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Everything You Need to Know About Shell Cordovan Leather

Everything You Need to Know About Shell Cordovan Leather

With over $500 for a pair of shoes, Shell Cordovan Leather is among the most expensive and finest leather material. It bears striking resemblance to the traditional leather material. The surface is smooth, lustrous, and richly colored in shades of burgundy, brown and black. It is generally used for creating high-quality shoes.

However, the process and time consumed to create Shell Cordovan leather make it the rare and far superior to ordinary cowhide leather. It is considered as one of the top and most durable leather items.

horween shell cordovan handmade wallet

What Sets Shell Cordovan Leather Apart?

Shell Cordovan Leather is created from the hide from the hindquarters of horses. Once the horsehide has been split horizontally to eliminate the grain, the hindquarters are usually cut out from the hide. The cut-out part is called “shell.”

The word “Cordovan” means “from Cordoba.” The city of Cordoba is famous for its horsehide, and therefore, the term Shell Cordovan means “horsehide leather from the city of Cordoba.” Now that we have addressed that, we can move onto learn the qualities that differentiate Shell Cordovan from the rest.

Shell Cordovan is the most durable and long-lasting type of leather. It is created from the hindquarters of horsehide, where the pores are so dense that they cannot be seen with the naked eye.

handmade horween shell cordovan watch band on a rolex submariner

What Qualities Does Shell Cordovan Leather Offer?

In general, the leather created is resistant to water and stretching. You never see any stretch marks on a pair of shoes created from Shell Cordovan leather. It doesn’t show any signs of aging, wear or tear. It never creases, but ripples.

The tightly bound grain structure offers a smooth yet resilient and tough surface. Additionally, all the other hides are cleaned with chemicals and all hair is removed from them. Once the hair is removed, the outside of the hide is used as the surface for leather. However, in the case of Shell Cordovan leather, the flesh is on top, and it is used as the surface.

The ripples result in a long-lasting life span of the shoes. Creases in leather tend to create cracks in the surface. However, ripples do not age or impact the surface of the leather.

horween shell cordovan hide

With the passage of time, Shell Cordovan leather also engulfs itself in a rich patina, that cannot be found on ordinary leather products. If taken care of, your pair of shoes can last longer than you. If you have ever been to second-hand markets, you can still see a pair of shoes from the 1960s and 1970s in good shape. The main reason behind this is their material, which is always Shell Cordovan.

The only drawback might be the inability of Shell Cordovan to accept dyes. It usually comes in three colors; dark shades of brown, black and another color which is referred to as “Cordovan.” It is a dark burgundy rose color, and it can only be found in leather created from Cordovan hide.

What Is the Reason Behind Its High Price?

If the reasons behind its expensiveness were to be categorized, they would be as follow:

- Low supply of horse hides

- High demand for premium quality cordovan leather

- Long and arduous procedure of tanning and forming

Horses are not usually bred as part of the food chain anymore. Only a few places in the world breed horses for their skin, meat, and other aspects. The rest of the world breeds horses for pleasure and as their pets. This is the reason the cordovan hide is low in supply and promotes scarcity for this type of leather.

The tanning procedure along takes well over 6 months. Furthermore, it takes a lot of labor and personal care to ensure that the horsehide is being refined into premium quality leather.

handmade horween shell cordovan watch band on a panerai

The end of every stage in the tanning process requires personal inspections, and the time-consuming nature of the process contributes to its high prices around the globe. It usually costs $100 per square foot and is a rare and unique material.

Horween Leather Company is among the oldest tanneries in the USA, and it still produces Shell Cordovan leather in-house with tailored formulas. If you are looking for other tanneries which provide Shell Cordovan leather, here is a list:

- Horween (United States)

- Shinki Hikaku (Japan)

- Clayton & Sons (UK)

- Lis Royal (Argentina)

- Rocado (Italy)

- Comipel (Italy)

- Maryam (Italy)

A lot of regions offer Shell Cordovan, however, with the latest laws against animal brutality and hunting, this type of leather is becoming scarcer.

horween shell cordovan leather hide

What Do We Have to Say?

If you want to feel the best material on your feet and/or wrist, then Shell Cordovan leather is perfect for you. It is soft, smooth and still offers durability and resistance against the different weathers and environments.

You will never find any signs of aging on Shell Cordovan. It “rolls” with time and the rolls accentuate the beauty of the leather. The rolling is rarely visible, and your shoes feel new for a long period of time.

So, if you are looking for Shell Cordovan, you can snag an amazing Shell Cordovan watch strap that will stand the test of time. It is up to you to take care of your shell cordovan goods. Get a custom Shell Cordovan watch band if you think you are ready to step into the word of elegance, comfort, and style. It is now your time to shine!

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