Chedman13

Starting Member
13
United States
IL
Chicago
New to the forum and nicer dress shoes.

Can someone help explain to me the difference in the uppers of the Alden 9901 Plain Toe Blucher in Black Shell Cordovan vs. the Allen Edmonds Leeds 9501 Black Shell Cordovan? To clarify, I'm just interested in the appearance of the cordovan, not the fit, last etc… I tried them both on and they both fit me well, with the Alden looking a little bit "wider" due to the Barrie last.

I searched the forum and both are made from Horween Leather Company, and Allen Edmonds possibly gets the seconds.

Either way, the Alden has a bright luster and shine where the Allen Edmonds has a dull luster and shine. Both are display models and the Allen Edmonds sales person said it will have a dull luster vs the calf skin.

The Alden sales person says the shell cordovan will have a brighter luster and shine vs the calf skin. Since they are the same Horween Shell Cordovan, is it simply:
1) possibly just the lighting in the store?
2) how the shoe is shined?

I'm looking at this shoe for being versatile, I like the dull luster of the Allen Edmond shell cordovan as I can wear this with jeans. The Alden, the high luster, I can possibly shine this really well and wear it with a suit/tux for a formal occasion.

If it's really just the "shine" and how it's taken care of, that would be great if I could use either shoe for any occasion. I personally prefer a dull shoe to wear with jeans and the plain toe makes it casual enough.

I just bought my first Alden Shell Cordovan cap toe (2161) for business wear, but wanted to add a plain toe for black tie events and also casual wear. Will the Alden 9901 Plain Toe fit the bill? I'm hoping the "polish" will make it that versatile where I can have it shinny or dull. I'm totally new to this so just let me know if I'm completely wrong on everything...
 

Groover

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
317
I've not got any AE or Alden cordovans but I have got three pairs of Cordovan shoes from C&J who also use Horween.

All three have different appearances.

The black pair take a lot more effort to build up a shine.

The burgundy pair have now developed a very nice patina, using very little polish and a soft brush.

The brown pair appear and feel quite waxy and hence have less of a shine to them.

What I will say is that cordovan gets better with age and comparing against another shoe when brand new isn't what it's about. It's finish changes over time due to the natural oils coming out of the skin after the tanning process. Depending how you want the shoe to look once you've had them a while depends on how often you polish/buff them.
 

nhorween

New Member
59
A couple of things need to be said here...

Allen Edmonds and Alden both receive the same quality from us here at the factory - as does every one of our customers for any of our products. All cordovan is sorted and graded in the same manner, so the information about AE getting "seconds" or something along those lines is completely false.

In my experience, I can get shells to take and hold a much higher luster than any other leather, including calf. As I said above, there is no difference between the leather of the two shoes you're comparing when we ship it - beyond the variation that occurs when you're dealing with a raw material (the shell) that presents itself uniquely each time. It was, after all, skin at one point. Both shoe makers do some processing on their shoes, but you would have to speak to them directly to determine exactly what that is.

What I'm really saying is that over time the leather itself (disregarding construction, etc.) will look and behave exactly the same in both shoes. If you want them to appear dull or shiny, the choice is up to you on either shoe.

Hope that helps!
 

Chedman13

Starting Member
13
United States
IL
Chicago
A couple of things need to be said here...

Allen Edmonds and Alden both receive the same quality from us here at the factory - as does every one of our customers for any of our products. All cordovan is sorted and graded in the same manner, so the information about AE getting "seconds" or something along those lines is completely false.

In my experience, I can get shells to take and hold a much higher luster than any other leather, including calf. As I said above, there is no difference between the leather of the two shoes you're comparing when we ship it - beyond the variation that occurs when you're dealing with a raw material (the shell) that presents itself uniquely each time. It was, after all, skin at one point. Both shoe makers do some processing on their shoes, but you would have to speak to them directly to determine exactly what that is.

What I'm really saying is that over time the leather itself (disregarding construction, etc.) will look and behave exactly the same in both shoes. If you want them to appear dull or shiny, the choice is up to you on either shoe.

Hope that helps!
Great information, I appreciate the reply. This will help me choose my second pair of shell cordovans.
 

Crownship

Senior Member
998
A couple of things need to be said here...

Allen Edmonds and Alden both receive the same quality from us here at the factory - as does every one of our customers for any of our products. All cordovan is sorted and graded in the same manner, so the information about AE getting "seconds" or something along those lines is completely false.

In my experience, I can get shells to take and hold a much higher luster than any other leather, including calf. As I said above, there is no difference between the leather of the two shoes you're comparing when we ship it -

If you want them to appear dull or shiny, the choice is up to you on either shoe.
Hope that helps!
I'm glad Mr. Horween finally set the record straight.
After all he knows his product better than anyone on these forums.

On many threads I read several members claim that one company's shell cordovan quality is better.
That claim has been made by some who own shell and don't,
shoe dealers and even cobbler repair shops on this forum tried to pass that
falsehood as a truth for various reasons.

I own shell from Allen Edmonds, Alden, Hanover and Florsheim.
And I know for a fact that neither company has better Horween shell cordovan than the other.
The next time someone claims that Alden has better quality shell cordovan than
Allen Edmonds or vice versa I'm going to post a link to this thread.

Hopefully those that have stated that claim over and over that one
company's shell cordovan is better will take the time to read this thread before they post what many of us already know is not true.

Thanks nhorween
It's always a privilege to have manufacturers and representitives share information about their product.
 

mcarthur

Connoisseur
12,288
United States
WV
Morgantown
A couple of things need to be said here...

Allen Edmonds and Alden both receive the same quality from us here at the factory - as does every one of our customers for any of our products. All cordovan is sorted and graded in the same manner, so the information about AE getting "seconds" or something along those lines is completely false.

In my experience, I can get shells to take and hold a much higher luster than any other leather, including calf. As I said above, there is no difference between the leather of the two shoes you're comparing when we ship it - beyond the variation that occurs when you're dealing with a raw material (the shell) that presents itself uniquely each time. It was, after all, skin at one point. Both shoe makers do some processing on their shoes, but you would have to speak to them directly to determine exactly what that is.

What I'm really saying is that over time the leather itself (disregarding construction, etc.) will look and behave exactly the same in both shoes. If you want them to appear dull or shiny, the choice is up to you on either shoe.

Hope that helps!
I greatly appreciate your input
 

Crownship

Senior Member
998
I guess the only benefit of beating the Alden vs AE "dead horse" is that Nick can tan the shells afterward. :icon_smile_big:
*Drum sound*
Ba! Ba! Boom!:pic12337:

Probably not much left to make any shell.
That horse has been being beat for a long time here.

Hey!
Did you hear that?
I thought I just heard something a moment ago. That sound was a really odd.

Pretty sure it was a slapping sound and a horse whinny.