This is a technique that works best on cordovan shoes, but which also can be used for normal calf leather. It’s about simply guiding the leather how to crease by pressing two pens against it when bending the shoe for the first time. The aim is to gather the creases to where it is intended to be, in two lines at the shoe’s flex point.
It is a method used by some bespokes shoemakers when customers come in to collect their finished shoes, which serves to help the leather to find the right place to crease at. When it comes to bespoke shoes the fit is also optimal, and it’s then that this technique works at its best since there’s not much excess leather which needs to fold itself up somewhere. But it’s also possible to use for RTW shoes, and as I said above especially on cordovan shoes which crease in a certain way. On those you can even smoothen out the leather and move the creases if you wish, with a deer bone for leveling and then the pens for the placement of the creases.
However, that’s not how it works with calf leather, here basically the first step you take determines how the shoes will crease, to put it harsh. Of course, new creases appear and the emphasis of the creasing can move a bit, but if you put it simple, that’s the fact. Therefore, the method of pens to guide the placement of the creases on a completely new shoe, that has not been tried on in the store, for example, or where you yourself trudged around the apartment to see how they feel. In other words, you need to be sure that the size is right and that these are shoes that you should keep, as the method means that you have to bend the shoe very strongly and make proper creases in them directly. Here’s a step by step guide with photos of the process: