The art of Patina Shoes

Published : 01/05/2017 17:54:11

We will have all noticed the way that a pair of well-loved and well-worn leather shoes begin to change their look and colour with the passage of time. We're talking about the distinctive look of patina. Just as raw jeans wear and fade over time, your shoes, along as the leather is of good quality, will develop the distinctive character of patina over the years. It is possible, however, to create the attractive look of patina shoes yourself without having to wait for the years to pass.

A natural patina

A natural patina is produced by the effect of time and the environment on the leather of your shoes. Rain, dust, sunlight, cleaning products, and the occasional accidental scuff will all tend to make their mark or erode the leather of your footwear. But when this footwear is of high quality, such everyday occurrences are not a problem. Quite the contrary, in fact; as this kind of aging and weathering will give a certain character to your patina, a uniquely distressed look that many people would seek out enthusiastically, the way they go for washed-out and torn jeans.

An artificial patina

However, the problem is that aging and weathering take time, and some people don’t have the patience to wait for such effects to appear naturally through the course of everyday use, or they find that the natural patina is not sufficiently pronounced for their taste. Fortunately for them, it is possible to simulate this aged and worn aspect, and even push the concept further by using various treatments and different colours to give a particular character to your shoes, one that is intentionally designed and controlled, rather than being left to random chance. For example, have you ever seen shoes with an imitation wood patina?

Benjamin oxford shoes wood patina

Oxford shoes by Crespin with wooden patina - Model Benjamin

The artificial aging process

The first step is often to strip the surface of the shoe with products that will make it more receptive to an artificially applied patina. Such products may include acetone, or even bleach. However, these products are best used on older shoes on which you want to apply a patina. Here at Crespin, we apply the patina on leather that is referred to as raw, i.e. untreated and flesh-coloured leather. We do not use any cleaning products, as these have a tendency to damage the leather. We work directly on a high-quality calfskin from the Tanneries du Puy.

Crespin shoes raw leather for patina

Pair of double monk straps by Crespin in raw leather - Model Jean

For the second step, it is necessary to uniformly apply the background colour, which will form the chromatic base of your patina. This colour should be lighter than the layers that are applied on top, as would be done when painting on canvas.

Background color on Crespin shoes

Background color for Crespin Havana Patina - Model Benjamin

The third step is an application of several layers of dyes, always starting from the lightest and working towards the darkest. Each patina artist has their own techniques to achieve the desired patination effects. This is the most technical part of the process.

Patina shoes crespin paris

Applying top layers on this same Crespin Havana Patina - Model Benjamin

The last step is the finish of the patina shoes. This is done in accordance with the wishes of the customer, so it is possible to apply a glaze, or not, as required.

The Renaissance Cuir Atelier

At Crespin, we entrust Sébastien and Christophe, co-founders of Renaissance Cuir, located at 43, Rue de Clery, 75002, Paris, to create our patina shoes. Their accomplished technique and skilful brush strokes in applying the perfect patina to footwear are the envy of the finest luxury brands.

Sebastien from Renaissance Cuir

Sebastien - Co-founder of Renaissance Cuir - Picture by benjamin Gueneau

Christophe de Renaissance Cuir

Christophe - Co-founder of Renaissance Cuir - Picture by benjamin Gueneau

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