1. In 2018. by way of thanks for being a part of this community, we'll be choosing 16 active members of our community at random to receive a special gift and a gift certificate for one of our affiliate vendors, to represent each of our 16 years.

    Fok and the Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice

STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. DesB3rd

    DesB3rd Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    So how old is an optimum calf?

    Are we looking at some happy mid-point where the leather is both flawless and soft but has had some opportunity to fill-outhank and toughen?

    (N.B. this comes back to my former theme. There's some controvery in the UK about male dairy cows getting bolted, and sent for pet food, as soon as the mother is giving milk. I.e. dairy dies v. young or old...)
     


  2. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior Member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    I'm no expert at all where leather is is concerned, I just have a number of relatives who own, or used to own, cattle and sheep. Parts of the family have been in the business for at least a couple of hundred years and used to be among the suppliers of hide to the tanneries, while such still existed here.

    Anyway, I know of no way to reliably discern whether a given leather is cow or real calf. The latter is certainly thinner and more supple to start with, but the tanning process will likely reduce the differences. I assume that the more expensive the shoes, the more likely they are to be made from calf, as cow is vastly more plentiful and therefore likely to be much less costly. Of course, that's a somewhat less than useful insight, since I have no clue how much one must pay to be guaranteed to get shoes in real calf, or if any such line can be drawn at all.
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,529
    Likes Received:
    3,135
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    In the leather and shoe Trades what is considered "calf-skin" can be quite variable.

    In his book Textbook of Footwear Manufacture, the National Trade Press (UK), 1953, J. H. THORNTON, M.A., F.B.S.I., describes a calf as
    But he also says:
    He goes on to say that regardless of age or size, the way the animal was fed, where and how it lived, the gender, the presence or absence of introduced hormones and chemicals, as well as the methods of tannage--structure, substance grain, etc., are more important in determining the suitability for high end footwear than age.
     


  4. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior Member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    I'm simply going by what I've read on industry websites; tanneries, leather industry organisations, etc. Presumably they're the ones who'd know what definitions they themselves use.
     


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,529
    Likes Received:
    3,135
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    What are you saying here? That presumption, speculation, and third hand information is sufficient? Reliable? Adequate? Trumps first hand experience and objective knowledge?

    I wasn't arguing with you, I was simply making an observation that is objectively "closer to the source" than second generation, and third hand agricultural remembrances.

    Thornton was head of the Boot and shoe department at the Northampton College of Technology. At one time considered the elder statesman of British shoemaking.

    If we are to presume anything, presumably he knew what he was talking about.

    And for what it is worth, I've been making boots and shoes for over 45 years--all first hand experience and repeatedly validated knowledge which I share here on SF and which is largely consistent with and in agreement with Thornton (what an unthinkable coincidence!).
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2017


  6. Belfaborac

    Belfaborac Senior Member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    33
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    Location:
    Ultima Thule
    Exactly what I wrote. None of which is contradicted in any way by your quotes.
     


  7. Zapasman

    Zapasman Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    2,327
    Likes Received:
    705
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2014
    Location:
    España
    Anyone with experience with kidskin for linning? Would you recomend it? I might go with it and wonder if it's worth it. Opinions? Thanks.
     


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,529
    Likes Received:
    3,135
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    I've never used it for lining and reason is that I don't consider it dense enough or strong enough to function as a lining.

    Back in the day most women's shoes were made of kidskin...pumps in particular...(most women's shoe may still be made of kidskin for all I know) but it peeled. In fact, that peeling was almost the single most distinguishing characteristic.
     


  9. ntempleman

    ntempleman Senior Member

    Messages:
    501
    Likes Received:
    477
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Location:
    London, England
    Glacé kid is used fairly often to line the counter if the client requests coloured lining, but it’s far from ideal as a lining. The glaze rubs off fairly quickly and the leather tends to wear through. You wouldn’t line the vamp with it (except for an occasional wear wholecut court shoe).
     


  10. AWu

    AWu Member

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2017
    Allow me to side track a bit the discussion right here :-

    Any difference in terms of breaking in leather shoes and suede shoes - in terms of the feel/ space difference a before after comparison... I'm getting a pair of suede (unlined) and in between 2 sizes - larger one seems fitting good while the 0.5 smaller one may give a good fit after break in and afraid the larger pair will be a tad loose then...

    Any experience to share gents?
    Much appreciated ;)
     


  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,529
    Likes Received:
    3,135
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    ^+1

    Finishes/"glazes" like that are really just paint jobs. And they tend to be fairly heavy on kid, as well.

    Such finishes are occlusive...if that's of any concern to anyone but persnickety old shoemakers...which is contrary to everything a lining is supposed to be and another reason lining the whole shoe with kid is seldom done.
     


  12. Zapasman

    Zapasman Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    2,327
    Likes Received:
    705
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2014
    Location:
    España
    Thank you both once again for your instructive answers. I see the problems in the long run. In fact I just wanted to have 1 pair of shoes in racing green leather for the lining for the same price and for the heck of it. However I was unsure of the quality and resistance of such a "fancy " leather decisión. I love good natural veg tanned leather for lining specially coming from GG, so no need to change it.
    Happy new year to you and to the rest of the people here. Cheers
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by