Is it just me, or do you, too, feel euphoric when you find a timeless pair of shoes? And not to toot my own horn, but it was my very own chocolate lace-up Chukka leather boots that did it for me. I relish that they blend in perfectly with almost any denim wash while feeling more opulent with every passing day.

However, it’s the patina, or the wear that happens after many miles have been traveled in them, that makes them one-of-a-kind. In an abstract sense, it comes back to the oversaturated phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Fortunately, in the case of adding patina on boots, that’s true in some sense: What rain, snow, sun, and salt doesn’t kill them definitely makes them stronger—or, at the very least, more charming. 

What is a boot patina?

As soon as you purchase a new pair of leather or suede boots, it begins to absorb everything it comes into contact with—from the oil on your hands to the surrounding sunlight. 

If you don’t like leaving things up to chance, especially regarding shoes of the highest quality, adding a manmade boot patina (as I do at Esquivel) helps you get ahead of the environment. You can perhaps think of it as reverse botox for a shoe: It’s a process involving a series of specific techniques like applying dyes and oils to give it a weathered look, and the result is a boot with rich sartorial character and originality. In some cases, if you don’t add a boot patina, you may be stuck with an uninspired pair of shoes. 

Well-worn shoes on the rise

Whoever said distressed and expensive don’t belong in the same sentence was clearly wrong. Consumers have embraced the well-worn look for years by supporting brands like Golden Goose. But for smart casual shoes and boots, a patina will accelerate the process of aging in the best way possible because some of the wear has been controlled.  

Ahead, find the brands that embellish their shoes with a distressed, scuffed, and worn-out look.

Golden Goose

A small Italian brand turned into a globally-known luxury house with a cult following, Golden Goose has carved its niche with a robust collection of scuffed sneakers and boots. Their Low Wish Star boots feature a unique combination of glossy black leather and a shriveled texture in one iteration. Meanwhile, in tan suede, they boast a dark, almost oily finish that looks as if they’ve seen many nights on the town already. 


The shoewear brand has been crafting leather boots since 1863, with many shoes displaying coloration and strategic wear marks for a vintage feel. The Bowery Lace-Up style for men has subtle fade marks along the sides and front of the boot. Its rugged look will add depth to so many looks.

George Esquivel 

Esquivel shoes are known for their handcrafted nature. With that territory comes hand-cutting, hand-sewing, and, of course, hand-dyeing, which is where the personal patina can come into play. Some boots already feature distressed accents like an oil rub or a fade that create a radiant aged finish from the get-go. 

The everlasting vintage-look

No one can deny the recent love of vintage clothes or how some old aesthetics are becoming new again. And, at the same time, many of us are more often striding past trend-driven looks. The upshot? We’re bound to become better attuned to our personal styles. Adding a boot patina is required if you want your boots to have a carefully antiqued look that will offer a je ne sais quoi to last the ages.

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