Why Do Leather Shoes Need Breaking In
One of the questions we get asked often is why are our shoes or Goodyear welted shoes generally so hard when they start off. The story goes back to where the leathers were made, how long it's been perhaps kept in waiting and such. So usually let's say we place orders for leathers at a European tannery. Either they're ready in stock or sometimes they have to be made. If they have already been made and are waiting in a warehouse it's more likely that it has been there for a few weeks sometimes maybe even a few months if they have to be made that's still a good six weeks of making time and then there's the shipping in which they put it into a container or a pallet and then send it out to us. Here it comes and sits in the leather format sometimes for a few days before we start to cut it out to make a pair for you.
A Leather Hide
Another possible factor is the waiting time itself, in our case our shoes aren't made and kept in a box for for any amount of time because they're all made to order so there's no kind of waiting time of the shoe itself but all this kind of makes the leather stiff while it's just been waiting to be worn. But once you start to wear it the leather starts to break as in the chemicals that have been used to make the leather, they can start to flex on the inside of the leather and this adds flexibility over time. What helps in that process is your body temperature and sweat perspiration which kind of help the fibers to break down and make it flex around the flex points where it needs to. Then we've got the biggest thing which is the vegetable tan leather.
Vegetable tan leathers do tend to be a bit stiffer to start off with but over time they add a great deal of comfort to your feet. Now we're using vegetable tanned both in the in the outsole and on the insole, with the inside part of your shoes having about a good four to five millimeters thickness and the outside having another four millimeters and then you've got between the two, bits of cork mixed along with glue that form a kind of paste and that goes in to fill the cavity. Now as you can imagine, all that put together can make for quite a hard thick layer to start off with but that's not to be concerned because once you start to wear the shoe, it flexes where it needs to and because it's a nice leather, it tends to kind of wrap around your feet to give you that nice snug feel.
Upper Flex Points
Breaking into a GYW Shoe
That's what separates good materials from not so good ones and if it's breathable and you're not using glues between your uppers and linings, the feet helps it to become soft and comfortable over time so just give it a few days at most. They say it's about 10 hours of wear is what it takes to break into a pair of shoes. Another thing to keep in mind is the different types of soles you've got like rubber, leather and lug sole but some come with a midsole. As you add more layers you can imagine it makes it a bit stiffer but that's only to start off with. The leather used in suede doesn't really have a break-in period for the upper itself but the sole would. So different shoes, different constructions, different materials tend to start off a bit harder on the first wear but over time the idea is that it should give you support and comfort as you wear it more and more.
We have recently launched our new and latest Easy Goodyear Collection made with fine milled leather which is very soft right from the start and needs no break-in period. This is a great starter for anyone entering into the Goodyear welted market. Browse through our collection to know more