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Leather Quality and Properties

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

  1. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

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    What you need to do, for whatever shoe, is to keep the inside dry, before giving anything on the outside. Other than that, you need to find suitable products design for the role of the footwear. At any rate, apart from shoe polish, any type of grease or dressing should be found mixed with a type of aromatic oil that protects the leather from fungus and insect attacks (try Montana Pitch Blend for an example).

    The thing about leather getting damaged by sunlight is because people are so lazy not bother to treat them. If leathers get properly treated, sunlight will only age them well, not damaging them as much as people made a myth out of it. Therefore, if you boots just went through hell, place them out the window sill for a short period of time.

    If the leather is veg tanned, it can be rid of mold and fungus by using white vinegar. Still, it is important to air them out and dry them under the sun.
     
  2. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    Thanks for your time. Great post!!
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The only point I would make is another analogy...if you have a hose and you seal one end--put a nozzle on one end end, for instance--and then attach the other end to a faucet, and turn the faucet on, what happens? The correct answer is nothing, of course.

    If, while the faucet is on, you open the nozzle, what happens? For a moment or two, the answer again is...apparently...nothing. The air in the hose must first be pushed out by the water entering the hose, and sometimes you'll get a sputtering as residual water (if any) is pushed, by air pressure, out the end of the hose.

    I don't know the scientific name for this process or even if there is one--probably has something to do with displacement, hydrostatic pressure, capillary action and/or transpirational pull--but the nozzle is occlusive in a similar fashion to rubber outsoles or cement or a cement/cork filler is. Water cannot enter the hose until the nozzle is removed.

    It's the freedom to transport moisture that is at issue.

    As the nozzle effectively prevents the hose from transporting water down its length; prevents even the air within the hose from being displace or evacuated, so too the occlusive layers in the shoe. And if the hose is 50 foot long, what difference? If it is ten feet long, what difference? How about a foot long?

    If a sock liner of corrected...or even open...grain leather is cemented into the shoe with neoprene based cement, isn't that like attaching the nozzle directly to the faucet?

    It's not a perfect analogy (even less so for it being five in the morning) but there are forces at work that are not immediately obvious--forces that are so fundamental they cannot be ignored, whether one person, or one thousand, notices them or not. How can materials that are so contradictory...so diametrically opposed...to those fundamental forces be introduced without interrupting them?

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  4. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    no problem and thank you!
     
  5. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    I agree in that there are so many factors that can have an influence on the processes we have been discussing. We can not test for all of them but I agree in that the rubber and cements can cause problems in certain situations. Of course none of this matters for people who don't sweat that much, wear good socks, and give the shoes a normal day or two to rest between wears.

    For most people, that rest and care is enough. For the few who do sweat a lot and develop problems in their shoes or on their own feet, I think that the other topics we have discussed will be enough for them. They can change to different socks, use powders (even anti fungal treated if needed), and even type of leather for the sock liner when shopping for shoes. I think that in those cases, they should be considering professional treatment from a doctor to help decrease the sweating (there are treatments for that) or prescription grade anti-fungal products, which can take care of the problems much easier as well as a UV light treatment for the footwear, like the steri-shoe that I have mentioned in earlier posts.
     
  6. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

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    I must admit, I don't quite understand what the point of this analogy is. Also, as you point out, it is not a perfect analogy in any event. Furthermore, water can and will enter the hose, it just cannot exit it. With pressure 'behind' the water, the water will enter the hose and compress the air in the hose, so the hose will have some water and some air in it, reaching an equilibrium when the water pressure and the air pressure are equal Of course, because air is lighter than water, the air wouldn't all be on the 'nozzle' end of the hose and the water on the faucet side, the water would be in the bottom of the hose and the air in the top portion (assuming the hose is perfectly horizontal); so, when you remove or open the nozzle, water will start flowing pretty much right away. And, if for some reason the interior of the hose were made of something like leather, water would also be absorbed by the lining, so there would be water there as well.

    Here is another analogy. If you have a riverbed (say 25 miles long) which is dammed at one end, there is a certain volume of water that can enter at the top of the stream yet never reach the dam, because the water as it flows down the river will: a. evaporate; and b: be absorbed into the ground. So, the occlusive feature (the dam) may not matter at all, in terms of water being kept from getting past the dam, since the dam is in fact rendered unnecessary. Of course, there is a limit to the amount of water than can evaporate/be absorbed (depending on climactic conditions, soil conditions, etc); beyond that rate, the dam will be needed to stop water/be occlusive. Again, I don't know what the rate of absorption of the insole and linings are, nor do I know the exact conditions for evaporation from same in a shoe on the foot (and each foot is, of course, unique in many ways, including volume and exact composition of perspiration, and bacterial/fungal levels and composition), nor do I know how much water is transported/evaporated by the socks (varying, as a function of the specific characteristics of the socks). But, to simply state that an occlusive feature is inherently bad may be correct in theory yet irrelevant in real world conditions.

    Here is another experiment that would be interesting to carry out: precisely weigh ones shoes at the beginning of the day and upon taking them off at the end of the day; any difference in weight would be due to water absorption/retention during the course of the day (ignoring any weight loss due to abrasion of the sole). Then, let them dry for a day or two and see what the weight is again; the change being due to evaporation of any water. Likewise, one could do that with your socks; you could determine how much water is being retained by the shoes versus being carried by the socks.

    One other point (a general point,not directed at DW's comments): assertions such as 'putting wax on a shoe will prevent evaporation' may not be accurate. Water in a liquid state, and adsorption thereof, is very different than evaporation and consequent transmission of water vapor; if you are interested, do some googling and reading about Gore-Tex and other, similar, 'water-proof, breathable' fabrics. It would be interesting to know the vapor permeability of, for example, upper leather and outsole leather. I'm sure someone much smarter than I could do some modeling of the rate of vapor transmission through these materials, and also compare the amount of evaporation through them versus evaporation via (small) openings around the foot and through the socks, as well as evaporation after the shoe is removed. (Not that I expect anyone will actually do this.)

    The bottom line is that there is a great deal of complexity here, so I would suggest that any/all assertions (including mine!) should be looked at with a gimlet eye.
     
  7. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    I completely agree in that there is so much complexity of combinations of factors that all we can do is surmise the overall effects based on the knowledge on individual factors.

    I do like your analogy, just so you know. It shows the basics while displaying that you can't calculate everything unless you know the exact rates for each of the involved factors, which do vary slightly based on other factors like temperature, etc. That is great how you put them all together.

    The experiment you mentioned is one that could be done and wouldn't be very difficult either. Yes you wouldn't be able to control for everything, but you could at least show that there is a weight difference due to the absorptive nature of the leather insole and lining. There would be no way to find a standard for this, because it will vary based on activity level of the person wearing the shoes and how much they sweat in the first place, which also varies. We can not factor how much could possibly evaporate while wearing either. All of these factors can also vary based on the exact pair of shoes as well, from style of shoe, to proper fit, to leather and materials used.

    In the end, we are going into so much detail that we will not be able to figure it all out. I think that it is important to show that together, we were able to pose questions to each other to help get us to accurately display our knowledge on certain topics/factors to give an overview of the many factors involved in this case and to show that certain factors are very important to the situation, while others are so small that they don't make a difference in the long run.

    Some of these factors will have an effect on people and some won't matter if they aren't heavy sweaters in the first place. I mentioned in an previous post a few minutes ago, where some people may not have read it yet, but all of the factors are relative to the situation of the person wearing the shoes. In a person who doesn't sweat much, wears appropriate socks, and gives adequate resting time between wears, they won't have to worry about any of this.

    In a person who does sweat a lot and still follows the other "rules", they may have to make a few adjustments like powder, etc.

    It is really only for the people who get the fungal infections that really have to worry and I think that by now, there are enough posts, just form the past day or two, to explain what they need to do:

    -wear real leather shoes instead of occlusive synthetic materials like rubber or coated fake leather
    -change socks at least once a day, using appropriate fiber socks that work for the person (varies from person to person but includes cotton, wool, bamboo, copper fiber, etc)
    -use foot powder (anti-fungal treated versions are available if needed for certain people)
    -give at least 24-48 hours of rest time between wears of the shoes (probably the most important thing to consider)
    -use shoe trees (if you believe in the effect of the cedar trees - we don't need to comment on this one but I wanted to add it for completeness)
    -get professional medical help if fungal infections aren't going away (prescription treatments for fungus or treatments decrease the amount of sweating)
    -UV treatment of fungus inside the shoes from something like the Steri-shoe

    I hope that this helps summarize a lot of what we have discussed and shows that even though we are going into so much detail of the many factors involved (which can be done for just about anything), only so many factors are really important enough to consider for the majority of people. Some of the factors are so small that they probably aren't even worth thinking about for people who deal with major fungal problems, but that is why there are some suggestions on ways to help treat and prevent the problems in the first place. These are my suggestions from a medical perspective even though I went into many of the technical details with @DWFII and @shoefan . They have been a part of a great debate/conversation and I think that they should be thanked for their great contribution to a very informative discussion.
     
  8. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    Leathers (shock liners, lining, outsoles, insoles and uppers and their different treatments), stiches and shoe components (waxes, cements, felt, cork, shanks, nylon), socks (cotton, wool, etc), rubber and foam componets (outsoles, topies, interior layers), shoe trees (different woods, hollowed, lacquered), weather condition and specially your feet (most important ingredient). It seems a complex cocktail to reach a universal conclusion about shoes breathability and its moisture evaporation.

    So lets them rest for a while in our shoe trees. Amen.
     
  9. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    Exactly! I hope that some of our group's posts showed this and had a good summary so people can come to this thread as a reference to teach them what they want to learn in both a simple consolidated version as well as the lengthy detailed version. I think that we have done both now and hope that other readers will think the same. If not, please let us know and we can clarify things in a simple way, now that we have covered the lengthy detailed part!
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    OK...as I said, it was in the early morning.

    But here's a very practical and, maybe for some, eye-opening experiment we can do: not everyone has the materials or knowledge to do this experiment much less interpret it correctly and make the leap to practical considerations but you do, shoefan...

    Take three or four shoe-size pieces of soling leather. Thoroughly coat the flesh side, and the grain side of one piece with all purpose cement--this is one control.

    Set aside another piece and don't coat it at all--this is the other control.

    Take the third piece and coat only the flesh side with all purpose cement.

    And, just for perspective, coat both sides of the fourth piece except for a 2"x2" area on the grainside of the leather.

    Drop all four pieces in to a bucket of warm water, making sure to cover each piece of leather with water (warm water will accelerate the process).

    Carefully monitor the pieces and record how much time it takes for each piece to become thoroughly soaked ...thoroughly wet all the way through, no trace of dryness, no dry areas in the center.

    I can guarantee you that the uncoated piece (our first control) will become thoroughly wet first.

    The fully coated piece (both sides)--the other control--may never get thoroughly wet.

    The piece that is coated on the fleshside only will take significantly longer time to get wet than the first control--maybe four to five times as long and often, in the middle of all this you can see the dry (but cement coated) flesh visible almost until the leather does become thoroughly soaked.

    Finally, the piece that has but a small window of un-occluded leather--figure on days for the leather to be wet enough that if you cut through it anywhere it will not expose dry fiber.

    Now monitor and measure how long it takes for the leather to dry out--for the moisture to evaporate.

    This experiment is not only practical in that you and I have the ability to perform it without a lot of set up or needing to acquire special materials, it is also practical in that it fully illustrates the effects of any occlusive material on leather without having to measure how much water will be absorbed or how much the insole weighs.

    It is a vivid picture of the insole...of any piece of leather...in near identical situational functionality as it would be subjected to in a shoe.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  11. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    I think that could be a cool experiment. You just need to make sure to take pictures and take accurate notes on each piece. This would help to show the effects of some of the materials/coating on the insole leather.

    It could also open up the floor to other similar experiments with other factors that we have discussed. I just wouldn't use a huge amount of water, because it would be more like stepping in a puddle of water, than actually mimicking sweat. Also for the water, I would use about 1% sodium in the solution to get somewhat closer to to sweat, even though that number varies, but you do need to think about the effect of the sodium.

    The largest problem with any of these tests will be that in a shoe, there is a combination of materials a leathers put together with a limited directly open area. This test and follow-ups could test the process for the leather insole or lining itself, but that is all it will do. If you could do it on some finished shoes (i know that cost and time is the concern hear) then you could cover most of the factors we have discussed.

    Great ideas though!
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The thing with this experiment...as outlined...is that it is, in fact, almost identical to processes that bespoke shoemakers subject insoles and outsoles to as a matter of course.

    We wet insoles to allow us to form them to the bottom of a last.

    We wet outsoles...and, esp. if we are cement dependent, often only after we have coated the fleshside...so that in mounting the outsole, it also will conform more closely to the bottom of the shoe.

    Both processes by completely submerging in a tub of water.

    So you see this experiment is unfair in that one respect--I know from long experience what the outcome will be in each case. Invariably...all other things being equal.

    What it implies about the effects in, and on, a shoe may be open to interpretation. But it seems clear to me that we can demonstrate the effects of occlusive materials...even after-the-fact occlusive materials...pretty much beyond doubt.

    And to bring it all around back to the start, the most significant part of the demonstration may not be how fast the water is absorbed but how fast it dries out. Simply because the mechanisms of transpiration and wicking and occlusion are almost beside the point. What is not beside the point, however, is the deleterious effects to foot and shoe health that can potentially result from using occlusive materials.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  13. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    I understand that this is what you are normally doing anyway and that you would know the answers already, but I was just stating how to make it more like what happens from the wearing process.

    I agree in that it is more important how it dries out as well as long as their are materials that can absorb the sweat when combined into the shoe (lining, insole, socks, etc.). After that point, there is water drawn away from the foot for the bacteria to grow off of and as long as it evaporates while wearing or after coming off, you can help prevent the fungal growth.

    Great ideas!
     
  14. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

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    I don't need to do this experiment to know the answers. We are dealing with two things in this experiment: water absorption, and water evaporation. I believe in both instances, for the same material (in this case insole leather) the rate of each will be pretty much linearly related to the surface area of uncoated/non-occluded leather. (I imagine there is a bit of non-linearity introduced to factor in the requirement for internal wicking/water transmission when much of the leather is coated, but not enough to in any way affect the basic linear relationship.)

    However, I don't see how that addresses the basic question we've been addressing, which is the best materials and manner for handling foot perspiration in a shoe. I agree that, all things being equal, an insole uncoated on each side would improve moisture evaporation; however, there are two issues that this experiment doesn't address: 1. the moisture from the foot is only entering the insole from one side, so there will be a moisture gradient across the thickness of the insole [unless the insole is totally saturated (as in your experiment)] -- so, we don't know the relative rate of evaporation from/via each side of the insole, be the flesh side coated or uncoated (though I think I have an idea how to, at least in part, test this); and 2. In a shoe, the flesh side of the insole is not exposed to air; it has, at a minimum, an outsole covering it, and we don't know the vapor permeability of the outsole which is between the flesh and the atmosphere, but clearly (I believe) the rate of evaporation would be much lower with an attached outsole than it would be for an insole alone (never mind the presence of occlusive fillers such as cement, cork aggregate, or tarred felt). Again, I can think of ways to test this, though it might require either large pieces of leather or a very accurate scale.

    Furthermore, much of the discussion has been in the context of linings, not the insole.

    Also, remember there are other ways to handle the moisture generated by the foot, most notably the socks. I think you know I am a big believer in oak bark tanned insoles, and I prefer veg tanned linings; however, from a logical/scientific perspective, I am not ready to conclude they are 'better' just because their use is traditional. As you've pointed out in the context of Teklon, it is possible that new materials may have an advantage over the traditional materials, not in cost but in absolute performance. For example, if we could develop a 'super sock' that could quickly wick water out of the shoe and then allow it to evaporate from around the ankle, that might render a water-tight (occlusive) liner superior to an absorbent lining/insole (though evaporation from and through the latter might help keep the foot cool relative to the former).

    MW313 -- Is the half-pint per day per foot, or for both feet combined? Another experiment I thought of is to have one foot and sock in a plastic bag (sealed around the ankle) inside the shoe, and hence totally water-tight, and the other foot/sock not in a bag. At the end of the day, you could weigh the various components to see how much moisture has been a.generated by the foot, b. Absorbed by the sock and the shoe, and c. Therefore, how much moisture has evaporated (assuming, most likely naively, that the two feet have generated the same amount of perspiration). Doing this over a few days, and alternating feet that are 'bagged,' would provide a pretty decent controlled experiment (again with the caveat about the assumption).
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I won't pursue this much further if only because I don't think we are going to resolve this or even come to a meeting of the minds.

    But several points need to be made...socks are one part of the equation but not a significant one in my estimation, esp. in the context of the shoe itself...unless we are talking about polyester or nylon or even rubber socks.

    Lining leathers are, in my estimation, every bit as important as insoles. And everything that can be said about occlusion of insoles can also be said about lining leathers. In fact, from my point of view, every argument (or excuse) that can be made in favour of rubber soles or using occlusive cork fillers or all purpose cement is also an excuse for using corrected grain leather or even Pleather. I don't know what kinds of distinctions you might want to draw between a heavily finished cow or calf and corrected grain leather but it almost seems moot esp. when you consider the nature of those finishes being almost universally synthetic...ie. some form of plastic.

    I make the comment about Teklon based on Traditions being lost...the Tradition of truly long staple linen or hemp; And the functionality of dacron vs. linen in a hostile environment...such as, for instance, a heavily saturated insole where heat and microorganisms thrive and thrive on organic food stuffs, ie linen fibers. I've seen heavy perspiration literally rot rigourously waxed linen inseam threads.

    In terms of doing what it is supposed to do and fulfilling its function, linen, as we find it today, cannot perform as well as dacron.

    The same can be said for any occlusive material or application of materials that by their nature are occlusive--they cannot perform their intended functions as well as materials that are not occlusive...whether it be cement and cork versus felt and paste; whether it be cement coated insoles versus insoles that are not cement coated; or heavily finished chrome tanned lining leathers vs. unfinished veg linings.

    As bespoke makers in particular, we are charged with making shoes that will...within reason and the limits of materials and techniques available to us...retain their integrity and appropriateness to function in every conceivable circumstance and with every conceivable kind of foot.

    That too is part of...maybe even the heart of...the Tradition.

    Well, this got longer than I expected. I think that about summarizes it, however.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  16. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    Wow you are right in that this has gotten much longer than expected. I know that we are looking into so much detail for research to improve everything, but then again using materials that are most natural usually is best. To look into things by a cultural evolution standpoint, look at old time shoes. They were all leather and just were there to protect the feet. Then during some time of the ancient egyptians and romans, they started to make more ornamental shoes. Then during victorian times, they were probably at their highest level of quality and ornamentation.

    Now look to today at both the improvement and setbacks of the industry. Yes we are more clean, for the most part, now then many years ago, due to soaps, running water, deodorant, etc., but people complain about both smelly feet and fungal infections. Most shoes are full of synthetic materials that don't work with our skin in the way that natural veg tan (for linings and uppers) and oak bark (for outsoles and insoles) worked with our skin structure and were preserved by these processes as well. They were able to allow moisture to be taken in and then aired out to prevent problems.

    Now look at when most people take their shoes off and worry about the smells. Most people are not wearing shoes that are all natural (or mainly natural) materials, but if they are wearing a pair of flip flops, most feet do not smell because they have the openness of having the feet in open air. That allows the feet to still sweat but evaporation isn't impeded upon by the closed areas. In a leather flip-flop do you see sweat coming out of anything but the impression of the foot that has formed from the water and salt plus compression of the body weight causing any other signs of wear? I sure don't except for the wear from the ground on the outsole.

    When people wear all leather shoes, they are wearing something that is more like their own skin than anything else that can be purchased. That is what causes a difference in the fungus, smells, shoe damage, etc. We can't compare the new technologies that are incorporated into athletic sneakers because some of those are better than leather, but also have a mesh to literally give open spaces for the water to evaporate while wearing. That is an entirely different industry as far as I am concerned, and I have done consulting for both the dress shoe and athletic shoe industries. (more for shoes though, since those are my true passion)

    As you both (@shoefan and @DWFII ) have mentioned, there are other materials being used in dress shoes besides the leathers. I am not even concerned with synthetic leather uppers and uppers with coatings (corrected grain, etc) at this point, because we have addressed these at length in this thread, but the other materials used, like linen for the gemming of goodyear shoes and the linen used in linings in many dress shoes (old school Church's, etc.) are of more importance. The linen lining and even use in uppers in the spectator style is a great way to save weight and reduce cost as well, but in just a lining or in gemming with extreme moisture addition, of course it will damage the fibers over time. They can rot and we have seen pictures of it posted in other threads before. Almost any material can rot, including leather, but it depends on how it was taken care of.

    We also are talking about the bespoke shoe world much more than the general goodyear welted or blake stitch constructions. On top of that, we can't even compare them to the cheap fashion shoes that most people buy. That is why the industry has changed. People don't need a shoe that can hold up to the riggers that we are discussing, because they will get a new shoe every 6 months, because that is what society and the industry dictates. If someone moves up to entry blake stitch or goodyear, they are hoping to keep them for a good 5-10 years and usually will take some care of them with shoe trees, resting, etc. Those people usually build a rotation of at least few shoes so the problems are not as often seen. At the level that we are discussing, most people take extreme care of their "babies" and will search out any help that they need as well. They use good socks, wash their feet, alternate shoes, etc. Most will even wear certain pairs for when their is bad weather. (I have special bad weather shoes for any time there is rain or snow or I will just wear a snow boot and change into the shoe when I get to work). Our kinds of people are probably the most extreme in caring for their shoes and may even send them out for maintenance.

    In this level of shoemaking, only a few materials should even need to be discussed:
    -high quality full grain leather for uppers, lining, insoles and outsoles (possibly a shank as well)
    -cork if used for filling (which has more porous ability than people expect, which is why it can give in to a persons weight even if it wasn't cut up and put into a mixture to fill the inner. (there is plenty of room for air in it causing such a low density for cork))
    -materials for stitching (depending on what the maker chooses to use)
    -wood, metal, or fiberglass (if not using leather for a shank plus for pegging the waist if using that form of construction method and attaching the heels)
    -adhesive if used to help keep pieces of the shoe together in addition to the stitching/pegging/nailing.

    Yes there are different variations that can be used (many of which are listed above) depending on the style of shoe and quality, but all top end shoes should mainly be using just these materials to keep it natural or at least inert to the human body. This is what causes the least problems for our skin as well as is the best to prevent microbial/fungal growth in the shoes. I'm sure that you guys have seen over time that most of these shoes are the ones that were able to last for much longer than anything else, while being repaired time after time. We have found shoes that are thousands of years old (primarily leather) or at least 100+ (with the above materials) and still intact due to using these same types of materials.

    Truthfully, I think that the care from the client/customer is the most important part, because if the shoe is well taken care of and made of good natural materials, they can last seemingly forever, even if the person has major sweating problems and an active fungal infection of the feet themselves. That is why the doctors are there to help and give lifestyle suggestions (as listed in the earlier post).





    Back to the main point, but do the results of these tests really matter at this point? They don't affect the "tradition" of shoe making and the striving to give the best to the customer, because the best is using the best materials with the highest level of skill that the maker can provide. It is the maker's blood, sweat, and tears that make us love the shoes so much. They put the time in to make a last that fits the foot, draw and cut patterns that flatter that foot and last while covering the style that the client wants, and fit comfortably in the way that the person has always dreamed of, not to mention outlasting the original owner if they care for their "babies."

    These tests are not working like how the human body works on the shoes. It doesn't mimic the force of the person applying their body weight on the leather while their sweat (that 1/2 pint is for both feet (@shoefan ), pushes into the insole and lining. It doesn't factor in how the movement of the foot due to the fit of the last and upper on the wearer's foot affects the room for that moisture and hot air to move before escaping the shoe. There is too much to test and it will be different for every person with each of these combinations. In the proposed test with the plastic bag by @shoefan , it will vary from foot to foot because the amount of perspiration will vary from foot to foot, but it also changes each day depending on outside temperature, shoe and socks worn, stress and activity level that day, and even the food eaten over the last day or two. Unless you keep all of that constant (good luck), the chances to succeed are too tough.

    I like the idea of comparing different socks to see what really does seem to work, if that is of interest to you. I also like the idea of weighing the original shoe and see how much weight has added to the shoe when taken off while comparing that to the amount of water formed in an air and water tight bag around the foot (or similar process) to see how much of that released fluid was absorbed into the shoe and hasn't evaporated yet. Then you also could keep track of how long it takes to get the water evaporated to equal the original weight of the shoe again. That could show the effects of the different insoles and linings as long as you only change one factor (insole or lining) at a time. You will not be able to adjust the level of sweat produced from each person each day to compare but if you do this over quite a few days with multiple trials for each of the situations (insole 1 with lining 1, insole 1 with lining 2, insole 2 with lining 1, insole 2 with lining 2, etc) and also do this with both feet to increase the trial and sample size, you can average it out between each situation. That can be done, but it would only show the effectiveness of the the different linings and insoles, the time taken to evaporate and dry the shoe back to original, and then the amount of liquid that actually evaporates during the course of wear with each of the insole and lining types. It could be quite a thorough study and would show us many things, but is it really worth it for you guys, just to nit pick between a few leather types? That is up to you.

    I personally like as much of the natural materials as possible, good care of the shoes with adequate rest time, proper sock selection, and see a doctor for the fungal problems as needed.

    I hope this puts things into perspective, since I know that you both focus on the high quality stuff, but from having patients covering all aspects of the shoe and sneaker world, my thoughts are a little bit more open. For the high end, I am with you both all the way and wish that we could educate people again in the worthiness of high quality or even entry level quality shoes (blake, goodyear, etc). I do this with all of my patients who have orthopedic problems with the feet as well as fungal, but it isn't going to work for everyone. Too many people are used to the massive cheap shoe industry for the disposable society that we have. Only the rich or people who have been lucky to learn about these types of shoes realize the potential.
     
  17. VRaivio

    VRaivio Senior member

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    ...while we're on the subject of evaporations and shoe leathers, here's a nice study to check out:

    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.b4489325;page=root;view=image;size=100;seq=588;num=1092

    It's an old one, to be sure, but I'm confident that hides haven't changed much in a century. The tests and results tell us that the coolest leather is suede, followed by buck, and a suprise bronze medal winner, sharkskin. Calfskin seems unpleasant when compared to the winners. More pleasant still are white duck, canvas and nylon mesh. All are great for the heavy sweater.
     
  18. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    Wow that is a nice old study to add, but it seems that the science backing it is still legitimate. It is still giving a relative porosity that should be factoring the thickness of the leather types and shows that the coated leathers as well as patent are much worse as we discussed, but actually many times worse than even I expected. It also shows the huge decrease in porosity of the sole leather for both veg and chrome tanned soles. The porosity of the different leather types besides calf actually makes sense, because in many of those cases you can actually see the pores like pig/hog, etc.

    Suede and nubuck make sense since they are from a deeper part of the skin/hide of the animal. The purpose of the highest level (superficial layer) of skin is to release oils and prevent other foreign substances from entering our bodies while having pores that open when needed to allow for evaporative cooling out of the body and through the skin. That is why when you remove the top layer, the leather (like suede) feels very comfortable in warm weather because it is very breathable. It no longer has those extremely protective natural coatings and allows more airflow through it.
    This may not be extremely important for the amount of evaporation leading to fungal infections (because the liquid is lost in many ways), but I think that it is important for overall heat variances that the foot feels.

    In the veg tan vs chrome tan leathers, the veg tan is more porous because there is a smaller amount of fat/grease in the leather (3% vs 27% at the time of this experiment). That alone makes a case for veg tan vs chrome tan in lining and possibly uppers, when possible.

    That is also why shell cordovan can feel so warm. It is actually not leather but a membrane between the skin and muscle which is not very porous. This keeps in the heat, but is also what makes the leather so durable in wear.
     
  19. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    Either thongs or suede shoes (unlined) for summer time?. Thanks VRaivio.
     
  20. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    haha but the science behind the study seems okay.
     

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