To Suede or Not To Suede | Blog | Martel+Ram

That is the age old question: Can I wear suede in the winter? 

Answer: Yes, as long as it's good quality and you take a little bit of extra precaution - as we are all in practice of doing these days.

Suede is skin - and like our skin - suede is absorbent - but water is not the enemy.

Suede, like all leather or fabric, comes in many forms and varying levels of quality. Let us explain...

The term suede comes from the French gants de Suède, which literally means "gloves from Sweden" as the material was originally used for making women's gloves.

Suede is made from the underside of an animal skin or hide. The underside of the skin has a natural textured 'nap' which gives the material its soft character. Skins with the tougher outer layer of the hide still in tact are referred to as full-grain and these are the highest quality due to their thickness and versatility.

A 'split' suede is created when a full-grain hide is split into two thinner skins, thus creating a skin with a double-sided nap. When done correctly, this process provides two soft, lighter weight skins suitable for excellent shoemaking - but when done for economy, the result can yield thin skins with less intrinsic grain structure and durability.

Sueded leather is naturally absorbent due to the open texture and pores; therefore, it is important that steps are taken during and after the tanning process to add protection from the elements. 

Now...Martel+Ram is a London-based company. Despite the promise of global warming, it still rains here quite a bit, so we make all our soft suede shoes with a suede known affectionately as Go-Rain. This exceptional Italian suede is treated in the tanning process with a water-resistant finish to help prevent over-absorption, so we can safely recommend our shoes as suited for the upcoming English winter - or whatever winter is like where you live. Should you find yourself in a gale, simply let your shoes fully dry naturally and then give them a good buffing with a soft brush to bring the nap back to life.

As an extra added level of protection, we also recommend a bit of monthly maintenance. Despite our best efforts in manufacturing, giving your suede (or trusty old oxford shoes) a bit of love with a protector spray will help maintain the factory applied protection as normal wear-and-tear on footwear will break down the top level of protection on your shoes over time. A little extra care will prolong the life of your shoes and keep them looking new.

We suggest a nano-protector type of spray for leather, which can be found commonly online today - but the best of these is Super Invulner, from the famous French shoe-care company Safir.

Safir Super Invulner Spray is a highly-concentrated water repellent containing fluoridated resin. It protects against rain, snow, dirt, grease, food and drink stains. Formulated without silicone, it contains a non-aggressive and non-greasy solvent to avoid damaging or discolouring fragile surfaces. It is suitable for use on the most expensive and delicate materials such as suede, nappa leather and silk.

A far easier process than a traditional monthly shoe polish, a quick spray will last for weeks and you need not be afraid to venture out in any inclement weather.

As a rule of thumb - we would still like to advise against eating unruly salads or overly-aggressive spaghetti twirling - as it is oil that will be the bane of any nice new pair of shoes no matter what you do. Just a warning...

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