Vegan leather is a textile made of a type of synthetic material called polyurethane. Often called PU, vegan leather is used in various applications and is a popular material in shoemaking. Our Latin dance shoes are crafted from this material.
Although the material varies in quality and thickness, vegan leather is thinner than real leather so it's flexible, pliable, and soft. All these qualities make vegan leather ideal for making dance shoes. The material is also perfect for people who are avoiding products that are made with animal skin.
Which is More Durable, Vegan or Genuine Leather?
While vegan leather is a durable material in shoemaking, leather remains as the sturdier material in comparison. That’s because leather material tends to be rigid and thick. But this does not mean that vegan leather wears down easily. In fact, a pair of dance shoes made with quality vegan leather could last for years as long as you care for it properly!
Genuine leather, durable as it is, will also wear down quickly if it’s been neglected. Real leather is just as vulnerable to scuffs, cracks, and discoloration as faux leather if you haven’t been taking care of your shoes. The bottom line is, a pair of shoes, no matter what material you use, could give you years worth of wear as long as you take care of it.
If you’re shopping around for a pair of vegan shoes and you’ve no idea how to care for it properly, this guide is for you. Here are helpful tips that will extend the life of vegan leather:
Don’t Expose it to Heat and Moisture
Vegan leather could take the daily abuse if it’s made into a pair of dance shoes but the material tends to degrade when exposed to heat and moisture. Yes, PU material is resistant to scuffs, scratches, even direct sunlight, and fire but extended exposure to harsh elements could eventually wear the material down.
High humidity could cause the material to weaken and the moisture could lead to mold growth. High heat could cause the material to discolor and stiffen, which will inevitably lead to cracking.
We suggest storing vegan-made products the same way you store your leather products - keep it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. You can also protect your vegan leather shoes from moisture and mold growth by throwing in several packets of silica gel for good measure!
Use the Right Products
Maintaining vegan leather is easy as can be. The material itself is waterproof because vegan leather has a light coating that makes it resistant to spills and stains. Because of the coating, most leather conditioners and creams are unable to penetrate it and soften the material. So use only the right kind of cleaning and conditioning product for vegan leather.
If the material gets dirty, simply spot clean with a clean cloth dipped in the mildest dish washing detergent you could get your hands on. If the material needs a deep cleaning, get a stain remover that’s specifically made for synthetic leather. Always air-dry vegan material prior to storage to prevent mold growth. As a finishing touch, you can spritz a little waterproofing spray all over to protect faux leather from spills.
Regular brushing will go a long way when it comes to maintaining most types of goods made from vegan leather. This goes particularly for dance shoes, these have to be brushed at least once a week. Don’t think that the material will hold up well while in storage and skip the regular brushing, it won’t. The material could stiffen and develop cracks from being stored for too long. So never skip the regular brushing and keep a shoe brush with nylon bristles on hand.
If you wear your dance shoes almost every day, you have to brush the shoes at least once a week. If the shoes are stored for a long time, you have to air them out once in a while and brush them several times a month. This will refresh the vegan leather and soften the material to prevent cracks.
Keep Away from Waxes and Oils
The light coating of vegan leather is extremely sensitive to waxes and oils. Never apply wax or oil-based products on the material itself. That means even traditional shoe products won't do for keeping vegan leather in tip-top shape. Use cleaning products that are designed specifically for PU leather and apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Don’t Dry Out the Material
Vegan leather is a durable material but it has a tendency to dry out quickly if it’s not taken care of properly or if the quality of the material is poor. And when the material dries out, cracks could ruin it for good. So to extend the life of vegan leather, avoid practices and products that could cause the material to dry out quickly.
Do not expose it to direct sunlight because the heat will dry out the material. Bleach, regular detergents, and other harsh cleaning products could also dry out the material so avoid these at all cost. Avoid acidic liquids too, like vinegar. If you are using a cleaning product for the first time, apply on a hidden spot first to test if it’s safe to use.
Just like animal leather, vegan leather is vulnerable to scuffs and scratches. And to keep vegan leather looking good as new for years to come, protect it from abrasive materials that could scratch the surface. Use soft cleaning materials to clean and apply any type of liquid or cream cleaning products like a microfiber cloth or a sponge. Use a soft brush to lift dirt and dust from the material. Never scrub too hard especially if the vegan leather is already cracked. Vigorous scrubbing won’t make the stains go away!
When taken care of properly, vegan leather will last you years of wear! Keeping vegan leather looking new is easy as long as you know the right kinds of products to use and all the best practices to maintain the material.
Yami dance shoes are made from high-quality vegan leather. The material is meant to optimize movement without causing forefoot pain. Every pair of our Latin dance shoes should last for years with proper care.