The cordovan is the precious leather of the horse that is generally used in order to obtain unmistakable shoes because of their color, brightness and strength.
The name “cordovan” derives from the spanish city of Còrdoba even if the most important production is american.
Horween is the most famous tannery in the US – Illinois- and it’s known for the manufacture of cordovan: thanks to old techniques they can obtain up to 3 pairs of shoes with just one horse hind leg.
Generally the horse leather is bordeaux but it’s not difficult to find darker or lighter variants. It’s easy to recognize the cordovan, first of all because of the color, but also thanks to its typical brightness: this is because of the special tanning and because of the fatty cream that gives the leather the bright color and the famous strength. Also after years and years of usage.
Cordovan shoes arrived in Europe very late, just at the beginning of the XX century, but the more classical english or italian shoes were always preferred especially for formal occasions.
Just at the beginning of 1980 cordovan shoes began to be popular in Italy thanks to the american brand Alden: they became the symbol of a new more relaxed elegance.
This kind of shoe is used for formal looks in the US while here in Europe the english one still remains the elegant one.