Any thoughts on how often manufacturers let something like pictured here slip through quality control? Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I find it irrelevant what great tanneries etc they sourced the hides from, if they still cut and use the bad parts anyhow. I have now two times faced leather like this, first time I foolishly kept the shoes and they were ruined in half a year, looked really horrible as the thin wrinkly leather on the vamp of the shoe got some wear. These will go straight back to the store. However both the store and the manufacturer are of the mind that this is normal. I don't care about normal creasing in use or small imperfections in manufacturing, clever use of the worse parts in for example inside quarter etc. - but using a visibly bad thin part of hide on shoes costing hundreds of GBP, I just don't get it. The shoes will never from day one feel or look nice, and at the same I have bought many many cheaper pairs of shoes and never had such QC problem as this.
I don't know if it is a coincidence, but on both pair of shoes that I have seen this problem it was on grained leather. As the graining would indicate problems with the hide in the first place, maybe there is a higher chance of this kind of failures with it on part of manufacturers.
For the most part and all other things being equal, it is just something that comes with the territory--the factory process.
The higher end manufacturers can afford to throw marginal leather away. And that's what is required to insure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. But factories, and that means most commercial businesses aimed at a large segment of the population, exist to make a profit first and foremost...even moreso than they exist to make shoes.
Leather is the raw material that generates those profits. Shoemakers, whether they be bespoke or RTW, pay for that leather--every square inch of it represents an outflow of money. Throwing leather away (even small, unusable scraps) is throwing money away. There is little incentive to do that even when they know that the character of that particular section of the hide is problematic. They don't even spend that much time inspecting and evaluating the leather as they are about to cut it. They just place a bunch of cookie cutters on the hide...in such a way as to maximize yield and minimize the distance between those cutters...and push a button.
Until you get into really high end RTW (and even then), this kind of problem will always be a possibility and more often than not a probability.
All that said, leather is a natural product...with none of the predictability or consistency of plastic...and can fool even the best.
edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 12/22/15 at 7:29am