Color 8

Shell cordovan: We all love it. Every Alden fan out there is either saving up for their first pair, or saving up for another pair.

It’s the horse’s ass and there is no leather on this planet that we’d rather have wrapped around our feet. Pages have been written (and probably will be again) about the virtues of this phenomenal material.

In today’s Alden scene it’s no secret that the more elusive a color is, the more desirable it can become. Cigar, Whiskey, Ravello, and even the extinct Mahogany and the almost non-existent Color 4 are all beautiful in their own unique ways and their popularity is only amplified by their scarcity. The shells required to produce these rarer colors must be so perfect that only a very small percentage are deemed worthy by Horween, the Chicago tannery that supplies all of Alden’s shell cordovan. The dyes used in Black and Color 8 can cover up the minor imperfections that are usually present in the surface of the shell which is why Black and Color 8 make up the vast majority of shoes produced.

As common as it is, Burgundy or Color 8, is often left under-appreciated. Color 8 is virtually synonymous with Cordovan. In fact, the word “cordovan” is often incorrectly used to describe the color burgundy. The color has stood the test of time as one of the most versatile elements in a footwear collection. Color 8 can be worn almost year-round with everything from chinos to jeans, from navy suits to tweed slacks. It just works.

In my opinion, the best feature of Color 8 is the way it ages. With time, sunlight, maintenance, and wear, Color 8 first brightens up to a rich red and then fades beautifully to a warm, mellow brown. Red dyes are usually the first to go when exposed to UV light and in this case, the color neutralizes, revealing the tan leather underneath. Not only does the dye lighten, it lightens unevenly, giving way to the natural imperfections in the shell and even splotches and strokes from the application of the dyes. These highs and lows give an added depth to the shoes that would be impossible to replicate by hand and no two pairs – in fact, no two shoes – are alike.

Courtesy ds23pallas

Boots courtesy of Amlai

Loafers courtesy of Orgetorix

Courtesy Tom Rath

Photo Tommy Ton

Courtesy Jasonfoote303

Shoes courtesy of Erik

Longwings courtesy Srivats

Photo Makewayhomer

Courtesy Nick Horween


About TheAgatineEyelet

Obsessed with Alden
This entry was posted in Aged to Perfection, It's in the Details. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Color 8

  1. Ryan says:

    wow, great post. just wanted to comment and say this blog is awesome. keep it up, it’s a good read. thanks for sharing.

  2. The Colony says:

    Great stuff, keep it up!

  3. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Alden Color 8

  4. Eric says:

    In the photo by Tom Rath, does anyone know the specs for the middle pair of wing tips with the metal eyelets? What store they might have come from? The last? Probable size and width? Many thanks!

  5. Arrow says:

    Great blog Sir J! keep it coming…
    I agree with Shell #8 being overshadowed by its Ravello, Cigar, etc. cousins.
    I find myself wearing my LS Jumper Boots #8 more often than the other shades.
    Its good with black pants, duck cloth and jeans. Wear Ravello when you want to get some random stares, Cigar when you want some downtempo but Shell #8 is when your
    ready to party after work.

  6. max says:

    The tommy ton pics dont look like #8, are you sure?

    • I didn’t take the picture but I’m pretty sure. I think those photos were taken in the Alden sample room and if so, I held the middle pair in my own hands last week when I was there. Color 8 looks different in different photos and angles, depending on how the light hits it. And those are older shoes. Color 8 looks very different when it’s brand new.

  7. Thor says:

    Great article…and blog….(you didn’t say much about your Alden factory visit??)

    I have a pair of #8 Indys…and am purposely exposing them to sun to accelerate the patina a bit…I have yet to polish them with any paste. When I do so will that reverse the patina – or at least cover it up? Or will it just put a shine on the patina as is?


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