All Your Italian Leather Questions Answered

All Your Italian Leather Questions Answered

When you're investing in a quality leather piece - whether it's shoes, gloves, or another coveted item - you want to be sure you know what you're purchasing, and how to take good care of it.
There's no doubt habbot shoes are an investment. They're beautiful treasures, handmade by Italian artisans to last a lifetime. There's also no doubt that our expert local team is obsessed with Italian leather footwear. From design and creation, to fit, feel, care, cleaning and styling, we have a combined "way too many years of experience and knowledge than we'd like to count", and are always here to help with any queries our customers have.
Here are our answers to the Italian leather questions our team gets asked time and time again...

What is the highest quality leather?

Italian leather is proven to be one of the best on the globe, and calf leather is recognised all over the world as the finest material for making top quality footwear uppers. When talking about a leather upper we mean the part of the shoe above the sole.

Because calves aren't as mature as cows, their skins are much thinner, smoother and more supple, with fewer blemishes. Calfskin leather is thin and has a smooth appearance, it's also waterproof and is much better at maintaining its shape. Kid leather is also often used in quality Italian shoemaking. Like calf, the immature goat leather is very supple and fine and especially good for making dress shoes as it can be manipulated to create fine details such as tapered toe shapes for pumps or narrow straps for sandals. It also accepts bright colour dyes well so lends itself to a rainbow of colour choice options for designers. Calf and kid leather can both also be produced in the sueded form. 

The best way to use calf and kid leather is full grain. Full grain leather is the best you can get - its stronger and more durable over time. Full grain refers to the full hide with the hair removed and all of its layers intact - not sanded down. All of the oil-absorbing properties and original characteristics of the leather remain intact.

How to tell what is real Italian leather?

Reading the label is always helpful - it needs to be authentic to make the claim of being leather. Italian makers also frequently like to use Italian leather, so if its made in Italy you can often assume the leather is also Italian. However, genuine leather does not mean it is the best quality - full grain leather is the best you can buy.

The feel and elasticity of the leather is very important. Real leather comes in a range of finishes and can feel coarse or smooth depending on the quality and type. No two samples of Italian leather will be exactly the same because of the individual hide used to make them. Real leather has minor marks and imperfections, but fake leather often has a uniform, flawless surface. If it has a plastic feel and is unnaturally smooth, it could be fake.

If you're buying any Italian leather product, always choose a reputable manufacturer to help make sure it's legitimate. Real Italian leather isn't cheap - if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, most Italian leather goods often come with some kind of warranty, which proves that the manufacturer stands behind the quality of their product.

What are the advantages of leather shoes?

Leather can breathe - its fibrous structure enables a steady movement of air and water vapour. This is why only all-leather shoes insulate the feet, keeping them warm and dry in winter and cool and dry in summer. The perspiration given off our feet is absorbed by the leather and evaporated through its invisible pores.

Leather offers unparalleled comfort for your feet. Its resilient fibers allow for sturdy soles, giving proper support to feet, plus soft and supple shoe uppers, permitting the feet to move freely and expand normally. Leather also moulds to the shape of your foot. As not everyone's feet are exactly the same, this means your shoes can adapt to your foot shape, giving you extra support.

Another benefit of quality leather shoes is their durability, often outlasting shoes made from synthetic materials.

How do I soften leather sandals?

Some tricks you can try to soften your leather sandals post-purchase:

  • Wear them in short bursts to begin with, just 30 - 60 minutes at a time.
  • Wear them in thick socks around the house, especially at the end of the day when your feet are bigger than in the morning.
  • Use a shoe tree. Shoe trees are designed to preserve the shoes' aesthetic by smoothing out the lining of your shoes to keep away any creases or dents. They're not made especially for stretching shoes, but they can be great to stretch out leather sandals by expanding the length and width. To use, turn the handle of the tree once a day until the size feels more comfortable.
  • Use a stretch spray - when used in conjunction with an adjustable shoe tree you should get your desired result!

If all else fails you can always get them professionally stretched at a shoe repairer, traditionally called a cobbler.

Does Italian leather stretch?

In a word, yes. A major benefit of fine quality leather is the elasticity, and therefore its ability to mould or stretch to accommodate your foot shape. Leather fibres open up and allow the leather to give on the areas that your foot places pressure. It will not stretch unless pressure is applied, so don't expect it to loosen or go floppy like some lesser quality leathers or man-made materials can do.

Are leather gloves waterproof?

Fine leather gloves can be water resistant to a point (and this is vastly improved by using leather protector creams that have beeswax). However they are not waterproof, and if they do get wet they should be dried out as soon as possible at room temperature. Be sure not to place them close to a heat source as this will dry the leather too much, potentially causing it to harden or crack.

glovely - jade

glovely - jade


Our cashmere lined soft leather gloves extend over the wrist for maximum warmth and coziness! Made from buttery soft Italian lambskin with fine woven cashmere lining.… read more

Does Italian leather peel?

No, Italian leather shoes will not peel. When taken care of, good quality leather lasts for a long time and your shoes will remain beautiful for decades. But even though it's a hardy and supple material, leather will still benefit from continued maintenance and care, such as moisturising to retain flexibility.

In the mood for some quality Italian leather shoes?

Take a look at some of our latest collection:

gola - siren

gola - siren

$320.00 $485.00

The habbot ‘gola’ block heel sandal in siren red patent leather have been edged in colour matched suede, with an exaggerated adjustable tortoiseshell buckle detailing to customise your fit and comfortably hold your foot in place. Dress up or down for the… read more

nara - royal

nara - royal

$350.00 $475.00

habbot ‘nara’ women’s flats are our signature lace-up derby brogue style. The nara’s feminine silhouette and unique colour combination of royal blue and rose pink patent leather adds a touch of individuality to corporate or weekend wear… read more

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