I have been reading a bit lately on the forums and seeing how one brand (one of the best that is) in particular is taking a lot of flack for how one specific leather of theirs is marking quite easily (from what looks to me like rough wear) and customers being thoroughly disappointed with that and expecting not only full refunds but kicking up more than a fuss than necessary in my humble opinion. Now if I try to put myself into the perspective of the clients, I can understand that if I am spending over £1000 for a product, I would want it to be of good quality and uphold its price tag. But this is where some people forget about what is the fault of the manufacturer and what is the fault of nature (i.e. the material that they are buying and how delicate it can be). You have to separate yourself from the price you spent and think about the facts.
If I bought a 100% wool flannel suit and wore it 3 times a week on the tube (sitting down), I would be a fool to expect that my trousers would not blow out at the crotch in no less than a years time (if not sooner). I would be a fool to expect linen not to wrinkle. I would be a fool to expect cotton not to stain easily. I would be a fool because I know that these things happen and when choosing specific leathers for shoes, it goes the same way. All leathers act and react differently. Some leathers hold up better in harsh weather, some leathers scratch easier, some leathers are softer, some are stiffer, some can be easily shined, others not so much.
As a person buying shoes and spending lots of money, it is your job to know these things before investing a lot of money into something. Just because something happens to your shoes does not make it automatically the manufacturers fault. I remember the first time I ever got a G&G shoe and I went out in it to the pub. I remember being very careful with the shoes and being aware of my surroundings but somehow when I got home, I noticed a great big scratch about 1.5 inches long on the toe cap. Was that G&G’s fault even though I did not actually hit my toe anywhere? The problem with people is that we often don’t realize what we do or how hard we are on our clothing and if we are spending a lot of money (or what feels like a lot to us) we automatically cannot ever think to admit that what did happen, happened because of us. That is the problem.
So, I have seen these shoes with what obviously looks like wear and tear from everyday normal life and these people are freaking out due to it because this specific leather shows the wear and tear more than most other leathers do. It’s not that the leather is actually at fault, it’s that its very nature is to be more delicate i.e. for a scuff to look more detrimental than it really is. That is just the way that leather is. But what is crazy to me, is that this leather also shines very beautifully and easily can be fixed with a good polish session yet people are so quick to complain without every attempting a polish or to think about the situation before immediately blaming the manufacturer and expecting a refund. Its like crashing your Lamborghini and expecting it to take it like a Hummer would? Come on people, don’t be so quick to be unrealistic.
Leather is leather, no matter how much the shoe cost. It scratches, it creases, it rips, it stains, it does things that cannot be explained. And when it does these things it is not immediately the fault of the tannery, the manufacturer or the person that sold the shoe. It is just leather and more likely than not can be fixed.
This post is not intended to be harsh at those experiencing this specific issue but hopefully to have the eyes opened a bit and realize that leather is and always will be something that was living and reacts and acts in ways we might not always like but that does not mean anything could have been done by the makers/shoe producers nor is it automatically their fault.
Please see great examples of shoe rejuvenation by Shoe Shine UK.