As written by Glenn O’Brien (GQ’s Style Guy)
Cordovan shoes are made from horsehide. Before you start weeping and gnashing your burger-biting teeth, consider that the hides that wind up on our feet are not from steeds raised for that purpose but from older horses that have been knackered for other reasons. Often called shell cordovan, this leather is made from the “shell,” a membrane on the part of the horse that goes over the fence last. For some reason, this is where the most nonporous leather known to man is found. Each horse provides two shells, enough to produce one pair of shoes. Genuine shell-cordovan shoes are known for their shiny ﬁnish, durability, and ﬂexibility. The word cordovan comes from Córdoba, Spain, where the natural vegetable tanning of these hides originated, but the lone remaining factory in the States that produces shell cordovan in the painstaking, time-consuming traditional manner is Horween Leather Company of Chicago, the same outﬁt that tans the leather for NFL footballs. The process is labor-intensive, so cordovans are quite pricey. The most popular cordovan shoes are those made by Alden (the sole remaining shoe manufacturer in New England), Allen-Edmonds of Wisconsin, and Crockett & Jones of London.
My Cordovans – made by Crockett & Jones, London. I wore them today with APC denim, socks by Richard James, Savile Row