Journal Edition sofw journal 6-2022


Finishing agents based on aqueous formulations are increasingly used in leather and shoe production, often with a view to creating optical effects. This means that the colours of shoe uppers and finishing agents are intentionally quite different from each other. Darker finishing agents are frequently applied to naturally light leathers.

Such finishing agents are not usually smear and water resistant. For environmental reasons, many shoe creams are based mainly on solvent-free, water-based formulations. As a result, customer complaints regarding the use of aqueous emulsion creams in shoe care are increasing. Finishing agents can often be wiped off shoes with just a wet cloth. The use of dark finishing agents on light leathers causes light spots and does irreparable damage to shoes.

In modern commercial grade care sprays, such as waterproofing sprays, solvents are either alcohol or mineral spirits. However, not all shoe uppers are compatible with these substances. In many cases, uppers are degraded or become swollen, which may cause irreparable damage to the shoes.

This IKW recommendation is intended to provide the shoe trade with an instrument for the quality assessment of the compatibility of shoe uppers with care products. The recommendation can also be used in other fields, such as for leathers intended for furniture and bags.

This recommendation replaces the previous version of 2015. Standard care products nos. 2 and 3 no longer contain impregnating agents, as such agents do not have any relevant influence on the solvent compatibility of shoe uppers. Furthermore, standard care product no. 4 was defined with regard to solvent compatibility.

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