How will the leather of your shoes age?
A story of leather...
Ease creases and other marks on leather shoes are a concern for our customers and leather lovers in general. They raise a lot of questions about the ageing of leather, techniques to remove them, and many other issues.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not the problem of the manufacturer or the quality of the leather.
We will try to explain to you why leathers mark more or less depending on the case. The reasons may surprise you.
Reason n°1: Shoe size and shape not adapted to your foot!
This is the main and often the most common reason for our customers. The leather folds when you walk. If the space between your foot and the leather of your shoe is "big", then the folding will increase and a large crease will form.
Attention: the opposite is not the solution! A pair of shoes that is too small does not leave room for the leather to fold normally. Creases will appear in incongruous places such as on the sides. Simply where there is room.
Reason n°2: the quality of the leather
Seems to be the ideal culprit. However, the quality of the leather does not have a great influence on the quality of the leather, contrary to popular belief. Except in extreme cases such as leathers that have undergone accelerated tanning to save time or that come from a bad part of the hide.
We take advantage of this reason to take a break in the article and finally answer the preconceived ideas about the quality of leather. To understand what quality leather is, you need to know and be able to spot poor-quality leather. So let's answer the recurring question: "What is poor quality leather?
It is difficult to distinguish between good and bad leather with the naked eye. However, there are certain signs that can lead you to the right place. You have to know how to identify them.
Look at the leather, if the tanning can hide some defects some remain however visible. Before wearing your shoes, look for visible veins in the sole of your shoe. These veins are not good signs, they are often associated with lower-quality leather.
If cracks also appear on the leather, it means that it is not of good quality.
If the leather has a scratched rag appearance, it is usually not of good quality but attempts are made to pretend otherwise.
Caution: Some shoe manufacturers may want to "add" defects such as having crumpled leather to match the model of the shoe being imagined. In this case, it is marked, often too much, and therefore wanted. You can always ask the sellers if you are unsure.
Touch is also a good way to tell the difference. It is complicated to explain this sense but we will do our best. Quality leather will feel warm to your fingertips as opposed to the cold feel of coated leather.
A final way to discover good or bad leather is by smell. This is less obvious but quite effective. Although leather has a smell due to its origin, it should not smell like an animal.
As you have probably understood, recognizing quality leather is a matter of feeling. You now have all the keys to make the difference. Let's now go back to the reasons for creases.
Reason n°3: the pattern of your shoes
The pattern has a strong influence that we don't know about and perhaps the one that best explains the creases. It is the tension in the upper that causes the creases.
If the upper of your shoe is made up of several pieces of leather, then the tension is spread over several areas and therefore the creases will be more diffuse.
On the other hand, if the upper is made of one piece of leather, then the tension is more important and therefore the creases will be too. The tension will be manifested by a slight buckling that is invisible to the naked eye.
Reason n°4: the resting time of the stem
This is often overlooked but should not be underestimated. When assembling the shoe, the leather is placed on the last, stretched, and adjusted according to the model. So many constraints influence the leather, to which is added the time it takes to fit the last. This time allows the leather to adapt and tighten and avoid gaps. The rule is simple: the longer you wait, the fewer wrinkles there will be.
As you will have understood, if the leather of an upper is not sufficiently rested then there will be space between your foot and the upper. This space, as stated in reason #1, is the cause of marked comfort creases. Given the reasons outlined in this article, creases are inevitable and they are all different. It is therefore simply impossible to avoid them.
Knowing this recurring problem, our team has searched for the shoes with the best quality-price ratio taking into account the appearance of gussets. You can find our selection of city shoes, tested and approved by our team, to have a few creases when wearing.
Monsieur Chaussure's tip
Put shoe trees in your leather shoes as soon as you stop wearing them. They are essential for several reasons:
- to keep the original shape of your shoes
- to absorb moisture and perspiration
And above all, to stretch the leather.
It is this last reason that concerns us for this article. The main role of the shoe tree is to tighten the leather in the vamp area, i.e. the area where the folds are formed.
Taking care is key
You should also regularly maintain the leather with nourishing products such as Mr. Shoe's carnauba oil-based polishing cream. During this step, massage the area with the folds horizontally to reduce them.
In order to maintain your leather properly, we have drawn up a waxing lesson in collaboration with our workshop manager. You can find it on our website.