The oxidation of leather straps in most cases is not desirable, except for those seeking to prove they own a real Louis Vuitton handbag or any other leather item that attains a status symbol with a worn look. Some people love the worn and aged looked oxidation gives leather, but more often people find the look gauche on certain items. Oxidation will first turn the leather a darker color and over time the leather will being to crack and peel, weakening the leather. If you like this look and want to speed up the process, there are a few things you can do.
Place the straps in a window that gets a good amount of direct sunlight. Rotate the straps every two hours to even out the tanning of the leather on both sides of the straps. Sunlight will dry out the leather and accelerate the oxidation process.
Rub your unwashed hands over the straps a few times whenever you rotate them. The oil from your hands will help speed up the oxidation process.
Use your leather straps often. If it is a handbag, carry it in your hands wherever you go. Carry a backpack in your hands rather than slinging it over your shoulder. The more leather is used, exposed to the environment and in contact with skin, the quicker it will oxidize.
Once you oxidize your leather to an acceptable degree, you should use a leather moisturizing product about every 6 months so it does not degrade further. If you do not, the leather will begin to crack and peel and eventually fall apart.
References and ResourcesDaniel Bryant, Store Manager; Wilsons' Leather Experts; Morgantown, West Virginia
David Morgan: Leather Care
Antique Leather Dressing: FAQs