Popular Leather Finishes and their Care
Quality footwear invariably uses tanned and often dyed leather. Such leather serves as the foundation for the different finishes that include suede, nubuck, aniline, full-grain finish, and antique finish.
The finish influences the appearance and ruggedness of the leather boots. Information on finishes will enable you to make more informed purchase decisions and also be better placed to care for your boots.
Suede leather is the reverse side of calfskin. It has a unique appearance and is prized for the soft and fuzzy look it brings to boots. You can have boots made entirely of suede or use this finish for trims and effect. Thicker the leather, more durable it will be, and this holds true for suede leather too. Regular light brushing is the best way to ensure that your suede boots retain their appeal. Protect them from wetness and dampness.
Nubuck replicates the look of suede. However, the finish is artificially created by buffing the top grain to give rise to a short layer of protein fibers. Nubuck leather is generally thicker and more durable than suede, and it costs more. The leather is dyed and stained to achieve the desired color. The delicate nature of nubuck nap requires a special brush for gentle cleaning.
Aniline leather is treated with soluble dyes; the surface is not coated with any sealants or pigments. The deliberately minimal processing yields a leather that displays characteristics of the original hide; imperfections and the grain are visible. These make for a pleasant appearance. Aniline leather is usually made from the best quality hides. To care for these boots, remove the insoles to dry after a long trip. Remove laces and clean dirt off the boots. Polish the leather. Apply a protective coating to seal open pores and leave the boots out to dry.
It’s a soft and natural finish wherein the leather is not dyed or altered in any way. Only, a protective sealant is applied so that its weathering properties are improved.
This finish uses two different colors, and multiple coats of the colors may be applied till the desired shade is achieved. Once the two-toned appearance is acquired, a sealant is applied.