Myth of Leather Quality

If there are several points that dress shoes are focused on and discussed, especially whether is worth buying, leather quality must be an extremely important one.

For newbie, it may be enough to tell you which tannery the leather is from. If it is internationally famous tanneries, such as Annonay or Du Puy under the Hermès leather department, or the best black calf from Weinheimer from Germany, or Haas in France.

When it comes to seasoned shoe lovers, there is no point in talking about tanneries, because each tannery has different grades of goods, and although different shoe factories buy raw materials from the same tannery, the quality can still be very different.

So at this time, we can only trust the experience and feedback of the majority of users.

So how do you evaluate whether the leather is good or not? I have always looked at two points, one is the delicate creases, and the other is the thickness of the plating.

Both of these are actually aesthetically impactful.

There are two objections to be addressed.

  • The most important thing about shoes is the last shape and design, followed by how well you shine. You don’t even have a mirror shine regularly, but you care about the creases that can only be seen when you hold a magnifying glass, which is very inexplicable.

This is not wrong at all, at the end of the day, who are the shoes worn for. I’m not trying to cause this argument, everyone cares differently. If you care more about the overall presentation of the shoe, the above point of view is indeed very correct. But if you like shoes and treat them as a practical art piece, then you will care about these details.

  • What you said is not the focus of judging leather quality at all, the items should be elongation, wear resistance and tear resistance, like what China Leather Institute is doing.

It also makes sense. In particular, if you pursue thin or no plating as much as I do, the experiment in friction will fail instantly. I’ve always believed that all the attention to technical details is still in the service of the ultimate aesthetic.

Careful friends will find that your answer to the two questions is contradictory, people tell you to look good, you say you care about details, people tell you technology, you say good-looking.

You see, why explain it to others, please yourself!

Based on the two points that I care about, in the shoes I touched, I encountered a lot of magical things, such as the leather of cheap shoes showed unexpectedly good, and the disgusting creases of expensive shoes made people wear it once and helplessly could only put it on the shelf, if not because of hefty price, it would really be directly thrown into the trash.

Do you say that quality control is not good, or leather, even for manufacturers, is also a myth?

Look at my two pairs of shoes to compare.

This is a pair of glued Chelsea, worn for more than 5 years. Basically, taking care of baby, walking a dog, climbing a mountain find them. Chelsea is very easy to plug in.

From a macro point of view, 5 years wear with such crease performance, I really have nothing to expect more. Although the shoes are of average quality.

Up close, three discoveries. One, leather substrate is grinded. The pores of the leather should be more delicate and the surface smoother, but this one has some raised texture, which is the inner layer. Although, this is still the first layer of cowhide. Second, the leather is delicate.

Third, there is obvious plating.

But it is such leather that touches the water and absorbs it quickly. Although water absorption does not mean that the leather is good or bad, it can at least indicate that the plating is thin.

So overall, thin plating, delicate but grinded. By my criteria, not bad. From a macro point of view, it is even more impeccable.

Next up is Gaziano & Girling Oxford.

From a macro point of view, the crease is delicate, and the texture is wonderful.

Looking closer, the leather is smoother, there are no grinding, good leather should not be grinded. Grinding is because the surface of the leather has many flaws. The crease is delicate and also has a plating, but visually it feels thin.

Do a water absorption experiment, and the result is completely unabsorbable. This indicates that this coating is completely hydrophobic. This raises the question, if this is a pair of dress shoes with rubber soles, is it worn on rainy days without pressure? I don’t have an answer.

Not every pair of Gaziano & Girling creases has such a delicate expression, but this pair can be said to have a leather texture that makes people want to wear it for decades. If the toe of this shoe could be shorter.


I chose two extremes to compare, one is only more than 200 yuan, and the other is close to 10,000 yuan. Even if the price is put aside, I think the leather performance is quite good. So, if it is a mid-priced range, such as shoes in the 2000-6000 RMB range, which one dares to guarantee such leather performance? If not, then it overturned, isn’t it very heartbreaking?

This is the myth of leather quality.