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Types of leather for footwear and their benefits

Leather footwear has certain advantages over other materials of synthetic origin. It is also true that there are different types of leather for wallets, as well as types of leather for straps and other accessories. However, well-worked or tanned leather is flexible, resistant, breathable and durable.

Yes, leather has the ability to retain the shape of each foot, thus providing unique comfort to those of us who choose it as the companion of each of our steps.

It is also important to emphasise that a responsible industry should only use leather when it is a by-product derived from raising animals for food purposes. An animal should never be slaughtered to remove its skin. Never.

If you want to review in detail the reasons for opting for leather footwear, and its different types, ExFrO invites you to read the complete article.

Benefits of wearing leather shoes

If you’ve never worn leather shoes, you don’t know what an experience you’re missing. Leather shoes are essential for men and women with active jobs or who need greater comfort and protection for their feet.

There is a wide variety of footwear that is made from leather, such as dress shoes, sneakers, ankle boots, loafers, sandals, and even slippers.

Next, you will know the benefits of wearing leather shoes.

Leather shoes are breathable

Excessive sweating on the feet and poor ventilation turn your shoes into a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, which cause bad feet and shoe odour.

Leather shoes allow the feet to breathe and prevent water vapour from accumulating inside the shoe. This feature is important to maintain the good health of your feet.

They mould to your feet

One of the features and benefits of a leather shoe is its ability to mould to your feet. Unlike synthetic leather, leather shoes take the shape of your foot in a short time, providing greater comfort.

This feature is ideal if you want to avoid foot pain from prolonged standing. This is because shoes made of other materials are harder and hurt your feet.

They are easy to clean

Leather shoes, sneakers or ankle boots are easy to clean compared to textile or leatherette. You can clean a leather shoe using:

  • A cotton flannel.
  • A leather eraser.
  • A protectant or nourishing cream for smooth leather, suede or nubuck.

It is a mistake to use vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, or dish soap to clean leather shoes. These home remedies only damage and bleach the leather, which will shorten the life of your shoes.

They are durable

Well-maintained real leather shoes won’t peel, warp, or wrinkle in non-friction areas.

These types of shoes are an investment and are more accessible than synthetic shoes if we take into account that they deteriorate in less than 1 year.

Leatherette or synthetic leather shoes last much less than genuine leather. That’s why they also cost much less.

They are always in fashion

Sleek leather oxford or derby shoes never go out of style. A pair of shoes of this style is essential for a wedding or any other formal event.

Leather shoes do not convey the same elegance as leather ones. This is because they look stiff and have an unnatural appearance.

Instead, leather shoes enhance any formal or informal outfit. It’s taking your style to the next level.

They are comfortable

By moulding faster to the shape of your feet, you feel more comfortable from the first days of use. This is a huge advantage if for work reasons you must wear dress shoes every day.

Leather shoes allow your toes to move freely in the toe box, and are lighter and more flexible.

They are eco-friendly

One of the main advantages of buying leather shoes is that you contribute to the environment. As leather is a natural material, no harmful chemicals are used in its manufacture.

Also, leather shoes break down and biodegrade because they are made from organic material. Synthetic shoes remain in landfills for decades, thus harming the environment

Types of leather according to the origin

Cowhide leather

Cowhide is characterised by being somewhat greasy and very thick, so several layers can be detached from it. Of course, the most used layer in shoemaking is the external one.

It is a highly breathable leather that is resistant to perforation and wear, reasons that make it one of the leathers that provide greater comfort to the feet, as well as being one of the most durable.

Lamb leather

This type of leather is fine, as well as smooth and low gloss. Thanks to its very high flexibility, lambskin is mainly used to make adaptable, soft and manageable linings and shoes.

It has a great insulating capacity, so lambskin leather footwear, in addition to being very comfortable, preserves heat when facing the winter cold. And in summer, it keeps your feet dry, thanks to its breathability and moisture absorption.

Goat leather

Unlike lambskin, which is characterised by being dull, goatskin can be given a high shine, which is why it is very commonly used to make high-value dress shoes.

It is a very fine and ductile leather that stands out for its very high quality derived from a compact composition, which makes it a real pleasure to the touch.

Deer leather

Another of the skins that stands out for their smoothness. In addition, it is perhaps the most flexible leather of all, allowing it to provide a virtually perfect fit. Of course, it is more difficult to clean, especially compared to cowhide.

Pig leather

To the surprise of many, pig skin is also used to make leather shoes. It is a very resistant, durable, adaptable, soft and porous leather, although of lower quality than all the previous ones. It is mainly used for making shoe linings.

Types of leather according to treatment

Leather can be subjected to physical or chemical treatments to obtain different finishes or appearances. In these processes, the type of leather used is logically also necessary.

Cooked leather is obtained by being submerged in boiling water or wax, all to enhance its elastic and flexible properties.

A factor that also influences the finish of the leather is the layer of leather that is used. Split leather is the one that is detached from the innermost layer for the manufacture of footwear, standing out for its high resistance and velvety texture.

Another type of leather according to its finish is nubuck. To obtain this finish, a fine sanding is done on the outside of the cowhide. It is extremely soft and very similar to suede.

Finally, we have the patent leather finish. This is obtained by adding layers of polyurethane to the leather, which gives it its characteristic shine. Elegance and water resistance are its most outstanding features. Of course, patent leather is less flexible than the rest of the leather.


Leather shoes are a great buy if you’re looking for stylish, durable, and comfortable shoes. In addition to looking good, they protect your feet from fungi, bacteria and wounds.

More than buying a shoe, it is a long-term investment, since, with proper care, it can last up to 5 years in perfect condition.



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