The world of dress shoes has a strict hierarchy of traditional styles. Brands operate within the styles of oxfords, derbies, brogues and bluchers to create tasteful footwear for the elevated wardrobe. Though the styles are clearly defined, brands have more creative freedom when it comes to leather choices. Traditionally, full-grain calf-skin is the gold-standard, but brands offer numerous other materials for those looking to change it up. Another high-end option is shell cordovan, made from the hind-quarters of a horse. Those wanting more texture can find dress shoes in suede (utilizing the flesh-side of the leather) and pebble-grain leather. Though not as prevalent as other types of leather, pebble-grain leather lends a distinct texture to your outfit.
A type of corrected-grain leather, it is produced at a tannery by either embossing with a pressing plate or roller under high pressure. Because of the intensive finishing process, pebble-grain leather is typically more weather-resistant than other leathers. From a sustainability standpoint, the embossing hides slight imperfections in older calfskin such as stretch marks or blemishes, ensuring more of the hide can be used. The additional texture needs slightly different care than traditional leathers, and you should use a light polish to prevent wax buildup in the leather grooves. Considered less formal than smooth calfskin, pebble-grain leather is often found in classic English dress shoes.
If you’d like to introduce this unique appearance into your footwear rotation, consider a pair of Long Wingtips from Brooks Brothers. Made in the USA, they feature Goodyear welt construction and traditional broguing. They’re also 48 percent off and will only run you $224.
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