There are essentially two types of leather used in Loake shoes: Full grain calf and corrected grain side leather from a mature cowhide. When selecting a new pair of shoes or boots it’s important to appreciate the differences:
Full grain calf is the outermost layer of the skin of a relatively young animal. The leathers tend to be soft and supple and therefore less likely to crack in the long term. Because this is the outermost layer of the leather it is possible to see the grain of the leather. This also means that any flaws in the leather, perhaps caused by barbed wire, mean that Loake would have to reject effected areas of the hide. Full grain calf leathers are expensive and do take a little effort to obtain a high shine. However the effort is worth it and these shoes just go on and on.
A cow hide can be surprisingly thick and it is possible to split the hides into different layers. Layers which lie below the outermost layer will not have a grain but also don’t tend to be susceptible to cuts and grazes. Loake will abrade these ‘side’ leather hides in order to produce a smooth finish. One clear advantage of these corrected side leathers is that the smooth hide allows a shinier finish, one which is easier to maintain for the subsequent user. However such leathers, coming from an older animal, will be less flexible than calf leathers and are cheaper. Loake will therefore use them in their less expensive collections such as: Loake Shoemakers, Loake Lifestyle, Design Loake and the Loake L1 collection.