Which is the right colour of shoe cream for your shoes?

A question we often receive by our customers is which colour of shoe cream to choose. Our 1925 Cream is now available in 14 different colours, so for sure there will be the right colour for your shoes!

In this article we would like to explain to you a little bit how the colour of smooth leather shoes is created and how this colour can be maintained or even altered if desired.

To begin with, let’s have a look at how the leather of shoes is made. In the tannery where the raw hides are transferred into the leather from which your shoes are made, several tanning agents and other products are used that will then determine the look of the leather.

But not only in the tannery, also at a later stage in the shoe factory, products are applied to the leather that then give it the look your shoes have when you buy them.

A very common thing in the shoe industry is, that the leather is bought as an unfinished leather, often referred to as “Crust” leather and the actual finishing is then done by the shoe producer once the shoe is made.

This step is called „antiquing“ or “finishing” and is done using high pigment pastes that change the appearance of the shoe quite drastically to its then finished look.

In the photo on the right you can see what the shoes look like before they are antiqued or finished. The colour of the leather is much lighter than it will be on the finished shoe. 

Shoe producers do this to have better control over the final look of a shoe and can also achieve a greater variety of colours from the same type of leather. Sometimes the antiquing is even used to cover up minor flaws in the leather. 

On the left you can see how the antiquing paste is applied and how this starts to change the colour of the shoe to a darker shade of brown. These creams do penetrate the leather and dye them quite persistently but a great amount of the used cream sits on top of the leather and can over time be removed by wearing the shoes.

Knowing that, we now can decide which colour is the right one for your shoes. Let’s say you’ve just bought a nice pair of shoes in a mid brown colour. The intuitive choice would be to use our 1925 Cream in Medium Brown or Parisian Brown which is a great choice. After a while you might find that the shoes become  a bit lighter in colour from wearing them and exposing them to the weather.This change of colour is caused by the original antiquing paste being slowly removed.

To make up for that, just use our 1925 Cream in Dark Brown to revive the initial antiquing effect and maintain the look of your shoes when you bought them. Therefore it is recommended to have our 1925 Cream in a slightly darker shade as an addition in your shoe care kit.

Burgundy and Bordeaux coloured shoes are often made from a leather that is a much lighter and brighter shade of red  and are then treated with a black antiquing paste.

If you find that your burgundy shoes start to get a bit lighter in colour and you want to keep them in a more subtle shade of red, apply a little amount of black cream and you will find that you can control the shade of red very nicely using darker creams.

But what if you would like your shoes to be a slightly lighter shade than they originally were? No problem, but we have to take one additional step before applying the cream in the desired colour. You can use our plant based Cleaner to strip the original antiquing and reveal the lighter leather underneath. Because the 1925 Cream contains real pigments that penetrate and dye the leather we can now change the shade of the shoe to our desired shade. Please be aware that this only works on leather that has been antiqued like you find it on most Goodyear-welted shoes of decent quality. Some shoes might be made from a leather that has a coating which doesn’t allow the colour to be changed.

This is to show you the great possibilities when using our 1925 Cream that contains natural turpentine and real colour pigments. Since the majority of the premium shoe manufacturers use Saphir products to finish their shoes, you can maintain the original finish with the very same products by choosing Saphir. With a little practice you will get great control over the shade of colour your shoes have.