Nubuck products have appeared on the domestic shoe market relatively recently. Many still refuse to buy nubuck boots, because they do not understand what this intricate material is: genuine leather, synthetics, or something else. In addition, it is widely believed that “fleshy” shoes are very capricious, suitable only for cold and dry weather, require extremely careful handling, and therefore are not the best choice for children’s wardrobe. Is it really? Our experts argue that some of the stereotypes that have developed around nubuck shoes are not based on real facts, and some of them are significantly exaggerated. In fact, nubuck products are great to wear in summer and winter, they are suitable for children and adults, fit perfectly into different styles of wardrobe, and with proper care, fleecy materials are not so capricious.
Characteristics and properties of the material
Perhaps the most famous nubuck shoe in the world is the slightly velvety yellow timberland boots. For their tailoring, a material is used that many characterize as a cross between smooth leather and suede. And this characterization is not far from the truth.
If you look at the photos of suede and nubuck, it may seem that both materials have a lot in common, and some people do not see the difference between them at all. In fact, although the properties of suede and nubuck are in many ways similar, they are different types of leather, which, moreover, has been subjected to different processing methods. For nubuck, they usually take the skins of cattle, which are treated with salts and polished with fine abrasive materials, while for the production of suede, the skin of smaller animals is used.
Nowadays, the demand for nubuck shoes is quite high. Shoes, boots, boots and sneakers made of this material are considered elite and, as a rule, are quite expensive. In addition, the use of fleece leather is not limited to the footwear industry. This pleasant to the touch material has found its application in the production of upholstered furniture, tailoring of designer bags, gloves, various covers and much more.
Types of nubuck
Here we come to the main question: from what and how is nubuck made? Here we can immediately say that both those who classify it as natural materials and supporters of the version of synthetic origin are right. Depending on the method of manufacture, this material can be natural or artificial. In addition, natural also comes in two types: regular and oiled.
Natural nubuck is made from the skins of cattle. As a rule, for these purposes, a calciner, an outgrowth or a half-skinner is used. The calf is obtained from the skins of 6-month-old (and younger) calves. This material has strength, density, but at the same time it is soft, elastic and very gentle. The outgrowth is taken from one-year-old calves. It is recognizable by its coarser texture and is no longer as elastic as the calf. Half-skin is obtained from cattle older than 1 year.
In order to get a velvety material with a fine pile at the output, the skin of animals is subjected to a special dressing technology. In particular, for the production of natural nubuck skins are chrome tanned. After treatment with chromium salts, the leather material acquires softness and elasticity, so that nubuck shoes do not bind the foot. In addition, natural material is characterized by good thermal insulation, which makes it an excellent base for shoes in cool weather. But such skin also has a minus. After chrome tanning, it easily absorbs moisture, which means that “hairy” boots and shoes tend to get wet quickly. To increase the wear resistance of this material, it should be regularly treated with special impregnations.
Many shoe manufacturers sew from nubuck: spring shoes and moccasins, autumn boots and winter boots, sneakers and sandals for adults and children. As a rule, products for boys and girls are presented in different colors, and in order for nubuck to retain its color for as long as possible, such leather is first subjected to chromositane tanning, and then to deep painting.
Artificial nubuck is a synthetic material that is the result of spraying polymers on top of each other. This method allows you to create a «skin» with villi of the required length and diameter. Artificial nubuck has a longer service life, it better tolerates mechanical stress and different temperature conditions, and is also presented in a wider range of colors than natural material.
Despite the fact that many people are unfavorable to shoes made of artificial leather, this variety of nubuck has its advantages, and consumers are increasingly leaving positive feedback about it. In particular, many are attracted by the price. Shoes made of such material, as a rule, are inexpensive, although outwardly they almost do not differ from natural nubuck. Secondly, such products are worn well, almost do not absorb moisture, and it is much easier to care for them than for natural fleecy leather.
Nubuck-oil or, as it is also called, oiled, is the same natural nubuck, only treated with water-repellent impregnation. Usually, animal fats are used for these purposes. Unlike normal, nubuck oil looks slightly damp. As a rule, it is used for tailoring expensive shoes with a longer service life.
Advantages and disadvantages of nubuck shoes
Any nubuck shoes tend to absorb moisture much faster than «traditional» leather. Under the influence of water, nubuck first swells, and after drying (especially if it is not properly dried), it shrinks and becomes stiff. Such drops do not have the best effect on the condition of the shoe, since these processes create an additional load on the seams and glued areas. In addition, the skin after such tests may be covered with cracks.
To increase the wear resistance of nubuck products, it is important to follow the basic rules of care in different seasons. For example, winter and autumn boots made of fleecy leather should be regularly treated with water-repellent agents, and you should not be lazy to clean the product after each walk (the reagents used on the roads in winter are very harmful to nubuck). No less careful care for «fleece» shoes requires in other seasons. It will have to be regularly cleaned with special brushes, which will not only shake off dust and dirt, but also lift the villi. But wet rags and creams used to care for smooth leather are categorically contraindicated for nubuck. If you follow these simple rules, then the «hairy» shoes of the elite class will last more than one season.
Ready to buy shoes?
In the wardrobe of adults, leather shoes are a sign of good taste and prestige. Boots for girls and boys made of natural materials are a must. Only in such products the child’s foot will receive ideal conditions for normal growth and development.
Our store offers a huge selection of children’s high-quality shoes made of nubuck. Here you will find products for any age and size, for any season and for different occasions. Take a look at our updated catalog and see for yourself that fashionable «hairy» boots are exactly what your child needs.