I initially had a slightly different title for this blog, but swiftly realised that it would be the shortest piece I’d ever written. It would have looked like this:
How to avoid creasing on leather shoes;
Don’t wear them.
It sounds flippant, but it’s true. It is impossible to avoid creasing entirely on any item of leather footwear. Have a good look at the palm of your hands – they are covered in creases and lines, because they are nearly always active. As morbid as it sounds, leather is a skin, so it should be looked at in largely the same way as your own. Your feet have joints – they move, they bend – therefore your shoes have to accommodate this. One of the many reasons why leather is so good for making shoes is because it has the ability to adapt to movement and mould itself accordingly around your foot.
Try walking around without bending your feet. I’ll wait.
Pretty difficult, right? And not very efficient. You’d be late for everything and look really silly.
However, you’ll be vaguely pleased to know that there are steps you can take to minimise creasing on your favourite shoes. The first step involves fit, so I should be clear in saying that the fitting of a shoe is often subjective and you should always choose a shoe that is comfortable for you. The idea that a shoe will not crease if you buy it very tight is inaccurate and detrimental to the shoe as well as your happiness in wearing it.
Whenever we do fittings in-store, we are looking for breathing space in the shoe. We do this for a number of reasons, but the two most important are for comfort and shape. Your feet go through a lot and will fluctuate in size depending on various factors including time of day, temperature, and activity. By giving yourself a bit of space in the shoe you are leaving nothing to chance, therefore able to wear them throughout the day, whatever it may throw at you, and not be feeling your heartbeat in your toes by late afternoon.
In terms of shape, having breathing space will ensure that the leather doesn’t bulge and therefore lose its original structure. Why buy a beautiful looking shoe if it’s going to look like a pillowcase stuffed with cricket balls once they’re worn in?
Then again, going the opposite direction and giving yourself too much space can result in very deep creasing due to excess leather, though if there’s ever a choice between going to small or slightly too big, I’d always recommend the latter.
It’s a tricky thing to get right, so we always advise coming in for a fitting if possible.
Anyhoo, let’s say you have some shoes. You love them, they’re comfy, and you’d like to make sure the creases don’t become too prominent. Well, my friends, if you’ve ever read one of my blogs before, you know what’s coming next… aftercare!
For creasing, shoe trees are your best friends. For everything else, they are still your best friends. To make sure creases don’t become too prominent, you must use wooden shoe trees in order to flatten them back out after use and preserve the original shape. We’ve all seen shoes that are curled up at the toe like some kind of court jester – this is almost always down to trees not being used. If shoes are left after wear without using trees, the creases can become set, therefore significantly weakening the leather once they are worn again. In short: most problems can be helped with wooden shoe trees. You can’t afford to be without them.
Similarly, dry leather will crease, crack, and deteriorate much quicker. I’m not here to repeat myself, you already know to refer to my earlier blogs on polishing to make sure they don’t dry out.
The majority of issues concerning leather shoes can be avoided by investing in good shoe care as well as good shoes.
Your shoes are going to crease. But you don’t buy good quality pair of brogues or oxfords for them to remain exactly the same; you buy them because they get better with age, both in terms of feel and look.
Don’t be afraid to show off your shoes. Every scar tells a story.
Post written by Covent Garden store manager, Alex Pardey (IG: @shoes_maketh_man)