So what exactly is patent leather and how do you care for it?

Friso Black Croc Django & Juliette

Many of us would identify the loud, funky material with our modern age, but this glossy leather actually dates back to the late 1700s & 1800s. So what is it exactly? 

Patent leather is a type of leather coated in a clear, protective finish to produce a glossy sheen. It’s often seen in shoes, bags, belts and, in more recent years, down major fashion runways. Patent leather saw a surge in popularity in the 1900s and especially in the 1960s when mass production kicked off. Who can forget the decade’s crazy bright, futuristic patent boots?

Originally, patent leather could only be produced from a very fine leather and the overall process was an expensive one. But with advancements in the technology of chemical materials used for coating, manufacturers are now able to use different grades of leathers or even synthetic materials instead. So, not all patent leather is actually leather.

Why patent and not just regular leather then? Aside from its strong visual appeal which makes it suitable for dressier clothing and accessories (why choose plain when you can go for the gloss, right? #moreismore), patent leather is water resistant (big tick!) and easy to clean. Read on for some of our tips on keeping those shiny kicks in tip-top shape.


The best part is that patent leather doesn't need conditioning or polishing the way that regular old leather does. All you need is a non-scratch, soft sponge or cloth to wipe off any dust or dirt - microfibre cloths are recommended as they don’t contain any loose fibres that might transfer to the shoe. You can also use a damp cloth. 

Stains & Marks

For more stubborn marks, rub gently using a damp cloth or a damp brush. If using a brush, avoid pressure and focus on lightly dislodging the dirt with the bristles and finishing off by wiping over with a cloth. 

Some also suggest using Scotch tape over fresh stains as patent leather is mostly impervious and Scotch tape may be able to lift most stains. We recommend exercising caution when using either a brush or Scotch tape and spot testing on less visible areas first. 


As beautiful as your patent leather shoes may be, do be mindful of the material’s tendency to scratch and scuff easily. Should you discover some scuffing on your favourite pair, WhoWhatWear recommends gently rubbing in some olive oil using a microfibre cloth, leaving it on for 20 minute, and then wiping it away with a dry cloth.

You may also want to try an acetone-based nail polish remover. Dip a Qtip in some nail polish remover and apply it very gently to the scuffed area only, making sure to avoid any pressure. Try to stick to gentle strokes in a single direction and test it on an inconspicuous area first.


Friso Black Croc Django & Juliette


Friso Black Croc by Django & Juliette $249.95 

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