SOLOVAIr leather explained ...
We are often asked the difference between the various types of leather used to manufacture Solovair footwear. We have presented a brief summary of our finishes and basic care tips suited for each leather type to help you find your ideal shoe or boot.
The majority of Solovair boots (including our bestselling Black 8 Eye Derby Boots) are made using smooth corrected leather. Corrected leather is created by splitting full-grain leather, buffing or sanding the grain surface to remove marks or imperfections, and then applying a man-made coating to create a Hi-Shine 'smooth' finish.
To clean smooth leather, we recommend using a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt. For general maintenance, apply a good quality shoe polish or cream using a dry cloth or soft brush for buffing. Explore our Accessories Collection to find all your shoe care essentials.
Full-grain leather has a higher quality grade compared to smooth leather because it has no imperfections. As this leather still has the original surface (including the hair cells), it can be nurtured, polished and waterproofed by the owner. Over time, the leather becomes softer without becoming brittle or peeling as some cheaper ‘smooth’ leathers do. Explore our Solovair Premium Collection styles which are all made from full-grain leather.
To nourish full-grain leather, we recommend our Waterstop Care Kit, which has all the necessary essentials for your footwear. The kit contains one 75ml natural polish, one 75ml coloured polish of your choice, a medium horsehair brush and a lint-free cloth for buffing.
Patent leather is created using the same method as smooth Hi-Shine leather, the difference being that the final coating is a patent. Although glossy in finish, patent leather is not waterproof and should not be worn in extremely wet conditions. It is also important to protect the surface of patent leather from being deeply scratched or broken as the nature of patent finish means any damage cannot be restored.
To care for patent leather, we recommend using a soft bristle brush to dislodge dirt and debris. To remove scuff marks, use a pencil eraser! Lastly, wipe away any debris or eraser shavings using a damp cloth before applying a patent leather cleaner to renew the shine.
Greasy leather is full-grain quality but impregnated with an oil to give a supple, waterproof finish. Greasy leather also tends to be thicker, taking a little longer to break-in. You cannot achieve a shine on this leathers matte finish, it just needs to be fed with Dubbin wax, oil or grease for nourishment.
Gaucho leather is identical to Greasy leather with its full-grain and impregnated oil qualities. Gaucho leather, however, utilises a different tanning technique which enables impressions to be seen along creases when worn, to create a unique distressed look. All marks are removed by a new application of Dubbin wax or grease.
Rub-off is a technique applied to smooth Hi-Shine leather. To start the technique, an initial colour (e.g. Burgundy) is placed on the leather followed by a second colour application over the top in a darker colour (e.g. Black). The topcoat is then ‘rubbed off’ to reveal the initial colour below to complete the rub-off look. With time and general wear, the rub-off finish can become more pronounced.
For general leather care for rub-off leathers, we recommend a good quality shoe polish and a soft polishing horsehair brush.
Our Horween is a 'pull-up' leather which comes from the world famous Horween tannery in the USA. Pull up leather is coloured using aniline dyes, and sealed with natural oils or waxes instead of paints, pigments or coatings. Characteristics of this leather type include the movement of internal greases when footwear is worn or flexed resulting in a rugged aged look, similar to that of the Gaucho finish. Due to a high grease content, any marks or scratches can be easily buffed away with Dubbin wax.
Suede is made from the underside of a leather hide while Nubuck is made from the outer surface. Suede and Nubuck have similar high-grade qualities to full-grain leather.
We recommend applying a suede and Nubuck protectant before wearing your footwear for the first time. A suede brush can be used to remove dust and restore the nap after each use. Suede and Nubuck should be kept away from large amounts of water due to its porous quality.
Explore the entire Solovair Collection
Get the latest news, straight to your inbox!