Jesper Ingvaldsson THE FOUNDER OF SHOEGAZING.SE, ONE OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BLOGS AND FORUMS FOR QUALITY SHOES
A lot of people are worried about wearing suede as they see it as a delicate material, would you say they’re right?
“No, absolutely not, it’s the opposite in many ways. If you impregnate suede with a good impregnation spray it handles moisture significantly better than shoes made from regular leather which is why a lot of people often wear suede during winter. The drawback, seen from a durability perspective, is that it is much harder to properly restore suede if its scuffed badly or worn down in places compared to regular leather.
How do you protect suede and best look after your boots and shoes?
“Spray them with a quality impregnation spray before first use, preferably one without silicone. After that you just brush them down after every use with a horsehair brush, alternatively a suede brush, to lift the suede fibres a little. You might have to clean suede shoes more often than leather shoes as dirt clings to the material more once it’s set. Wash with a mild leather shampoo under running water and spray them once they’re dry. Don’t forget that the sole and heel edges are made from regular leather and will therefore need some shoe polish applied regularly.
Suede feels softer than other leather shoes. Is it the case that they stretch more and if so, is it wise to go smaller when choosing a size and trying them on?
The reason suede feels softer is partly due to its structure which makes it easier to mould. And then there’s the fact that most of the suede used is of the so-called split variety that is created by splitting the hide and sanding down the inside of both parts. That means that suede is often thinner and therefore tends to stretch a bit more. Reverse calf suede is just as thick as regular leather however. Suede is also less tolerant of stretching, meaning that you can’t pull too hard on it when it’s moulded into shape on the shoe last. Some manufacturers’ suede shoes therefore feel a bit more spacious than shoes made from regular leather.