Shell Stows

I had my doubts initially – Tricker’s Stows made out of shell?

Seemed a little left field, but these shell cordovan Stows were cheaper than even their regular calf leather counterparts, so I really had no, um, choice.

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Tricker’s get some very interesting shell colours from Argentina, but they do use more conservatively coloured pieces from Horween too.

This one is the mahogany from Horween, and I rather like the way it turned out!

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Probably my second most favourite shell colour that Tricker’s offer – my first pick is “iris”.


7 thoughts on “Shell Stows

  1. These stows are awesome. I’m curious though, where did you pick these up made with Horween Shell Cordovan? To the best of my knowledge Tricker’s gave up their Horween quota a long while ago and do not and will not make shoes with the Horween material (I’ve just had a pair of Cordovan Tricker’s made myself and had to go for Mogano – the closest I could find to match Color 8).

    Again, to the best of my knowledge, Tricker’s only use Cordovan from Italian manufacturer Comipel. These look like Horween’s Color 8 Cordovan though…

    Anyway, great shoes and great blog. Enjoying following it.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks mate!

      These were from Tricker’s factory shop with accidently stained welts which I have since repaired.
      The factory told they now use Horween for most colours, but do source elsewhere for more ‘exotic’ colours – they assured me the mogano is from Horween.


      1. Hey Mike. I’m 99% sure Tricker’s do not use Horween at all anymore. My source of information comes from the UK’s largest supplier of M.T.O Tricker’s and a second source who carry one of the most extensive ranges of M.T.O line (many in Cordovan).

        I can confirm Mogano is a Comipel colour and as far as I know Horween do not produce a colour called ‘Mogano’. I’m sure Alden would use it, but it does not appear on their website’s Cordovan choices.

        Comipel have a far more extensive colour range than Horween.

        As far as I know Horween’s colours are limited to this…

        I have a pair in Comipel’s Mogano myself:

        I’d love to find out I’m wrong because it would probably mean my own are made from Horween, but as I say I’m positive it’s Comipel.

        By the way if you have any further information about Cordovan that you think I’ve missed off that list I’d love to add your findings to it if you’d like to Contribute.



      2. Hi Chris,

        Thanks for the links, and yes, I have heard from Richard before that Tricker’s shell cordovan are from Italy.
        It would make sense, as the majority of their calf leather is from Italy also.
        My information comes from an exchange of e-mails with Tricker’s in November 2011 (David at the factory shop), in which he confirmed the origin of the mogano shell on my pair and the fact that they mostly use Horween’s hides.
        Though I’m not ruling out that he may simply be mistaken, I don’t see why he might intentionally withhold the truth as I had already bought the shell Stow’s before the e-mail exchange.

        I have no way of differentiating the origin of shell cordovan myself as I lack suitable microscopy equipment and the temper/grain of different shell pieces vary from hide to hide, and batch to batch.
        What I do know is that Horween can do custom shell cordovan colours and even textures (e.g. pebble grain), and some manufacturers buy “blank” shells from Horween and dye it in-house.
        Though I don’t know whether Tricker’s does so.

        The best way to get to the bottom of this is perhaps to send the Tricker’s factory folk an e-mail seeking clarification… do let me know if you find a definitive answer.

        Btw, spewing is quite a common phenomenon when vegetable tanned horsehide is exposed to oils.

        There are also Japanese, French and Argentinian producers of shell cordovan if you’re inclined to check out the different makes 🙂

        Also, what I think is causing the “directional” effect that Richard talked about is the relatively uniform and linear fibre orientation along the surface of the shell cordovan; not 100% sure though.


  2. Wow!

    I wonder if mine are Horween then? I’m going to go to Tricker’s to check out the swatches and quiz them about it.

    Your Mogano definitely looks redder than the Mogano on my own boots. It looks richer, darker and redder.

    I’m humbled by your superior knowledge Sir!

    P.S. Is there any defining way you can tell Horsehide Chromexcel apart from Calfskin Chromexcel?

    1. Haha, I wouldn’t call it superior knowledge 😛
      I’m just a little bit more interested in leather goods for the leathers sake than most people…

      Yes, please kindly let me know what Tricker’s has to say.

      Re: horsehide CXL, it is initially more difficult to tell apart from cattlehide CXL as the surface coating/finishing can often mask the grain structure.
      Indeed, even amongst horsehide CXL there are subdivisions between re-tanned and chrome tanned varieties.
      Once the leather has seen some wear though, it is easy to tell – vegetable tanned horsehide has a very unique “triangle” grain.

      This topic will certainly get more fascinating as Horween is releasing cattlehide that is tanned in a similar way to shell cordovan.
      I reckon we’ll see more and more of this cow shell very soon!


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