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post #11851 of 19038
And in conclusion, creams and conditioners are useless and were created only to try and increase sales in an industry that is dying.

If you wear a pair of shoes once a week...and you do not do anything to it except use shoe trees, brush after wear, and very occasionally polish with wax...these shoes will last you at least one decade....and probably two.
post #11852 of 19038

What leads to some leather being stiffer than others...lets say calf leather...assuming same thickness some are soft and others seem stiff almost rigid. Is this due to the leather being from different sections of the hide or the way it was treated by the tannery or the shoe manufacturer? would stiffer leather have more chance of failing and cracking in shoes do to flex points?

post #11853 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahuna75 View Post

What leads to some leather being stiffer than others...lets say calf leather...assuming same thickness some are soft and others seem stiff almost rigid. Is this due to the leather being from different sections of the hide or the way it was treated by the tannery or the shoe manufacturer? would stiffer leather have more chance of failing and cracking in shoes do to flex points?

All those things plus. Much of the time a stiffer leather simply has a denser fiber mat. Some processes in the tanning and currying stages can pre-flex the leather, loosening and opening up that mat.

Stiffer leather isn't necessarily more prone to cracking, however, depends on the root cause and how stiff it actually is. Most of the time a stiffer leather will loosen as it is worn.

But some leather is better for a particular purpose if it is soft or stiff. For instance, shoe leather does not, IMO, benefit from being glove-y or garment-y soft.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/22/14 at 8:27am
post #11854 of 19038
Not exactly the same question, but museum conservators have studied leather treatments for years. Their goals are to preserve leather but not to maintain flexibility, since the specimens sit in cases but are not used. In one famous study, leather samples were treated with a variety of conditioners or nothing and regularly tested for 34 years. There were a lot of findings-it was a scientific study- but they found little evidence that the treatments did anything at all to preserve the leather. They tested the specimens for strength periodically. Some treatments did increase flexibility, but not strength.

Studies like this are why conditioning leather is not a standard practice in museums. Of course, even on SF, most people want to wear their shoes, not just admire them. So a tradeoff of conditioning to encourage flexibility might be worth shortening overall life.

Of course, there are people who want the shoes to be as shiny as they can possibly make them. Apparently, this involves a lot of treatments with polish and periodic removal of accumulated wax to start over again. If you want extremely shiny shoes, that seems to be required. However, it might shorten their life compared to applying and removing fewer substances.
post #11855 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by PCK1 View Post

And in conclusion, creams and conditioners are useless and were created only to try and increase sales in an industry that is dying.

If you wear a pair of shoes once a week...and you do not do anything to it except use shoe trees, brush after wear, and very occasionally polish with wax...these shoes will last you at least one decade....and probably two.
I'd prefer to have mine last 30+. I still have shoes that are 26 yrs old and belts that are 30. I use both maybe once every other week now, but for over ten years I probably used them twice a week.

To have things last that long, a conditioner like Bick 4 once or twice a year, or maybe after cleaning off de-icing chemicals, is quite helpful. And most here seem to prefer creams to polishes if required to choose one. But they all have their purposes. To overuse or underuse any isn't ideal and may not show consequences in infrequent use or over the short term, but if one wants to enjoy one's shoes over the long haul, it's good to use them.
post #11856 of 19038

Thank you to everyone participating in this active discussion.  It has been extremely interesting to learn about.  

 

We've had some insight into what may/may-not help maintain the longevity of leather; however, do we know what facilitates or ultimately leads to cracking?  Is it just micro-particles stuck in the creases that slowly tear the fibrous/connective tissues in the leather?

 

I have never had this happen myself, and may well never have it happen (at the rate I buy new and sell slightly older shoes) but, it does sound like it would extremely upsetting.

 

Many thanks again.   

post #11857 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by Itsuo View Post

Thank you to everyone participating in this active discussion.  It has been extremely interesting to learn about.  

We've had some insight into what may/may-not help maintain the longevity of leather; however, do we know what facilitates or ultimately leads to cracking?  Is it just micro-particles stuck in the creases that slowly tear the fibrous/connective tissues in the leather?

I have never had this happen myself, and may well never have it happen (at the rate I buy new and sell slightly older shoes) but, it does sound like it would extremely upsetting.

Many thanks again.   

All things being equal, I don't know how you can attribute it to anything but micro-particles. It doesn't happen anywhere but where the shoe flexes. Conditioners and waxes may be accessories to the crime but it's the grit itself that does the deed.
post #11858 of 19038
I think after a while anything that is continuously bending is eventually going to break regardless what you do to it.
post #11859 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I think after a while anything that is continuously bending is eventually going to break regardless what you do to it.

I wouldn't say you're wrong because you're not, but two thoughts...

I can't think of the last time I saw a pair of untreated suede shoes that cracked.

And I have a calf skin trifold wallet that I made 30 some years ago. It isn't constantly bending but it's opened and closed at least once or twice a day on average. Now that doesn't seem like much bending but that's over 30 years. It has creases in it just like a shoe does...in fact, the leather itself bends deeper and more closely than any shoe is subject to...but zero cracks

???

What do these two examples have in common? Not much and everything---the suede shoes are exposed to the grit same as full grain calf would be but the suede is seldom treated with greasy conditioners and the nap is soft...unlike the grain surface on a calfskin shoe.

The wallet never gets conditioners or waxes...actually a little frustrating as I've been thinking for some time of replacing it...and it's never exposed to anything more abrasive than Downy-fied lint.

What do you make of either of these scenarios?

PS...on edit, and FWIW: the calf in the trifold is, relatively speaking, a stiffer leather originally.

--
Edited by DWFII - 11/22/14 at 2:57pm
post #11860 of 19038

Very, very interesting indeed.  Thank you once again.

post #11861 of 19038
Thanks gents for an informative and constructive discussion. Much obliged.
post #11862 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I wouldn't say you're wrong because you're not, but two thoughts...

I can't think of the last time I saw a pair of untreated suede shoes that cracked.

And I have a calf skin trifold wallet that I made 30 some years ago. It isn't constantly bending but it's opened and closed at least once or twice a day on average. Now that doesn't seem like much bending but that's over 30 years. It has creases in it just like a shoe does...in fact, the leather itself bends deeper and more closely than any shoe is subject to...but zero cracks

???

What do these two examples have in common? Not much and everything---the suede shoes are exposed to the grit same as full grain calf would be but the suede is seldom treated with greasy conditioners and the nap is soft...unlike the grain surface on a calfskin shoe.

The wallet never gets conditioners or waxes...actually a little frustrating as I've been thinking for some time of replacing it...and it's never exposed to anything more abrasive than Downy-fied lint.

What do you make of either of these scenarios?

PS...on edit, and FWIW: the calf in the trifold is, relatively speaking, a stiffer leather originally.

--

Funny you should bring this up as I have always wondered about the non cracking of leather wallets.
post #11863 of 19038
I wonder if people who wear their leather footwear sockless experience cracking.
post #11864 of 19038
Quote:
Originally Posted by gettoasty View Post

I wonder if people who wear their leather footwear sockless experience cracking.

I've seen linings crack and rot out when perspiration levels are high...socks or no socks. But I am convinced, it is the salt and/or the bacteria.
post #11865 of 19038
I've had cracked linings.
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