Although, for the most part, we have fairly mild weather in South Africa, our shoes still face some unpleasant weather. The intense winter cold, rain, and storms, and the piercing summer sun will cause some wear and tear on your precious leather shoes. This post will be an educational guide as to what type of leather you should be buying to best suit your needs and how to distinguish the difference between good and bad quality leather (yes, bad quality leather does exist!).
If you’re looking for a long, hard-wearing leather, the general rule is ‘the thicker the better’. The thickness of leather can be measured by putting your fingers on either side of the leather (one finger on the inside, and one finger on the outside of the shoe). This will give you a good idea of the longevity of the leather.
It also makes a huge difference if the shoe is made of leather on the inside AND the outside. Most leather shoes that you find in the shops are ‘leather coated’, and are lined with faux leather on the inside, with some sort of cushioning in between. The best way to describe ‘coated leather’ would be to gold-plated jewellery – the shoe is coated with a very thin layer of leather, much in the same way that the jewellery is coated with a thin layer of gold, which rubs off over time. In the same way, the leather will gradually rub and peel off. If you are purchasing one of our shoes as an investment and normally do not depend on this kind of money, rather go for a stiffer, thicker leather as it will last you and have that ‘new’ look for longer.
Although thick leathers are more hard-wearing, they also, for the most part, require some wearing in. This is particularly true for Dr Martens shoes – the stiffer leathers last longer, but you may experience some discomfort in breaking them in and softening the leather to mould the shape of the shoe to your foot. For the people who do not want the discomfort of breaking shoes in, it is better to choose a softer, more supple leather. Most customers choose the softer leather option as it is more practical for everyday use and very comfortable to walk long hours in. If you are on your feet all day, this would be the best option for you.
The best quality leathers in the world are both thick AND supple, with beautiful rich colouring, but you will pay a good deal of money for shoes made from this leather, for example, our Bed: Stu collection (launching March 2017 – price range: R3499 – R4999).
Another great option for customers who prefer a softer leather would be to go for a suede finish. Suede is much softer than leather and has a ‘richer’ look. Many people have the misconception that suede scuffs easily and are very difficult to clean and maintain. For good quality suede, this is completely untrue, and it should wear just as well as any leather finish does. Suede has a softer look to leather and adds a feminine touch to any shoe. Much the same as leather, the thicker the suede, the better the quality and the longer it will last you.
If you have any other questions about leather, feel free to pop us an email or call us at one of our stores:) We hope you found this post informative!