Why are my leather shoes creasing? (Part II)
How do I minimise creases?
While you can’t completely prevent your leather shoes from creasing, there are several tips and tricks to reduce and alleviate the creases forming on your shoes.
- Use a shoe horn when wearing your shoes
- Apart from walking, the act of wearing your shoes actually causes creases to form unnecessarily. The stress on the leather damages it, hence causing creases to form. The shoe horn is a simple tool used to assist you in putting on your shoes without causing too much strain on your shoes, providing a smooth surface for you to slide your foot in. Using a shoe horn while putting on your shoes helps prevent wear-and-tear damage to the shoe’s heel counter. Alleviating the stress on the shoe’s heel prevents damage to the leather, hence preventing creases especially to the rear.
- Using a shoe tree to maintain the shoe’s structure and interior
- Cedar shoe trees are wonderful tools which helps to maintain the quality of your shoes. When you’re not wearing them, you should always store your leather dress shoes with cedar shoe trees inside. Cedar shoe trees help absorb moisture and odour left in the shoe after wearing. They also maintain the structure of the shoe and keep its shape, as well as stretch out the leather creases, reducing the extent of it. Shoe trees protect your shoes from other structural changes and additional creases when not in use. This maintains both the leather’s exterior and interior, preventing further creases from forming and also helps preserve the original shape of the shoes. Cedar shoe trees are a small price to pay to maintain and protect your favorite leather dress shoes.
- Periodic cleaning and polishing
- After use, always remember to remove excess dirt with a fine cloth or a soft brush. Dry leather cracks and creases easily. Hence, try using a brush to clean off any dirt or grit before using shoe polish wax/paste/cream to moisturize the leather – this will help to keep the leather supple and healthy, reducing potential creases that could be “locked in” due to dryness. Also, do keep all leathers out of direct sunlight and direct heat sources (it can cause the leather to change colour, lose its suppleness or crack)
Why are there natural stretch marks and creases on the shoes?
As we only use full grain leather, all the imperfections from the leather are not removed unlike top grain leather. While this ensures that our leather is of a higher quality and are more durable, imperfections such as scars, insect bites, wrinkles and veining are all visible for full grain leather. Top grain leather is sanded, buffed and embossed with a leather grain to hide any imperfections. It is then coated with a thick protective pigment, which gives it a uniform look and feel.
Markings such as scars, insect bites, wrinkles, stretch marks and goad marks are all natural characteristics of genuine leather. Although, the extend and severity of these natural markings can affect the usability as a specific type of leather. If a particular area of the rawhide has excessive markings, it may not be useable and therefore results in higher wastage per skin.
Some examples of such natural marks include
- Blisters and warts deteriorates the quality of the final product. Some of these can ever tear during the tanning proves, rendering the entire area unusable.
- Horn blows
- Horn blows are common among animals fights which might result in injuries or scars. They are also commonly caused by the use of a pitchfork or a similar sharp object used by farmers for prodding animals.
- Barbed wire fences
- Other sharp parts of plants such as thorns or branches also cause similar looking scars.
- Tick Bites
- Tick Bites and stings of other insects also appear on the leather as small damages on the skin.
- Warble Flies
- Warble flies are a parasitic on cattle and dear. Flies lay eggs on the forelegs of cattle and deer. The eggs hatch and penetrate the skin, where they migrate throughout the connective tissues. The larvae then travel back to the skin surface this causes unsightly swellings. When breaking through the skin, the fly leaves holes in the skin and visible scars remain.
- Neck Wrinkles
- Neck wrinkles and creases are a normal phenomenon which do not affect the value of the leather. They occur in the cattle in the neck and abdomen, where the connective fibers are longer. Neck wrinkles naturally occur in a hide as a result of the neck stretching and contracting. The grain pattern is stronger in this area. When cutting the leather, it is essential to consider that the graining on the finished object is symmetrical. Any varied graining left is an intentional effect.
- Wrinkles, scars or differences in the grain texture are often seen as a lower quality leather or defective leather. However, a wrinkle in the leather is as natural as in your elbow or in the palm of your hand. This is an indication of the authenticity of the leather and should not be considered as a defect.
However, there are some markings that are not classified as “natural”
- Traditional methods such as hot branding is a technique for marking cattle and other farm animals for easier identification for its owners. Conventional methods are hot branding, freeze branding, earmarking or tattooing. However, the hot and freeze brand is extremely painful for animals and is therefore not allowed everywhere.
- Scars caused by surgical treatments on the animal skin are also sometimes visible in the leather.