While the real McCoy will last a lifetime and look damn good while doing so, cheap and nasty leather has a habit of falling to pieces in a matter of days and looking, well, pretty naff until it reaches total disintegration.
Here at Base London we're more than a little invested in promoting quality materials. We use high quality leather in a huge number of our flagship shoes, from our classic brogues, to our brand new Washed collection, complete with modern leather finishes. This means one thing, we know good leather.
Whether you're investing in leather goods while on your summer holidays, or looking for a new jacket at home, we thought we'd give you a quick crash course in how to spot cheap leather to ensure you never compromise your cool with standards not befitting a gentleman of your taste. Here's how to spot the crummy stuff...
1. Breathe it in
One of the best ways to identify good quality leather is to give it a sniff. Real, well-made leather always has that strong, classically leathery aroma which you won't find anywhere else. If the leather you're looking at doesn't have that pungent, characteristic scent, chances are it's either not the real deal or not a good quality piece of material.
2. Clock the edges
Take a close look at the edges of the leather product you're looking at. Are they tinged blue? This can mean that the tanners responsible for the product did not allow enough time for the leather to tan, resulting in inferior leather. Sometimes craftspeople will paint over the edges to hide the marks, so look out for this too.
3. Look at the big picture
Now appraise the garment or product overall. Low quality craftsmanship affecting other parts of the product can hint that the material is not of a good quality either. Watch out for sloppy stitching and dodgy lining.
4. Give it a feel
Time to get tactile. The feel of leather is another dead giveaway when it comes to quality. If the product feels hard, plasticky or thin, chances are it's been machine made or is of very poor quality.
5. Pay attention to price
Very few things in this life are free. Where leather is concerned, you really do get what you pay for. While bargains can certainly be found, so too can rip offs, so if something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
Can you tell the difference between fake, cheap and high quality leather? How do you spot the difference? Share your tips with others in the Base London Facebook group or explore our top notch leather footwear in the Base London online store.