Answer (first posted by @DWFII , a bespoke bootmaker): Many leathers that shoes are made of come from the tannery with an acrylic finish already applied. If a leather has a very shiny "table" (what it looks like when laid out on the table) the chances are it has an acrylic wax finish. Not always...depends on the leather but lots do. and I'm not talking about corrected grain or cheap leather either.
Acrylic waxes are just that--waxes.
And I agree with Calzo--they can look cheap if not applied professionally or judiciously. But acrylics can be super glossy...which looks unnatural...or satin which is not too far off what the ideal finish would be if you spent hours and hours hand rubbing and polishing the leather.
Acrylics are ubiquitous in the industry. Myself I would prefer to not use them but I know how.
(and, FWIW, I've sever seen veg tanned leather that responded well to acrylic waxes).
This Q&A was originally posted in our informative Leather Quality and Properties thread. Have a question and can't find an answer? Want to contribute your knowledge to the community? Try here:http://www.styleforum.net/t/354137/leather-quality-and-properties
For more threads and articles on leather properties go here: http://www.styleforum.net/tag/leather
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