6 Reasons Why Leather Wrinkles

why does leather wrinkle

You might have noticed a couple of wrinkles or some massive amounts of wrinkles on your leather goods and must be wondering what’s going on and why this happens.

Well, it’s your lucky day. I did research into why leather wrinkles and I’m going to share all of my findings with you.

So, why does leather wrinkle? Leather will wrinkle because;

  • Leather Will Naturally Wrinkle
  • How Leather Items Are Stored Can Cause It To Wrinkle
  • Bad Fitting Leather Items Will Crease
  • The Design Of The Leather Item
  • The Quality Of Leather
  • Through Use And Improper Handling

To learn more about why leather wrinkles, keep reading this article.

1. Leather Will Naturally Wrinkle

Take a critical look at your skin and you will notice that there are parts of your skin that have wrinkles. Leather is just like the human skin – it wrinkles with time and in some instances comes already wrinkled.

I have had a lot of leather goods from wallets to jackets and everything in-between and gave them a lot of tender loving care but they still developed wrinkles.

Wrinkles are such a natural thing with leather as a material. Because of that, a lot of experts will tell you there’s no such thing as wrinkle-free or crease free leather. Even if there are wrinkle-free leathers they will be rare or massively overpriced.

2. How Leather Items Are Stored Can Cause It To Wrinkle

Another common reason why leather wrinkles is how it’s stored before or after use. A few of the important qualities we all love about leather is how soft and supple it is.

Due to these qualities, leather as a material can easily take shape and maintain its form through proper maintenance and storage.

So when leather is not properly kept it can lose its original form and develop wrinkles.

When it comes down to it, you do not want to throw your leather goods in a pile or leave it on the floor.

You would want to hang your leather items like jackets, pants after use, and last shoes and boots when not in use.

3. Bad Fitting Leather Items Will Crease

Wearing oversized leather items such as jackets, pants, shoes, or boots can result in some ugly wrinkles and creases.

And you guessed right, these types of wrinkles and creases will usually appear on leather apparel and garments.

Let me give you a couple of examples of how this can appear. If you wear a pair of leather shoes or boots that is a bit larger than your feet, the excess space in the shoes will create more room for the shoe to wrinkle and crease when you flex your feet as you walk.

The same can be said for leather jackets as well. If you go for leather jackets that are too large for you, then you would have a lot of slack. Because of these slacks, the jacket will repeatedly fold in and out with movement and will eventually cause creases that can lead to wrinkles.

So essentially, this is to say oversized fitting leather shoes, jackets, etc will definitely result in some terrible wrinkles.

I must, however, add that this doesn’t mean that a perfect leather item fit will not lead to wrinkles but instead, you’re less likely to have prominent wrinkles on your leather articles.

4. The Design Of The Leather Item

The overall design, make or construction of a leather item is also a contributory factor for the occurrence of or otherwise wrinkles on the leather item.

During the research for this article, I took the time to analyze all of our leather shoes – the few my wife and I owned (by a few I mean close to 50 pairs D)).

My goal was to find which ones had the most wrinkles and which ones had the least form of wrinkles or creases.

What I found was that our full and semi-cap toe brogues had the least amount of creases and wrinkles compared to our plain toe and whole shoes which have a lot of wrinkles on them.

From observing these shoes, I came to a logical conclusion that the appearance of wrinkles more on the plain and whole toe shoes than our full and semi-cap brogues was due to the fact that our plain and whole toe shoes generally have fewer pieces of leather in its design.

The fewer pieces of leather meant that they have less tension directly on the shoes so they are the most affected by all the pressure and tension the feet puts on them.

But for our full and semi brogues, the design had a minimum of 3 layers just on one single shoe – I even counted 4-5 layers of leather pieces for other brogues.

Due to the multiple layers of leather pieces in the design of the brogues, the tension and pressure from the feet are spread out resulting in fewer wrinkles that take a bit of time before they appear.

The same thing applies to leather goods like furniture, leather car seats, and many others.

If wrinkles is of serious concern to you, you would want to speak to your upholsterer ahead of time before leather items like furniture is made.

This will allow your upholsterer to use good quality leather, a very firm and sturdy foam with good spring action in the design so that tension is well distributed while providing sufficient support for comfortable use.

5. The Quality Of Leather

You would probably know by now there are different grades and qualities when it comes to the leather used for making leather goods.

The way the quality of leather determines how leather wrinkles is very interesting. Leather sourced from the belly section of a cow will generally be considered low-quality leather and will normally come already wrinkled.

This is because this section of the cowhide is very loose, very thin, and when it’s used for leather goods, it’s simply going to wrinkle the more.

On the other hand, thicker leather is far less prone to developing wrinkles. This will generally include leather from the middle section of the animal with the butt from the cattle hide being a good example.

This part of the skin is a lot more robust when compared to other parts of the animal skin like the belly.

Another thing that causes leather to wrinkle when it comes to the quality of leather is that very large sections of the animal skin such as shoulder, side, or belly are also more susceptible to wrinkles and leather loosening than the leather sourced from smaller areas or sections of the animal skin.

What a lot of these leather producers do is to pre-stress the leather so that later when the leather is used for goods it does not wear out with wrinkles, stretches, dents, etc.

I must add that in some other cases, it will be almost impossible to tell – whether low-quality leather will wrinkle and high-quality leather wouldn’t.

I say this because I have seen some low-quality leather goods that have almost no wrinkles while some very expensive leather items will have a lot of prominent wrinkles on them.

6. Through Use And Improper Handling

One thing that runs throughout this article is the fact that leather will sooner or later wrinkle with use. While this is a sad inevitable truth, thicker leather will generally have lesser wrinkles from use.

Constant use can cause the appearance of wrinkles on certain parts of the leather item. Also, poorly transporting or improper handling of the leather goods such as furniture, garments, shoes, etc can also cause the leather material to wrinkle or warp.

One common way most manufacturers use to make their leather materials a bit more resistant to wear is by using heat guns on the leather materials to put it under some form of stress (pre-stressing the leather) and this helps to make the leather a bit more resistant to dents, over-stretching, sagging, and more wrinkle-free


So here’s all I had to share. Just before you go, pardon me if I may have insinuated throughout this article that leather developing wrinkles is such a bad thing.

It actually isn’t! Most leathers will eventually develop wrinkles and this is actually part of the body of character and personality that forms on leather with time known as patina.

In this article, I researched the main reasons why leather wrinkles but when it comes down to it, leather wrinkles are part of what leather as a material is and while there are a few things you can do to prevent your leather from wrinkling, we should also embrace it when it happens so that we will be able to enjoy our leather goods no matter how much patina it develops with time.

It’s pretty much like how wine is known to age. It’s widely known and to a large extent accepted as part of the unique quality of aged leather.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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