What Is Shell Cordovan?
Cordovan is regarded the world’s finest leather; it comes from beneath the hide on the rump of the horse.
Shell cordovan has some natural unique characteristics to it, which makes its uses so special and exclusive in the handmade shoe industry. Its natural characters include is ability to gain such stunning colours naturally when tanned, it also doesn’t crease or gain ripples like normal leather would.
Shell cordovan is basically two cuts of leather known as tanned front and tanned butts, the butt of the leather is then split on a splitting machine and the grain side is removed revealing the shell below. This is an amazing quality leather as the shell is made from tight close tissues making the shell durable, strong, ripple free and crease free.
Cordovan due to its close fibre structures makes its dying capabilities extremely limited, so shell can only be sourced in strict limited numbers. This can also be problematic when dying natural cordovan as it contains oils and waxes, these items can stop products from dying the shell cordovan leather, but specialist training courses can teach you how to do this very successfully.
As well as being used in the shoe industry, the finger tabs protection in archery, this is used here for its toughness, longevity which offers fantastic protection.
Another great area of use was for barbers’ razor strops, used to sharpen razors, some barbers still traditionally use this method today.
Cordovan leather is believed to have been first discovered in the 7th century in Cordoba in Spain, first manufactured back in the roman emperor days by people known as the Visigoths.