What Is Patent Leather?
Patent leather shoes are now a staple in modern formal occasions and events. But did you know that patent leather has been around for many centuries?
It was in 1818 when Seth Boyden, an American inventor, developed patent leather. Affluent families quickly adopted it as a fashion statement for their children’s footwear. These days, however, patent leather has become more commonplace, specifically in dress shoes.
Patent Leather – A Quick Definition
Patent leather is the term used when referring to any leather finished with a high gloss surface. The specific materials used to make this high gloss finish can differ among manufacturers. But in general, these materials contain lacquer, polyurethane, and other types of composite resins.
Patent leather is also known in various names in different locales, including lacquered leather, japanned leather, and enameled leather.
Properties Of Patent Leather
Below are the qualities of patent leather that you should know:
- It is almost waterproof.
- Its coating tends to crack with wear and tear.
- It doesn’t stretch due to the plastic casing.
- It is easy to clean.
- It is flexible.
- It is often black but can also be available in other colors.
Common End Uses And Applications Of Patent Leather
The patent leather material is typically used for the following:
- Military dress uniforms
- Semi-formal or formal clothing
How To Care For Patent Leather
Patent leather is considered one of the most sensitive types of smooth leather. The surface is coated and varnished to achieve a high gloss finish. In the case of crinkled patent leather, the film on the leather skins is crinkled first before it is applied to create the crinkled effect. This forms the distinct embossed pattern on the surface of the material.
Patent leather is most commonly used for accessories, shoes, and some garment pieces. However, if patent leather products are used every day, some signs of wear may show on the surface. Pressure cracks, in particular, may become evident right away on trousers or jackets made from patent leather. This is the reason why it is important that you know how to care for patent leather properly.
The best way to clean patent leather is to use a damp microfiber cloth. However, you have to be extra careful if you are dealing with light-colored patent leather since it can slightly absorb color pigments, making it impossible to clean.
Also, since patent leather has a special coating, the surfaces might end up sticking together if you don’t store the garments correctly. To separate the surfaces, you can use benzine or other special products for cleaning leather. But you should avoid using greases and oils since these can penetrate between the leather’s surface and the film. Any blotches that may form are almost impossible to remove.
To keep your patent leather products elastic and glossy, there are now many products that you can use to clean the material and maintain it afterward. You can also use a soft cloth to polish the leather and retain its glossy top surface.