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I don't know if this will help you, but I don't care for shell footwear, and consequently don't buy it. Two reasons:

1. On me they wear too warm and they don't "breath" well either.

2. I don't care for their characteristic creasing.
 

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Or a pair of AE first quality shoes. ;)
More like the current price for Allen Edmonds factory seconds in shell cordovan!

I was looking at some factory second shell AE Patriots. Last week they were $399.-,...Yesterday I found out they now cost $529.-. $529.- for factory seconds.

I had heard about a price increase but they lost me on this one,....

Good luck on the chukkas.
 

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I don't know if this will help you, but I don't care for shell footwear, and consequently don't buy it. Two reasons:

1. On me they wear too warm and they don't "breath" well either.

2. I don't care for their characteristic creasing.
The hate part of my love / hate relationship with shell isn't informed by these two points - though they are entirely valid from a subjective perspective.

My primary issue with shell is the ridiculous amount of maintenance required to keep them looking halfway decent if you wear them in rain and snow. Grain might require a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. Smooth calf might require the same followed by a light and quick application of polish or cream. But the ugly, waxy water spots and welts that can appear on weather-exposed shell can require and exhausting workout to remedy.

My dressiest pair of burgundy boots have barely seen the light of day this winter because the weather has been unusually harsh and the few bright and sunny days invariably bring with them a quantity of snow melt.
 

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I guess I've been a big fan of shell cordovan shoes for more than four decades at this point. I do miss the days when I could buy a new pair of shell cordovan's for well under $200 and indeed, not much over $100 and I will concede to brother Flanderain that they do wear more warmly than calf hide and over the past two years as a central Floridian, my beloved shell cordovans have been seeing a lot less wear time! However, I do wear them with sufficient frequency to maintain this apparent ongoing love affair with the horse's a**(s)! LOL. ;)
 

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Hype meaning how hard it is to find Alden cigar shell (multi-year waiting lists, limited supply, etc.).

I like Alden shoes, shell in particular, and have many, many pairs. I know a little some of the people at the factory. But they know what they are doing in terms of heightening demand by limiting supply.

Consider C&J. It uses Horween shell also, yet you can get any of its shell models anytime, in cigar and whiskey too. It supplies Ralph Lauren, which is a huge customer for cigar shell, with no problems. Alden, on the other hand ...
 

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Oh okay - well you hadn't specified Alden - and yes, the artificial rarity of anything other than color 8 is nothing more than marketing.

Other manufacturers don't seem to have a problem delivering Horween shell shoes and boots in a rainbow of shades.
 
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