Overcoming its longstanding prejudice against shell cordovan, Northampton shoemaker Edward Green has begun to offer made to order cordovan shoes and boots.
The most common material for men's shoe uppers is aniline calf. The shell cordovan alternative originates not from cows but from the muscle (or shell) beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. It is harder to work than calf leather, which was the customary reason that English shoemakers offered to explain why they refused to make cordovan shoes. That's been an unfortunate decision for years, as cordovan is a more water resistant shoe material that makes better boots or shoes for the wet. Not that it ever rains in England.
Reflecting cordovan's extra cost and higher wastage during the production process, Edward Green cordovan shoes are $1,500 a pair at EG reseller Leather Soul, a $200 premium over MTO shoes made from calf. Dry comes at a price.