Shell Cordovan #8 - What is its actual wearability?

At Law

Senior Member
United States

I have been contemplating purchasing another pair of cordovan tassels and am torn between #8 and black.

The question I am pondering is whether #8 (burgundy) is really a universal color or is it somewhat outdated?

I am a lawyer and wear tassel loafers with suits quite frequently. Many of my suits are shades of gray, glen plaid, and a couple of blue hues.

I find myself reaching for my black tassels more frequently than my old Brooks #8's.

Is this in my mind, or is #8 actually an outdated color of shoe these days as compared to black and shades of brown?

Thank you for your thoughts.



Advanced Member
United States
The deep and rich purplish, burgundy eggplant hue of Alden #8 is a classic menswear piece that will never go out of style IMO.

"Genuine shell cordovan is rare. Most leathers come from cows, but cordovan comes from horses (which are not, by the way, raised for this purpose). The “shell”, and let me put this as delicately as possible, is the subcutaneous layer that covers the equine posterior. Each horse provides two shells, which is just enough for a pair of shoes. A single shell isn’t long enough to form a seamless belt, so genuine shell cordovan belts will always be pieced. The most non-porous leather known, shell cordovan is distinguished by its lustrous waxy finish, superior durability, and suppleness that readily conforms to the shape of the wearer’s foot.
Cordovan is a corruption of Cordoba, the city in southern Spain where the technique of tanning this leather originated. Even today high volume production and fancy technology are powerless in its manufacture. Old school handwork is what gets the job done. The shells are put through a natural, vegetable tanning process, then hand-stained, glazed, and finished over a six-month period that demands the measured pace of craftsmanship and patience.
It’s those things that account for the expensiveness of true shell cordovan leather. Added to which there’s only one tannery which still produces cordovan leather, Horween Leathers in Chicago. Coincidentally, Horween’s other claim to fame is providing the leather for NFL footballs and professional baseball gloves. Genuine shell cordovan is a leather with character. It’s known for taking on a rich patina that improves with wear and polishing. And tough as, well, a horse’s butt."-G. Bruce Boyer



Senior Member
United States
I definitely wear my burgundy shoes 300x more than my black shoes.

Perhaps burgundy is not formal enough for you? Perhaps everybody in your office wears black shoes and you just want to blend in?


United States
I’m not a tassel loafer guy but color #8 is about a versatile as you can get and there’s nothing outdated about it.


Senior Member
United States
Burgundy (or #8) is a classic color and more versatile than black. Since you already have black, why not mix things up?


Super Member
United States
I prefer a dark burgundy over black any day of the week. You can wear it with any dark suit, except black, which you shouldn’t wear anyway. It’s not outdated in the least.

Now #8 versus a deep brown shade is a whole different question. I really love certain particular shades of brown and wear them as much, if not more, than burgundy. As a fellow lawyer I wear suits a lot like yourself. I find it difficult to get away from burgundy ties when wearing navy suits (I have predominantly navy suits) and don’t like to have on a burgundy tie, belt, and shoes at the same time. So brown is very useful. Additionally, I don’t like like burgundy with suits that are lighter grey. Brown will always work in this situation.

In conclusion, get the #8 tassels but also consider something like an Edward Green Belgavia in Dark Oak (cheaper variants about but this is the shade of brown to copy). The color is awesome.