Why are my leather shoes creasing? (Part I)
“Why are there creases on my leather shoes?”
“My leather has creases, they are of poor quality”
“I’ve only worn my shoes for a short period of time and there are already noticeable crease marks on it, are they defective?”
These are some common questions with regards to all leather shoes. Are creases on leather shoes a fair indicator of their quality? The short answer: No.
When it comes to creases on leather, no shoes are spared. Regardless of their quality, all leather shoes will have creases and will become more noticeable after several wears.
Creasing of the leather has many different reasons as well. One main reason could be the way the person walks. Having exactly the same shoe in the same size with two different people wearing it might result in the creasing being completely different. One could have regular non-prominent creases while the other could have tons of it.
Creases are part and parcel of owning and wearing your favorite pair of leather shoes. While there is no way to prevent such creases from forming, there are several methods that can help maintain the leather, reducing the number of creases and hence minimizing the prominence of such wrinkles. This will be explored further in part II of our article.
While all leather shoes are prone to creases, some are more susceptible than others. When this occurs, it’s often difficult, if not impossible, to flex it back into its original position. For example, a whole-cut oxford is more likely to crease than full/semi cap toe brogues. This is arguably the most important reason to the number of creases forming on your shoes. The reason for the number of creases is due to how the shoes are made. Plain toe and whole cut oxfords are made using lesser pieces of leather as compared to full/semi brogues, which usually consists of up to 5 pieces of leather stitched together. The more pieces of leather used, the lesser the number of creases due to the tension and the weight being better distributed across the different pieces of leather. This doesn’t mean that whole cut oxfords are of an inferior quality to brogues, the one-piece canvas just makes the shoe more vulnerable to prominent creasing.
From the inner lining to the exterior piece, all our shoes and belts at Earnest & Collective are made only using full grain calf leather. There are no pig skin linings nor any other exotic/inferior types of leather being used, which could potentially compromise the durability and quality of our products.
Leather with the entire grain intact is called full grain leather, the highest quality grade of leather money can buy. Full grain leather, even though it may have blemishes, is more expensive and more sought-after than top grain leather because of its durability and longevity. Full grain leather is extremely strong and durable, as the natural grain contains the strongest fibers in the hide. It comes from the top layer of the hide and includes all of the natural grain, with no sanding processes being applied to its surface. It is more expensive for manufacturers to buy and more difficult for them to work with. This is usually reflected in the cost to the consumer, with full grain leather shoes usually costing a premium over other kinds of leather.
Due to the tightness of the grain, the leather resists moisture very well. Also, as full grain leather ages, it burnishes and beautifies to develop a unique character and a pleasant patina, one that cannot be easily duplicated.
The cheaper alternative to full grain leather is top grain leather, albeit at a lower quality. Top grain leather, the second highest grade of leather, is similar to full-grain leather, except that the top couple millimeters have been sanded and buffed to take away imperfections. Top grain leather has the outermost layer of the hide removed, making the leather thinner and more workable for manufacturers. However, by sanding off the natural grain, they’ve sanded off the strongest fibers in the hide.
While this artificial process might result in a more consistent looking leather with less blemishes, it is not nearly as durable as full grain leather and tends to break down much faster. This results in the durability of the shoes being compromised severely as shoes made with top grain leather will not last as long nor as well as full grain leather. While using top-grain leather would significantly reduce the cost prices of our shoes, we believe in providing only the highest quality that will be durable and long lasting. While top grain leather can still be good leather, its strength and durability is not nearly as good as the full-grain leather.
If you’re comparing full grain leather vs top grain leather, they can both be good options, depending on what’s important to you. Top grain is typically less expensive than full grain leather and even offers greater stain resistance if the finish remains unbroken. But if you’re looking for leather that can last a lifetime – and look good doing it – then full grain leather is the way to go. The unique patina developed over time with the full-grain leather coupled with the durability and moisture-resistant makes it a more value for money option, allowing your shoes to last for a longer period of time.