Most people know that one should be careful not to put their leather shoes closer to hot radiators, as it risks drying out the leather. Less known is the related problem of underfloor heating, which can cause the same problems.

Some may think it’s a bit ambiguous that one should always make sure to let leather shoes dry properly, but at the same time should not expose them to heat that causes them to dry too fast. The problem is not mainly that it’s heated quickly, but that when it’s in a warmer environment the leather continues to dry, and simply dries out. And dried-out leather will crack, and of course you want to avoid that.

Leather that has dried-out and cracked. Picture: Paul Ford Leather Products

Now that the outside temperatures are getting lower here in the Northern hemisphere, radiators and potential underfloor heating are on in our houses. Many have learned that radiators with their distinct heat are not good for leather shoes, because of the above. If you have ever put a pair of leather shoes near a radiator for a while, you know how bad it can be. Underfloor heating is usually a bit more gentle and not the same direct “danger”, but it can, especially in some cases, cause the same thing, that the leather dries out. Not least if it is electric floor heating that has a so-called room thermostat, where it’s often the case that it turns on excessive heat, switches off, then on strongly again to keep the set temperature in the room. Especially if the shoes are directly on the floor it’s problematic, if you have them on a shoe shelf, there is usually less risk when it comes to underfloor heating.

Also, keep in mind that it is not only leather that takes a beating of heavy heat from radiators or floors, but some types of rubber soles is affected. Here it can also be that a hefty change in temperature makes the rubber crack, for example, if you have been out in snow for a long time and the soles are really cold, and then placed on a floor with underfloor heating or close to radiators, some rubber compounds can’t handle this well.