How Leather Shoes Can Become Damaged By Heat
Leather Shoes & Heat DON'T Mix
This lens gives you an informative insight into just why you should not be putting your leather shoes near artificial forms of heat.
What Happens to Leather When Exposed to Heat.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of some of the damages that can occur to the leather soles of shoes or boots when exposed to heat. Most commonly, the damage occurs when the leather is wet, as people mistakenly place the shoes near a fire or radiator, with their soles exposed to the heat. Consequently, many leather soled shoes are ruined because of this.
Whilst the damage may not be apparent immediately as on the surface the soles may appear as normal, but this exposure to heat could have seriously reduced the life of your leather soled shoes. Not only are wet soles at risk of damage but footwear worn in normal dry conditions also contain enough moisture to become victim to the same mistreatment.
If your leather soled shoes do become damp, they should be placed in a well ventilated, airy place that is no warmer than the average room temperature. Heating your footwear beyond this point should be avoided at all costs, regardless of whether they are wet or dry.
A much safer way to assist in the drying out period of your footwear is to soak up the excess moisture by stuffing your shoes/boots with newspaper for several hours, or even overnight. Again, keep them out of the way of any excess heat, including hot pipes.
As most leather soles are made from vegetable-tanned leather, it makes them increasingly sensitive to heat. Increased heat causes water vapour or steam within the substance of the leather which can then attack the leather fibres, consequently destroying their character. The leather itself is then accordingly turned into a soft tarry mass which will become brittle and hard upon cooling.
It must be noted that the damage is not always visible on the surface, even after the leather has been badly burnt. This occurs because the heat exposure dries the outside of the leather rapidly, due to the vapour quickly evaporating from the surface. However, the steam within the leather cannot escape as quickly and subsequently has time to attack the fibres within the leather. Therefore, through continued wear when the outer surface of the leather is worn away, the inner affected part of the sole becomes exposed and rapidly disintegrates upon such exposure.
If the burning is of a less severe state, the damage could be left entirely unnoticed by the naked eye and may only be seen through a microscope. However, the durability properties of the leather will still have been severely affected.
It is burnt soles that are most frequently seen in sole wear complaints by customers and is unfortunately an unjustified one. The damage may also occur from less obvious heat damage exposure; e.g. the car heating blowers being focused on the floor of the vehicle.
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