WHAT ARE BALAGAN PRODUCTS MADE OF AND HOW TO CARE FOR THEM?
Most of our products are made of natural leather or combination of leather and fabric. The description of fibre composition can be found on the label of every product, as well as on our website. With proper care of leather shoes and accessories, they will look better and last significantly longer.
Leather is a very durable material, however, only when cared for properly.
A FEW GENERAL TIPS THAT WILL HELP YOU ENJOY YOUR BALAGAN PRODUCTS LONGER AND ENSURE THAT THEY RETAIN THEIR APPEAL AND HIGH QUALITY:
- Avoid soaking the shoes and accessories. When wet, leather loses its elasticity, which can affect the durability (e.g. it can cause splitting), comfort in use and aesthetic value of the product.
If your leather product gets soaked, let it air dry at room temperature for no more than 24 hours. Do not use any dryers, heaters, etc.
- Beware of the salt used for maintenance of winter roads and pavements, as it is particularly damaging to your shoes. Clean the road salt off the shoes using a damp cloth or sponge, let it dry and use an impregnating agent.
- Remove dirt regularly. Clean your shoes and accessories using dedicated leather cleaning products (“cleaners”). Not only do they remove the dirt from the surface of the leather, but also the dirt that penetrated into it;
- Removing the dirt is as important as impregnating the leather regularly. The impregnation process leaves the leather soft and flexible, and any scratches - less visible. You should impregnate leather regularly after cleaning. You should apply impregnating cream/paste/colourless wax or coloured wax (for example, beeswax or lanolin-based products), which enriches the colour, covers minor scratches and discolourations, nourishes the leather and makes it shine;
- In autumn and winter, we recommend applying oil to the leather, both to the uppers and leather soles, and even to accessories which may be particularly exposed to contact with water;
- We recommend replacing the worn-down heel tips, as this can protect the heels from damage;
- When you store your bag, fill it with fabrics or newspaper sheets. It will help keep the bag in its original shape for longer.
NOTE: Before you apply the impregnating agent for the first time, you should test it in a hidden area of your shoes to see how it reacts with the leather. Remember that you need different care products for suede and nubuck leather than for smooth leathers. Before applying the product, you should read the instructions on the package carefully and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY SHOES
What makes the Balagan shoe collection so special is the softness and comfort in use.
Our shoes are made of very soft and delicate cowhide and goatskin leather.
The use of these materials ensures that the shoes adapt to the shape of your feet from day one, the leather stretches and changes its shape over time. The price for the delicate, flexible and soft leather and lack of stiffeners (which can cause discomfort) is the fact that in some shoe models with a larger surface area of uppers, the shaft of the shoe can curl up and change its shape during wear. Nevertheless, this does not change the qualities of the shoes nor the wearing comfort.
The soles are made with leather components and plastics, and the heel of the shoe (leather element) should be protected against water. It is a natural consequence of long-term use of shoes that they may be mechanically damaged and worn out (for example, in the toe area), as well as discoloured (for example, by snow). So is the wearing out of soles, in particular, the heel tips, which should be replaced every once in a while.
RULES FOR THE CARE OF LEATHER PRODUCTS
Try to always remember of a proper impregnat before you wear your pair for the first time. It is important to remain the insole leather quality in a shape with using a moist-repeller, that resists not only humidity, regular watering, puddles or sweat.
If your product is made of grain leather - apply a small amount of a preservative (cream or beeswax) in the same colour as the material. This will protect your shoes from moisture and salt.
Nubuck and suede leather should be cleaned only with a brush designed for such products. The best way to do that is to use a special spray.
Leather with natural nap should be cleaned with a soft brush, by stroking the surface gently in the direction of the nap.
Patent leather should be cleaned with a damp cloth and protected with a patent leather care product.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY A BAG OR OTHER ACCESSORIES
Most of our bags and accessories are made of high-quality grain leather tanned with plant-based dies. This type of leather is tanned with environment-friendly plant-based dies (tree bark, leaves, fruit, roots, etc.) in accordance with the Italian craft tradition going back centuries. Plant-based tanning is a long process, which has to be performed with the utmost diligence and care for detail. The leathers that we use in our products are not pressed nor extruded, which means that they maintain the natural structure of leather, which is non-uniform, but genuine and authentic. Every product is unique and inimitable. The leather is oiled as a part of the impregnation process as early as in the production stage, which means that you are dealing with a natural material and its genuine texture, as opposed to an extruded or polished surface. You should know, however, that these products are much more delicate and sensitive. They should be kept away from water, regularly cleaned, conditioned and oiled. Taking proper care of your leather product will ensure its durability and elegant appearance. Light-coloured leather oxidises and gets darker over time - this is a natural characteristic of this material. Impregnation with oils or oily care products can accelerate this effect.
In our offer, you can also find products combining fabrics with leather. Those should be dry cleaned only, and the leather parts should be cared for as described above.
IMPREGRNATION OF PLANT-TANNED LEATHER
You can use oily impregnating agents, such as oils or beeswax; in such case, the impregnation is stronger and it can happen that light-coloured leather can get dark faster.
Lighter conditioners, such as grain leather/suede lotions or sprays, ensure an even degree of impregnation, while keeping the light colour of the material.
In the case of lighter colour versions, the best way to go is using gentler, less oily products having the consistency of a lotion or liquid coat, which are perfect for distribution with a cloth.
It is less common to use paste and beeswax on delicate and light-coloured leather, especially in spring and summer, when the leather is exposed to sunlight. We recommend using standard leather care products which can be found in stores. It is always a good idea to read the label carefully – if a product contains a significant amount of lanolin or beeswax, you should go for it.
In the case of black leather, you might want to look for a dark pigment in the composition of the product (which will condition and maintain the colour), but you should remember that black leather does not fade in the sun - so there is no need to use colouring products on it. The type of leather that we use in Balagan is particularly delicate, in a way similar to nubuck. It is not patent leather and it has open pores, which means that it can absorb water naturally, as well as react to external factors, for example, react to light and darken over time. This is why leather becomes even more pure and precious when it ages.
To remove water stains from a leather bag, you should even out its colour by rubbing the whole surface of the material gently with a damp cloth (well squeezed out, not soaked) as soon as possible, and leaving it to air dry (the entire area of the damped surface will become darker, covering the spots with stains). Only after trying this method should you consider applying other care products (paste, beeswax, etc.) If you notice any major scratches or defects in the top layer of the material (chafing or wear), we recommend that you use a special leather care product/paste/wax and even the surface out by gently wiping and distributing the product. All care procedures make the leather become slightly darker. This is why we strongly recommend that all the application of impregnating agents, cleaning and wiping be done carefully and evenly on the entire surface of material, not only pointwise.