I went over the Pistolsmith thread and there, someone talked about Arden shoes, which I believe should be Alden shoes.
I have a couple of dress pairs circa 1985 of shell cordovan from John Alden Shoe Company and I can honestly say that that the leather, tho this day, is in top condition and is beautiful to look at and wear.
Here's a bried summary from Alden's page:
"Using the centuries-old method of pure vegetable tannage and hand finishing, the single tannery still producing genuine shell cordovan today is indeed practicing a rare art. The tanning process takes a full six months to complete and produces leather that is soft and supple, yet very durable. Alden's classic patterns take on a unique character when made from genuine shell cordovan.
By virtue of their long experience, Alden stands as the acknowledged master in working and finishing this special leather into extraordinary footwear. The crafting of shoes from shell cordovan recalls, indeed depends on, shoemaking of the old school. The special qualities of the leather are elusive, unresponsive to high volume production methods. Cordovan demands the measured pace of hand shoemaking and patient finishing, responding to such careful work with unmatched luster.
Over time, the patina in Alden's genuine shell cordovan shoes will only improve, deepening with each polishing and showing to full advantage the especially rich character of the leather. As durable and comfortable to wear as they are beautiful to look at, genuine shell cordovan shoes truly are Alden's masterworks. "
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