GENUINE SHELL CORDOVAN
Whether it is European Calf, Calf Suede tanned in England or Cordovan from Horween in North America, Crockett & Jones prides itself on using the finest quality leathers available. Genuine Shell Cordovan is vegetable tanned, using a very traditional and labour-intensive process. This process leaves the material with a very high ‘liquor’ content (although the liquors content is secretive!) that slightly differs the way you should care for cordovan over a pair produced from a calf skin.
How to Care for Shell Cordovan
Crockett & Jones has seen an increase in the popularity of all Genuine Shell Cordovan styles, to the point that many of our cordovan loving customers regularly ask us to develop new styles using the material. Unfortunately as with all specialist leathers, the supply of cordovan is restricted due to the lengthy tanning process involved in the production of the material and the availability of the raw material itself.
Cordovan is not a material that suits all, but for those that enjoy its benefits, it is a must have. Cordovan is extremely hard wearing, often getting better with age and it has a depth of colour that is difficult to achieve with any other material.
REMOVE THE DUST & DIRT
Brush your shoes to remove dirt and dust. (You should have a brush specifically for this job, do not use your horsehair polishing brush).
If brushing your shoes does not remove all of the dirt, you can use a damp cloth (do not use any soap or solvent based fluid) to clean away the areas.
Make sure you leave the shoes to dry naturally; you must not dry your shoes on a radiator or heater.
For very stubborn stains, you can use a light mixture of detergent and water.
Once dry, spread a small amount of Cordovan Cream evenly over the shoes with a cotton cloth or an applicator brush and leave to rest (dry) for a moment, 5 minutes per shoes. Usually the time it takes to cover the other shoe is an adequate time period. This process can be repeated multiple times depending on the condition of the shoes.
Each time, a little more Cordovan Cream will remain on the Cordovan to nourish it thoroughly. It is important to do this in stages if you wish to repeat. Do not cover your shoes with too much product with one heavy application.
After the cream has had the chance to settle into the Cordovan, brush the shoes all over with a back-and-forth motion, using a fine/soft horsehair brush.
Brushing should have removed most of the cream and evened up the colouration of the shoes once again. If it has not, repeat step 2 with another application of Cordovan Cream.
To add an extra layer of protection and to give your cordovan shoes an extra lift, you can also use a hard wax polish. Unlike calf, you don’t need to use too much wax. By alternating the wax applications with a little water, you will really begin to build up a lustre to the Cordovan. Taking your time with this extra process, you will see the true nature of Cordovan shine through (pun intended!).
Buffing the shoes with a cotton cloth for a final shine/buff, removes the tiny brush marks from the previous stage. (Try not to buff the shoes too hard as this causes friction and Shell Cordovan does not react well to excessive heat due to its vegetable tanning).
Before you get started
A FEW ADDITIONAL TIPS...
USE SHOE TREES - Using wooden shoe trees will help to absorb moisture and maintain the shape of the shoes as they dry out. Using a shoe horn prevents damage to the heels, counter and top line.
FAT LIQUORS - A common question we receive about our shell cordovan styles is the appearance of a white substance appearing on the material after wear. This is some of the liquors coming out of the material during flexing and wear. The substance can easily be cleaned off with a cloth or damp cloth (water only).
DEER BONE - An additional step, is the use of a smooth deer bone to remove any damages, flatten any dimples or scratches that may have occurred during wear. Applying gentle, circular pressure with a deer bone can encourage the natural fat liquors back to the surface and help to flatten out the upper layer of the Cordovan. This is also a proven method of bringing a shine back to your Cordovan shoes after wear. (Deer bones are not yet available from Crockett & Jones).
WAX CRAYON - During the manufacturing process, we ink stain and wax set the sole edges to increase water resistance. As one can imagine, soles take the most abuse during wear, coming into contact with hard surfaces regularly. At home, you can use a hard wax crayon to apply a similar colour wax to the edges where any raw fibres from the leather welt or sole are visible or where the factory wax has been damaged through wear.