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Real leather products are beautiful and are great investment pieces. In the footwear world, a genuine leather shoe adapts to your foot over time, so the shoe will fit and feel better with more wear. This makes it more comfortable and also gives it unique characteristics. How great is that?!
But how can you guarantee that an item is made of genuine leather and not artificial? There are a few characteristics to look out for and some simple tests that will help guide you to be more assured that you are not being fooled. These may be applied to any type of product in question such shoes, bags or clothing.
A few tips and tests to guide you on how to identify real leather:
Natural leather products have a beautiful and unique ‘leather’ smell that cannot be mimicked on synthetic materials. Products such as leather smelling sprays do exist, but these tend to wear out over time. Boutiques that sell leather items usually have that beautiful and distinct smoky smell that you can sense right upon entering
Scratches, creases and wrinkles are a quality that you usually want to avoid when purchasing a new product, but natural leathers tend to have distinguishable marks and imperfections on them. This is because leather comes from real animals of course, and scratches, stretch marks and veining are a few of the characteristics that you will expect to see on their skins. In saying that, marks will become less visible if a skin is treated (such as with dyes or coatings). A heavily treated natural leather is still real leather, although it will lose some of the natural qualities that may have been on the hide. The quality of life of the animal affects the amount of scarring to expect on the skin, and this is when leather grading comes into play. Leather grades A, B and C are used as an indicator to identify the amount of damage or defect on a skin (this is separate from the actual quality).
B. Color Change
The color of natural leathers will change over time and when exposed to light or when folded, while synthetic materials will remain more rigid and even.
The pores in natural leathers are distributed unevenly and have inconsistent patterns. Synthetic leathers, although may have pores (as manufacturers have found more ways to make them look more like real leather), will have a consistent repeating pattern. These pores, actually stamped onto the material, may look realistic but in fact are not.
Real leather products are unique in character and behavior. The more you can touch and feel the product, the easier it is to identify a product as being made of real versus artificial leather. At the end of it, if a product feels like plastic, it most likely is made of synthetic materials. But if it is smooth, feels and looks luxurious, it probably is the genuine leather product that deserves your attention.
So shop the Rana Cheikha and Wander Collections to invest in a pair of handmade shoes in genuine leather.
Also use our guides that include How To Keep your Shoes Shinning and Travel the World with Your Best Shoes to make sure they’re always looking great!
Signing-off: The Shoe Advisor
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