The shoe industry has some amazing, passionate people. One of them is Pediwear of England, a small but popular family business selling shoes of the highest quality. In a small collaboration, I am elated to bring you this “Edward and James Review” from Pediwear’s in-house Brand. Specifically, we will take a look at the Rushton Boot in Luxurious Burgundy Shell Cordovan.
As usual, we will be covering everything such as quality, construction and comfort. You will also learn a bit more about the wonderful people behind Pediwear.
I suggest you grab some coffee and hide your wallets, because this is an absolutely stunning experience. Please use the Table of Contents for easier navigation, but take a moment and read through their history. It’s worth it.
Still with me? Let’s get this party started!
Who Is Pediwear?
So, if you are new to the world of quality shoes you need to know about Pediwear. A small, family business from Halifax in the UK that sells high quality shoes since 1976. It is about the same time when my late grandfather started his own business so I have a special connection to this.
Now, the second generation is leading the charge and with this attitude, zealot and workrate their future is secured. And how could it not be, when there is such a vast quantity of options to choose from? From Carmina to Crockett & Jones, Carlos Santos, Barker and Tricker’s to name a few, you can find some of the best shoes out there. This ensure that there is something for every budget.
Additionally, Pediwear has tons of available accessories like belts, ties, wallets and even hats. A true gentleman’s paradise.
Remarkably, they also often give free shoe trees on many non-sale items and have a price pledge which shows their commitment. One thing that retains customers however and fosters a strong bond between them is the customer service. You will read more about it later, but the people that work there are friendly, professional and truly have this family vibe.
The Edward And James Line
You don’t just wake up one day and decide to sell shoes. You need knowledge and to have a genuine interest in them. All this involvement has led Pediwear to creating their own in-house Brand in collaboration with some iconic English shoemakers. There are 5 main lines in 3 different price segments developed in factories in India, Spain and the UK.
- Professional Range: A small collection of welted shoes in classic styles. Made in India
- Country Range: Casual country styles from the UK with a little help from Barker Shoes
- Contemporary Range: Made in Spain and similar to the professional range but with more styles
- Principal Range: Developed with Brands like Joseph Cheaney, a higher quality line
- Cordovan Range: The crème de la crème, made from the best equine leathers in 6 styles
The Rushton Boot that we are reviewing today is part of the exclusive Edward and James Cordovan Range. However, with a basic, classic Goodyear Welted shoe costing less than $150 you have no excuse when you need a decent starting shoe.
If you do not know what Shell Cordovan is, you must be rather new to the world of good shoes. These days people make shoes from anything they can skin. Stingrays, capybaras, hippos and other exotic skins which cost an arm and a leg.
The most popular quality leather is calfskin and suede, usually sourced from young calves. Shell Cordovan sits somewhere in the middle and in most cases will cost you just your arm.
It is the holy grail of leathers and a status symbol for shoe aficionados. In fact, it is not really leather. It is a very rare type of membrane that comes from the rump of a horse. Highly fibrous, water and creasing resistant, Shell Cordovan will last for decades and age wonderfully. You need a approximately 1.5 hides for a pair of shoes and tanning takes at least 6 months. To make it more complicated, it is very hard to dye and you often find it in a handful of colors.
There are different tanneries around the world but the most famous of them all is Horween from Chicago. Pediwear’s Shell however comes from an English tannery, which is a welcome test and a great chance for comparison.
When you gain a bit more experience, you will learn to recognize Shell Cordovan in a heartbeat. It has this beautiful, lustrous and luxurious feeling and so much character. Do you feel as excited as I am while typing this?
Currently there are 6 different options in the Cordovan Range. A long-wing, a wing tip brogue, a loafer and three boots. The Rushton and Harrington are made by Joseph Cheaney, a Brand included in our Best Shoes List. The Lambourn on the other hand is made by Barker shoemakers. All of the models are made exclusively for Pediwear of England. Burgundy is an iconic Shell Cordovan color and my reasoning behind choosing the Rushton.
- Brand: Edward and James
- Style: Lace Up Boots
- Name: Rushton
- Product Code: 9402
- Color: Burgundy
- Construction: Goodyear Welt System
- Welt: 360°
- Made In: The UK
- Made By: Joseph Cheaney
- Size: UK 7/US 7.5/EU 41
- Last: 103 F
- Width: F Regular
- Eyelets: 6 Blind Eyelets and 4 Speed Hooks
- Sole: Dainite Rubber
- Leather: Shell Cordovan
- Tannery: Clayton & Sons, Chesterfield UK
- Price: £690.00/$900/€799/SEK 8330 incl. VAT
It is finally time to delve in the core of the Edward and James Rushton Review which is the boots themselves!
When you pay $900 for a pair of shoes, you subconsciously want everything to be high quality. That of course, includes a luxury unboxing experience and feeling. I remember getting the reminder to pick up my parcel from the post and how your heart skips a beat while you are opening.
The Edward and James Rushton comes in a beautiful hunter green box with the Brand logo and crest on top. On the sides you will find a few quick additional information such as the model, size and color. A thing worth mentioning is that these are handwritten! The box makes a good impression since it breaks from your classic black and blue boxes and also because green is my favorite color. It is very robust and has a texture feel to it with a pattern resembling birds-eye.
As soon as you open the cap, a strong, overwhelming smell of leather spreads. Smell is generally an indication of true leather. Inside there is a wealth of utilities and extras. Apart from the protective paper and foam you will find:
- 1 Red Shoe Horn: feels very resilient
- 1 Pediwear Handmade Wax Polish: neutral color and a very nice addition
- An Edward and James Leaflet: all the information you need on fitting, returns and history
- A Quality Check Card: thank you Sherriden so much for checking my shoes!
- 2 Big Black Dust Bags: really spacious from what looks to be flannel
- A Joseph Cheaney Leaflet: extra information is always welcome
It is very obvious that this is a very high quality pair of shoes. It has been one of my best unboxing experiences. We need to track down this beautiful smell however underneath these goodies. Shall we?
First Impressions (Matter)
Straight out of the box you notice how gorgeous the Rushton is. It comes with a traditional high shine and honestly, my first impression was that it was black, not burgundy.
A quick examination of the stitching, sole, laces and lining is very positive and the craftsmanship looks wonderful. Joseph Cheaney has a long storied history and this Boot is clearly made from their Imperial Collection standards. The lining has a nice orange tan color that creates a stark contrast.
The Design – Quintessentially British
The Edward and James Rushton is a derby lace-up boot. Think of a cap-toe derby shoe with an extended shaft. It is based on the 103 last by Cheaney, but there is no information online about it. It reminds me of their 146 last and my thought were that it is a custom modified version for Pediwear.
Looking at the shape it has a classic British feeling to it, with a round, subtle almond toe. The waist is beveled and the welt is full 360 degrees. I will try to take a look at each area individually.
1. The Cap-Toe
Starting with the Cap-Toe, it has double stitching on the uppers and a very solid feel to it. A close look reveals one of the wonders of Shell Cordovan. There are no pores, since it is a fibrous membrane. The stitching is uniform without any wrongdoings and 6 SPI (Stitches Per Inch).
2. Uppers & Shaft
The facing of the Rushton has the same hockey stick shape like the Carlos Santos 8866 with the exception that it continues down to the base of the shoe. Stitching is once more double in the main part of the boot but changes to single towards the laces.
The backseam is also straight and a little patch of leather extends on the top of the shaft to pull and put them on.
3. Laces & Eyelets
I really like the blend of blind eyelets and brass speed hooks. The 6 blind eyelets give a cleaner look under your pants but the brass hooks have a vintage, rugged look to them.
They work pretty good thanks to the thin but strong laces in the color of the boots.
4. Lining & Insole
I love the orange tan lining. It works so well with the rest of the boot. On the sides one can read the style and size of the boot (again handwritten) while the leather insole has the Edward and James name and an embossed crest by Cheaney.
5. Dainite Sole
We have talked many times about rubber soles. They are fantastic for rougher terrain and when you need more grip. A boot in general is a less dressy shoe so a rubber sole makes sense. You can clearly see the outer-sole, the mid-sole and the welt which runs all around the shoe. Very well executed and long lasting.
How Is The Quality & Construction?
The Edward and James Rushton sets expectations high but does not fail to deliver. The Shell Cordovan is sources from an English Tannery which is very interesting. I had a chance to compare the feeling and look with a Horween Cordovan pair and it was indistinguishable. Initially at least, as the true test comes with age.
Stitching is what you would expect from $900 shoes. Impeccable on the soles, the welt, the uppers and even the inside. Very consistent, but I did notice a very interesting part with tiny threads that looks like the end of the welt. Additionally, the heel is reinforced with 8 nails deep inside.
The laces are robust and hard wearing just like the sole. No matter how much I try to describe Shell Cordovan it is hard to convey to you how shiny and smooth it is compared to calfskin. Shell does not crease, instead it ripples and is so durable.
The color is a very interesting topic. While described as burgundy, depending on the light it looks more like a very dark chocolate brown to me. However, when you look close it has a very vivid, rich burgundy “reddish” hue. Extremely pleasant to the eye and don’t get me started about the smell.
The smell is extremely evocative and strong. It reminds me of being one of these people that go to gas stations and love the smell of gasoline.
A grade you ask? I really have to nitpick here. One loose tiny thread on the sole and possibly an inch of extra shoelace length? I will still give this a 9.5/10. It is excellent and should be.
Fit – How Do I Choose A Size?
Nobody wants a pair of shoes that don’t fit well and many are afraid to order online for the first time. Judging by the shape of the last and the regular F fitting, I would say these are TTS (True To Size). All of my boots and dress shoes are UK 7 and this was not different. Remember to size down at least half a size from your regular US size or contact Pediwear for advice.
Sizing is currently the Achilles heel in my opinion of the Edward and James Rushton. Sizes run from 7 to 10 including half sizes. This means that if you have a bigger foot or are a smaller man you will not find a pair. I can understand it though, as this is a limited production luxury boot and it comes on the most popular sizes.
Luckily for me, UK 7 once more fits like a glove. Check out Pediwear’s very helpful sizing guide for more info.
Fantastic! Are They Comfortable?
Ah, the million dollar question. It is impossible to say for sure until I do some real mileage but here are my initial thoughts. The first thing you will notice is that they are a little tough to put on. You have to really open up the laces and the tongue.
After that though the leather hugs your feet like a blanket. The rounder shape allows for a more comfortable fit which is always good for wider feet. In general it fits snug but comfortable with just enough toe space and no heel slip.
I would say the instep is a little generous but for me the biggest challenge is usually the edge of my feet sole. More specifically, after prolonged use I get some minor discomfort with dress shoes in that area (Lateral Plantar Nerve for you nerds). Luckily, the insole seems soft enough to act as a cushion here.
Of course, I will continuously monitor the situation and update with new findings. I expect no significant break-in period and I must say I am quite lucky recently with this. Grading would be probably be a 9/10 with half a point reserved for future updates and another half for the slight difficulty putting them on.
But They Cost So Much!
Take a breather and think about it for a second. If you are looking into Shell Cordovan Shoes you are either new, curious or a seasoned veteran. If you are the former, the price will not make any sense and it should not. In an attempt to further explain this I will break it down to two categories.
Who Is it Not For
The Rushton (and Shell Shoes in general) is not for students or anyone that takes a look and says “why would I spend so much on shoes”. You should also never buy items you cannot afford and I would suggest entering the quality shoe world with an entry level brand.
There is also a love/hate relationship with Shell. You either love it or not. Some people do not like the high shine or maybe refuse to buy something made from a majestic animal like a horse.
Who Is It For
Gather a few shoe enthusiasts in a room and suddenly tell them you have a pair of new Shell Cordovan Shoes. Their attention is yours, just like your dog pricks his ears up when intrigued. People that are perfectionists, enthusiasts and true connoisseurs and understand the long hard process Shell Cordovan goes through to end up as a pair of shoes. It is also for those that have already a base collection and a decent budget to invest in taking it to the next level.
Pricing & Value
The Edward and James Rushton Boot is very expensive, but also cheaper (in Europe) than the average Shell Boot from companies like Alden or Carmina. You do get a fantastic boot with meticulous attention to details and a hard-wearing leather that can stand the test of time with proper care.
Update 6/6/2019: After a very helpful comment from fellow shoe enthusiast Harris I did more research on the competitor prices. Carmina and Alden in Europe are 10-20% more expensive, while Alden and Allen Edmonds in the US are a little cheaper.
Whether if you are new to Shell Cordovan or want to expand your collection, it is a stunning, fantastic piece of art. I think you will not regret shelling (pun intended) $900 for these and will receive loads of compliments and looks.
Taking Care Of Your Shell Shoes
Generally, you should probably only use a good brush to clean these. If you have to polish you can either use the appropriate Cordovan specific items or even try Pediwear’s own beeswax.
One very important thing to note is to always use cedar shoe trees. These will keep the shape of your shoes and absorb moisture, prolonging their life greatly.
There is also a special deer femur bone that contain oils that will restore color uniformity and smooth creases.
This slowly brings us to the end of the “Edward and James Review” of the Rushton Boot from Pediwear of England. It is my first experience of owning a Shell Cordovan shoe and I must admit I am impressed. You can feel the love and craftsmanship that has gone into creating this. Comfortable, stunning to look at with an evocative smell and impeccable stitching, I can only recommend this to anyone looking to take the plunge.
A boot I would be happy to pass down to my son in 20 years time.
Before closing, I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the Pediwear Family for trusting me with such an item. Especially Mike (owner) that took the final decision, Nathan (customer service) that was a pleasure to communicate with and of course all the unsung heroes behind the scenes. Anita, for taking care of my Santos Shoes and Sherriden for quality checking these. Lastly, I feel Joseph Cheaney deserves credit for making such a high quality shoe. It has been a pleasure working with a small family business.
Wow, what a thrilling ride this has been! Are you as excited as I was while writing this? Are you thinking of buying Shell Cordovan shoes or even got the Rushton? Write your comments down below and don’t forget to subscribe for more awesome content! See you next week with more amazing shoes!
Thank you for reading,