We’re now in the first official week of fall. Nothing signals the start of autumn better than the busting out of suede shoes (from a sartorial perspective at least). From a sneaker to a tasseled loafer or a boot, suede is always a great option. From work to weekend, a suede detail or a full-on suede, can make fall that much more stylish.
Here’s a quick Suede 101 ‘Shoetorial’:
-Suede is actually formed by sanding, or roughing up the tiny ends of the underside of leather, until a soft finish results. The name comes from the French term “gants de Suede,” or “gloves of Sweden.”
-Suede has a nap which is the key to giving suede its characteristic soft hand or feel. The fibers must be manipulated, in order to pull them up from the leather.
-Any fabric that has a nap can also be referred to as having a ‘sueded finish’ or having a suede-nap. An example being a pair of chinos. The technical suede, though, is that which is made from leather.
-Suede is actually made from many different types of animal hide. The most often used leather is lamb. Other animal hides used include cow (calf), goat, deer and pig/swine.
-Fine suede can a very delicate material and can be used in tailored clothing. Swine or pig suede is very durable and is often used for casual boots.
-It easily absorbs liquids and is difficult to clean. Always protect suede with stain guard spray, BEFORE wearing, and invest in a good suede brush.
-Always try to brush the nap of the suede in the same direction.
-Use the suede brush after each wearing (if possible), this will refresh the nap and clean the suede.
-When applying a stain protector, take the manufactures’ advise, and test in on a small area, maybe in the back, to prevent from ruining the color. Also, re-apply often, to keep the level of protection.
-Here’s a suggestion from our own Cator Sparks, by gently rubbing the shoes against on another, you will brush away the stain or mark, without damaging the nap.
-The last tip is to invest in a suede eraser or cleaning block which will crumble as you rub the stain. Then use your suede brush to remove the eraser crumbs.
Here are a five brands that are doing suede right.
Joules – This great canvas and suede shoe from a great British brand, how available in the U.S. is a perfect way to ease into some suede. Perfect to wear with your favorite pair of denim.
Tretorn for J. Press – This sporty collaboration can’t get much better. It might just be the perfect shoe to sport with a tailored pair of khakis for a football game.
Cole Haan – An American Classic, Cole Haan has mixed suede with leather, along with a sneaker and a wingtip. Comfort and style my friend.
Sebago – A suede demi-boot can go from the office to a more casual destination wedding. Often known for their sailing or dockside perennials’, Sebago can do it all for fall.
Oliver Spencer – Another brand from across the pond. Oliver Spencer, known for his great tailored sportswear, gives us this dressy suede take on a tasseled favorite.