Caiman: Summary

I couldn’t really think of a good name for this shoe, so I just dubbed it “Caiman”, after the main leather choice.

Caiman is an alligatorid animal, more closely related to alligators than to crocodiles (but indeed related to both). The caiman leather comes with a bony ossification in most of the scales, making it much harder to work with than for instance ‘regular’ alligator or crocodile leather.

I made these shoes for myself. I was very pleased to learn that the shoes are extremely comfortable overall, and that the caiman leather has performed very well on review. At the time of writing, I’ve used them for about 7 full days (though not in a row). These have been full hour days at the office, including 30 minute lunch walks. I had initially been worried about the ossification in the caiman leather potentially causing troubles pertaining to comfort or durability of the vamp, but have thus far not detected any such problems. (At least after 7+ days, they still look brand new aside from outsole wear.)

This post is a summary of the finished shoes – in the construction post, I describe how the shoes were made.

I posted about these shoes on my Instagram account and in various Facebook forums a while back, making this blog post a bit late. Oh well, here they are on my driveway. Note the detail of blue suede at the heel part of the lining.

A view of the waist from my lawn:

Toe and steam details:

I used Saphir Reptan to polish the caimain, and regular Saphir products (renovateur medaille d’or, creme 1925 pommadier, pate de luxe medaille d’or) to shine the boxcalf parts. I was pleased to see that the Reptan cream really did a good job of bringing luster to the caiman leather.

As can be read here, I had to replace the top lifts after making a bit of a blunder in construction. These are the finished, final top lifts:

From an angle, further showing the seamless boxcalf protruding over the heel stacks.

And another angle:


Uppers: Caiman from Italhide, contrasted with boxcalf from Ilcea tannery
Lining: 2 oz veg tanned baby calf in black
Insoles: J&FJ Baker buffed insole shoulder, 7-9 iron
Outsoles: Oak bark veg tanned outsoles from Tannerie Garat
Top lifts: Vintage J. Rendenbach (no longer available)
Toe/heel stiffeners: 5 oz from Tärnsjö Garveri
Welt: natural welting leather from Leather & Grindery
Shank: Plastic


  1. That Ilcea boxcalf is nice, but the Weinheimer you used on previous pairs was just incredible in its depth and lustre! Congratulations for using such a challenging exotic upper leather and pulling it off so nicely! These shoes are nearing bespoke-house quality, which given your self-taught background and limited time in the hobby should be a source of immense pride! Regards from Australia, Alexander


    • Thank you very much! That’s very nice to hear, and I do feel like there’s been constant progress. I agree about the leather – Weinheimer really is something else in depth and lustre! I didn’t use it on this pair since it’s rather difficult to work with too, and I figured the caiman leather was enough of a challenge for one pair. 😉 I’m actually finishing another pair in Weinheimer boxcalf just now, so stay tuned! 😊 Kind regards from Sweden


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