The Shoe Snob Blog

May 17, 2010

Written by , Posted in News

Patent Shoes

Used to be that patent leather shoes were only worn with a tuxedo or more rarely, on a very formal occasions with your sharp, black suit but now it’s almost as if you cannot go a day without seeing someone wearing a full-on patent leather shoe or at least a shoe with patent leather accents. This all started to change a couple of years ago when the idea of taking formal wear and turning it into casual wear hit the fashion industry. Good thing it did too because it is boring only wearing casual attire during casual settings and formal wear for formal occasions. It is much more interesting to be able to mix and match an outfit with several pieces that are both formal and casual and see how the end result comes out.

Top Shoe: Salvatore Ferragamo
Left Shoe: Dolce & Gabbana
Right Shoe: Common Projects

Now you can find patent shoes in almost every color, some being so bold (like the orange one’s below) it would be impressive to see a person who could pull off an outfit that wouldn’t leave them looking like a neon light bulb. It’s great too because some shoes need that patent leather look to make them cool. The Common Projects high top sneaker above would not be as intriguing had it just been made of blue dyed leather. That extra shine gives it the pop that it needs to product worth paying for. The only downside to patent leather is the fact that it creases so easily and just might eventually crack after repeated use. But like all leather shoes it’s inevitable so deal with it or don’t go buy patent leather shoes.

Two Shoes By: Pierre Corthay

While i like the fact that dress shoes became readily available in patent leather options other than black, I especially loved that the sneaker industry embraced this concept so well. A well designed patent leather sneaker, to me, is just the best and I especially love wearing the pair that I own by Superga (pictured below). While being a sneaker and obviously going well with casual clothes, I feel like a patent leather version of any sneaker will only allow it to be more easily dressed-up. Don’t get me wrong, I would never wear sneakers with a suit but dressed-up in the sense that you can pair them with some sharp jeans, a nice button-up and maybe a casual sport coat.

I also admire it when a women wears a sexy pair of patent leather pumps and since I don’t give much love to my female followers I thought that I would add some pictures for all of you to appreciate.

  • IMHO, women carry off patent leather far more easily than men, especially in casual settings during the day. Night, however, seems to be made for patent leather, perhaps due to its reflective properties under artificial lighting. I would love to pair navy patent derbies with a midnight blue tuxedo.

  • My fiance is graduating next month, the first pair would look great on him. As for the female shoes, The second pair of Louboutin's would be just up my ally.True Queen

  • MSR

    Justin, I wonder whether you have any tips on caring for patent leather — both cleaning and shining. Would you use the same technique as on a regular shoe?

  • MSR – There is no need to shine patent as it is not susceptible to polish…in reality, you need not doing anything to it but wipe it down every now and then with a damp (but not wet) rag…I have heard things about vaseline and whatnot but I have never tried it….it maintains itself as far as I am concerned as it is an artificial coating over the leather anyway….-Justin