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How to treat different leather types?

Polishing time

25-30 minuten

Difficulty:

Beginners

Introduction

Each leather type needs it's own, unique care. From cleaning, to nourishing and protecting the products neccesary can be quite different for each step. Below we have written a short guide for each of the most common leather types. Some leather types have a more in-depth guide available. If so we link to those as well.

Leather type

Smooth leather / Calfskin

If you have read our guides you probably have noticed us using the term "smooth leather". That is because most of the popular products by Saphir Médaille d'Or are suited for most smooth leather types. The most common smooth leather is calfskin leather. Chances are high that your dress shoes are made out of calfskin leather as well.

Calfskin leather is available in a large variety of qualities. In order ranging from high to low quality: Full grain calfskin, box calfskin, corrected grain, bookbinder calf.

For more information on how you can best care for calfskin leather you can check our beginner shoe care guide or advanced shoe care guide.

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Leather type

Suede & Nubuck

A beautiful pair of suede or nubuck shoes usually fits and feels great due to its flexible characteristics; this is why suede is most people’s favourite type of leather. Suede should, as well as for example smooth leather, be treated well with the right products, to prevent from drying out and tearing.

Both suede and nubuck use the same products. Want to learn more about how you can best care for your suede shoes? Be sure to give our suede & nubuck care guide a read.

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Leather type

Sneakers

Even though sneakers aren't technically a leather type, they do have their own way of taking care of them. Usually sneaker products are a bit more universal. Sprays are therefore often water based instead of oil based used for leather.

You can click below for a starter guide on how to take care of your sneakers or read this full guide.

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Leather type

Cordovan

Cordovan leather is a very different type of leather when compared to calfskin. This is why a special cream called Saphir Médaille d'Or Cordovan cream has been developed. This cream has a very low level of turpentine (solvents) because cordovan does not respond well to solvents. Cordovan leather is firmer and sturdier than most calfskin leathers and therefore tends to last for a very long time.

Want to treat your cordovan the classic way? Have a look at a polishing bone by Abbeyhorn. This bone is full of natural oils used traditionally to take care of cordovan leather.

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Leather type

Patent leather

Patent leather is a coated type of leather that has a very shiny finish. The leather has been coated with a layer of lacquer that is very glossy. Patent leather shoes were originally worn under a tuxedo with formal events. Nowadays, patent leather shoes are worn with both formal and everyday outfits. When coated leather has been damaged and scratches have formed, it’s not possible to restore this. However, using the right products can easily conceal this.

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Leather type

Nappa

Nappa usually comes from lamb or sheepskin and is a very delicate kind of leather. Nappa is famous for it’s softness and durability. This is why nappa is a convenient type of leather for all sorts of products such as furniture, shoes, leather gloves and other leather products such as bags and wallets. This soft leather also needs a silky smooth cream for the perfect treatment and maintenance. Saphir has developed a cream especially for nappa: Saphir Médaille d'Or Nappa cream. This product cleans, nourishes and protects your nappa leather goods against cracking, water and dirt.

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Leather type

Reptile and other exotic leather types

Reptile leather is one of the rarest and most valuable leathers out there. Most famous is crocodile leather, however snake leather is a beautiful kind of reptile leather as well. Reptile is totally different when compared with calfskin leather and should thus be treated differently. Saphir Médaille d'Or has developed a special delicate cream to treat all exotic leather types. This cream is called Saphir Médaille d'Or Reptile cream.

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