Loake shoes

The hides from which leather shoes are made are available to shoe manufacturers in a number of different grades and qualities.  Generally speaking there are two distinct categories: side leathers and calf leathers and although these two categories can be subdivided into further groupings it is useful when buying a pair of shoes to know what leathers have been used for the uppers.
Side leather is a generic term for leathers from a mature hide and tend to be fairly stiff and often marked by the scars and scratches which an animal inevitably receives during its life.  Subsequently the leather tends to be mechanically treated to remove the outer layer and the natural grain.  As a result the leather tends to be fairly smooth and can receive a high shine finish.  This type of finish is fairly popular and is apparent in certain Loake shoes, for example the Loake 747 toecap Oxford and the Loake Paisley monk shoe.  However because it is fairly stiff side leather isn’t particularly supple so the shoe will tend to develop a couple of significant creases on the shoe’s forepart where the shoe bends.  Wear is then concentrated in these crease areas and subsequently these areas will, eventually, split, but not after many years of good wear.
Calf leathers come from relatively young animals and are processed before the hides receive scratches and scores.  Consequently their outer layers don’t require mechanical processing and can retain their ‘full grain’ finish.  Coming from a young animal calf leathers are softer and fairly supple and so the uppers don’t develop harsh creases.  This means less wear and so they tend to last much longer than side leathers.  Shoemakers tend to use calf leathers in their better grades of shoe.  Calf leathers are solely used in the Loake 1880 and Evolution collections such as the Loake Aldwych toecap Oxford and the Loake Buckingham brogue.

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