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Shoes that look better with age...

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Posted (edited)
On 5/24/2019 at 5:33 PM, kameidaclub said:

^I'm with ALB.

Once I have also asked to Shinki and Horween (They were the only two cordovan suppliers AFAIK) and they both said over $100 sq.ft depending on the grade (Better cordovan costs x1.5).


This blog is about the price of cordovan. (Sorry it's in Japanese)

The graph says 2 sq.ft costs $202 in Jun 2014 and I'm very sure the current price is higher.

So I am also very curious about which tannery sells at 40 euro.

Is it really retail price? Have you seen the leather itself?  Are there any pictures? Which maker uses that cordovan?

that's fine if you don't believe it, all good -- i don't have an obligation to prove anything and since we're online, everything should be taken with reservation (my posts included).
i do find your questions a bit strange, however ... this isn't an interrogation, and as i said before, i certainly won't disclose any info regarding an active business contact of my former boss, すまん. :D

i also don't know if you are familiar with how visits to a tannery or a leather wholesaler work -- i worked for a different branch in leather processing, as i wrote above in my post -- since i was responsible for quality control of the hides that go into production, of course i had to check and see every single one of them.

when you go to a tannery to talk about leather that you use for production, you also check it out, because you want improvements or changes regarding the tanning process of the hides.

even though my interest in shoes and shoe leather is purely private, i had a look at the hides the same way i used to inspect leather that i worked with, so it's odd to ask if i had seen the leather. it was a visit to a german tannery and a quote from 2012.

add-on: have you asked any other tanneries apart from shinki and horween or have you visited one in person -- how many tanneries do you know? i'm curious now, because if you are only familiar with the ones mentioned, that would explain why you only know about their pricing alone. on another note, i can't talk about horse leather from the 1950s (the wolverine advertisement), so let's stick to leather from the 2000s, everything else is irrelevant. in the same advertisement, wolverine praises pigskin shoes and claims it's high quality leather (it is good leather, but not for leisure or dress shoes), i can't take the text there too seriously, i'm afraid.

but let's go through the べじたん blog entry (interesting blog about leather with a lot of devotion put into it -- i enjoyed skimming through the posts) that you linked step by step:


point a)
the newspaper article claiming that horween and shinki are the only remaining cordovan suppliers in the world is from 1991, from a chicago tribune freelance contributor, is false.

the majority of the horse hides are imported from europe to asia (japan) and north america (usa). the tanning knowledge originated in europe (asia and africa, too -- but for the purpose of this topic, i'll stick to europe), and you can find in spain, italy, france and germany (and very likely in a number of other european countries as well) at least one tannery that is capable of processing horse hides to obtain shell cordovan.


point b)
japanese pricing is generally higher, no offense. i have lived in japan and speak japanese, and basically everything is either twice the price or significantly more expensive than elswhere.

sieck international in germany (which is not a business contact, so no problem posting here) sells cordovan horse hides for € 105 a piece (ranging from one to 1½ square meters). sieck is a reseller:
cordovan culatten

the links in the べじたん blog reference mostly u.s. sources or links with connections to shoe manufacturers/retailers in some way or another. shell cordovan has become a brand name, first and foremost, which is predominantly associated with horween in chicago and this is based on their successful marketing and close ties to the shoe industry in north america. nothing wrong with that, but again, i rather turn to sources that have no vested interest when they share information about something.

why would a tannery publicly say that there are other tanneries (read competitors) who could do their job? you wouldn't believe how coveted these pieces of information are.

do not forget that there are other languages besides english, and thus non-english notions for cordovan.

another link (in german only) on how horse hides have to be tanned differently depending on their sections:


point c)
the vast (as in up to 95 %) majority of customers of tanneries and distributors are enterprises. retail prices are for end customers. but contacting a tannery and buying directly from one as a private individual works of course, and there you can save significant sums of money, depending on the amount you purchase.

i have never been involved with the shoe industry apart from being a customer. i have been out of the leather processing industry for several years now, and this is my final say on the issue regarding shell cordovan.

you have every right to disagree, that's perfectly legitimate -- but don't insinuate that i haven't spoken truthfully, just because you made other experiences or don't have the info that i received. i know what i had asked the tanner and i know what he had told me and which leather i had seen, thanks.

Edited by cameosis

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5 hours ago, Iron Horse said:

Dr. Sole recently did an interview with Michiya Suzuki, former director of Red Wing Japan:


Michiya has a new YouTube channel dedicated to boots too:



Thanks a lot for sharing, Bryan. 

Hope you guys enjoy the interview. Any feedback will be much appreciated! 



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Posted (edited)

Fair enough and my apologies if you feel offended.

The blog author Vegtan archives many articles and surely very informative.


As said before, I have never heard of 40 euro sq.ft. That was the point.

105 euro that you linked is very good! Thanks for the website!

And as you said in point c), I am just a customer and I can only say the retail price from the customers point of view.


edit: Thanks to ALB, $66 is definitely competitive!



answer to the add-on:

No, I only asked to two as it was considered the only tanneries handle cordovan.

At the same time, I have talked to the owner of the F.E.W (leather jacket/products company at NewZealand) and he said the same about the cordovan.

I actually have not asked to Shinki and Horween about other tanneries.


Edited by kameidaclub

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I don't think anyone here was saying/implying you were lying @cameosis. It just sounded a little off compared to other tanneries (besides Horween and Shinki Clayton and Comipel was near the same price range. Don't know what Rocinante, Argentina tannery, sell theirs.)

That being said, with more research the 40 euros is pretty close to what Rocado, an Italian tannery, is offering theirs directly on their site ($66/sq ft) which if you were on good relations or bought a significant portion would probably bring it down further.

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Decided to pay the rush fee on my horsehide Wesco boss so the date to get them is now 7/29 or before.  Gotta beat the fire season right now lol.

Edited by mlwdp

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