The reality is that wearing black suede is no different than wearing black calf. Especially in 2022 where most rules of dress code barely exist. I never understood how black calf can be so popular but black suede so unpopular. Or maybe, rather, so underserved. And what I mean by that is that I think people actually like black suede but for some reason are afraid of wearing it. But why are you afraid of it? And due to this fear, companies don’t often release it for a fear of a lack of sales and so the cycle goes round and black suede continues to get pushed off the shelf.
Personally speaking, I love black suede and wear it regularly. As I write this I am wearing it. In fact, I am wearing right now what you see in the post photos here. I could honestly wear black suede daily. I could even replace my calfskin shoes with it. But, of course, not for formal events ;-). I own black suede brogues, chelsea boots, chukka boots, slipper loafers, penny loafers, butterfly loafers, double monks, and even derby boots. The only models I am missing them in are an all-black suede button boot, oxford boots, and a wholecut oxford (surprisingly enough). And I find it so incredibly easy to wear. It simply pairs well with everything. And if that is the case for me, why not for others? Well, I know why in reality. So let’s start to break down those myths.
The first myth is that suede is delicate. Not true. Cheap suede is delicate. Quality suede is not. Many higher-end suedes are actually treated at the tannery for water repelling. CF Stead, of the UK, scotch guards their suede before selling it to shoemakers. I imagine other reputable companies do the same. Therefore, you do not need to worry about ruining it so easily by going out in the rain. Good suede endures.
The other reason is that the black does not stay black. Again, like above, good quality maintains. But of course, upkeep is always needed for anything that involves looking one’s best. It’s not that you can just wear the shoes in all kinds of weather/environments and nothing will happen. You must maintain it. You can do so with a good steamer and periodically steam the suede which will rejuvenate the color. Brush it down daily so that dust does not remain on the suede. That will help. A good steaming and brush down goes a long way in keeping the color vibrant.
‘Black suede is not dressy.’ I find this to be a silly statement. In fact, the only thing I believe is more dressy than black suede is black calfskin. And maybe a dark brown with a high shine. Black is always ‘dressy’ as it is subtle. It absorbs light and therefore does not reflect it which often leads to distraction. It is subtle, discreet yet elegant. It looks great with a suit, as you can see here. But the beauty of it, is because it is suede, it is versatile and pairs well with a more casual look, as well. It’s versatility is high which is why it always baffled me that it was not more popular.
As you can see, black suede is easy to wear, acceptable in most dress-style environments, and easy to upkeep providing one is not a clumsy stepper hitting all of the puddles and spilling beer on it. So embrace the black suede and find yourself with a new option to look forward to!
All shoes by my own brand, J.FitzPatrick Footwear