The Art of Patina in Shoemaking

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Patina is a word we use frequently. We say it about materials that have changed their look. It isn’t used about industrial products that don’t evolve, like plastic or stainless steel, but about materials full of life.

The word comes from the Latin “Patina” which is the word for a plate. This is thought to be because of the way the metal plates would change colour over time with use. Patina can be seen on the smallest and the biggest scale. From small plates to old buildings, where the the copper roof turns a beautiful shade of green and the stones take on the colour of the air surrounding them.

This is especially clear when part of an old building has been renovated and the new and old stand next to each other.

With all artisanal creations it is important to think about the life of the product. How it will change over time and how it will look when used for a long time.

From woodworking, to knife making, the artisans account for this Patina of time.

All shoes get a patina over time. The shoe will adjust to your foot and the leather will change in different places depending on how your foot moves.


Likewise, the color will change. A shoe exposed to a lot of sunlight will take on a lighter shade and every time you polish your shoes the leather will evolve.

Patina is something natural that happens with age, but it can also be a tool to create a unique style. 

For decades, shoemakers have used dyes to colour the shoes and give them a patina. It can be everything from giving a cognac shoe a dark brown leather cream to darken the tip, to colouring a shoe a striking blue.

Patina is a skill and an art and requires experience to do well. Once a leather is coloured, it is hard to change it. You can almost only make it darker, so the artisan must be careful when applying the dye.


3DM offers you the opportunity to give an addition of unique style to your shoe collection. In our new Patina collection, we offer shoes which play with light and dark brown traditional patina and grey and blue stylish contemporary models. One part imitates how leather ages gracefully, the other shows the skill of the artisan and the style of the wearer.

Visit our Patina collection here:

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