ex VAT, or around $860USD at the time of this writing, the Edward & James Rushton boots are certainly quite expensive. However, one of the hallmarks we at Ask Andy preach is cost-per-wear. Ultimately, a $100 pair of boots rendered unwearable after a season or two are worth less than a pair of handmade Cordovan boots built to last a lifetime.
In the end, the Edward & James design and craftsmanship are exceptional. The English cordovan is just as good as the Horween cordovan. Indeed, these boots are build to last.
To learn more, please visit the Edward and James Cordovan Boots section on Pediwear.co.uk.
Thanks for reading.