What to look for when buying leather shoes

April 2016 Newsletter

What’s new

Custom handmade leather phone and tablet caseLeather notebook cover, custom made
In addition to custom shoes and belts, we are now offering bespoke leather bags, dossiers, phone covers and custom accessories designed to meet each client’s requirements. Choose your own colours, leather and design. New creations will be posted on our Facebook page over the coming months or visit us at our North Sydney studio store.

From the Cobbler

shoe polish, wax, oil, clean, lacesHeading into colder months, give your shoes and boots a thorough clean and condition, finished with a good wax based polish. Leather is like skin and dries out over time. All existing polish should be removed with a stripping agent. Visit your local cobbler or come by the Bespokes store as we stock some of the best leather care products including Saphir and Leatherique. We offer full clean and condition service from $40 for shoes and $65 for bags.

What to look for when buying leather shoes

Two-tone tan lace-up custom made men's shoeThe proverbial ‘you get what you pay for’ absolutely applies to shoes. Avoid the high-shine, stiff leathers as they are usually not full-grain leather but split leather with an artificial finish applied on top. Full grain and top grain (often referred to as genuine leather) means it is the top layer of the skin so it has more stretch and flexibility and will age well with care. It is generally stronger and does not tear and deteriorate as quickly as the artificially finished split leather.

As a general rule, if the surface is blemish free with no variation in pattern but the price is below $400 (not on sale) then you are probably not buying full/top grain leather shoes. A country of manufacture stamp is also no guarantee you are buying a quality item.

buying leather boots and shoesChoose soles fit for the purpose. Leather soles are not always ideal and lower priced shoes are usually made with leatherboard that deteriorates very quickly. If you want shoes to last, they need to be able to be repaired so choose those with soles that can be pulled apart from the upper. Avoid the soles which have the heel and sole as one, for example, most comfort style shoes, and those soles that ‘cup’ the upper of the shoe.

Do not buy shoes that do not fit well as you may not be able to stretch them to fit. Cobblers do provide a shoe stretch service but cannot guarantee that it will work as many shoes are reinforced to stop them from stretching, the leather may be too firm, or the seams may tear.

Finally, avoid fabric lining for shoes you want to wear frequently as it is difficult to clean, will not mould to the foot and will tear faster than leather.


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