Leather Shoes: A Comprehensive Guide on Selecting the Best Leather

A good pair of leather shoes can be the perfect pairing to a fancy outfit or a classic pair of jeans. However, choosing the right pair of shoes is not always an easy process. From understanding animal hides and grains to deciphering between soles, there is a lot to analyze.

Here at Foot Fitter, we made your selection process a little easier with a guide on how to pick the best leather when you are out shoe shopping.


Consider your Leather.

Not all leather is considered equal. Leather is first classified by its grain, or the outside appearance of your leather shoes. On top of that, it is essential to choose the right style of leather shoes for your outfit and personality.

Types of Leather.

It is first important to consider the way your leather shoes are procured. Some leather embraces its natural form. On the other hand, other forms utilize sanding processes and polishing. To realize the difference, we broke down their characteristics below.

  • Full-grain leather

Full-grain leather maintains its most natural form. Moreover, full-grain leather shoes will appear to be more textured. The reason for this is the animal hide that is used, which remains not sanded or buffed.

Typically, full-grain leather comes with a light stain and subtle aniline finish that showcases the natural features of the leather. This runs contrary to corrected-grain, which includes the sanding process and a thicker finish.

Among leather experts and enthusiasts, full-grain is considered the highest quality because it is more durable, lasts longer and is more breathable.

  • Corrected-grain leather

Corrected-grain leather shoes deconstruct the animal hide, sanding down the top layer to mask imperfections. This type of leather also utilizes a top coating that imitates the natural grain of leather.

Generally, in the shoe community corrected-grain leather is less valued because it does not allow the leather to breathe as much as full-grain.

Moreover, in leather shoes this causes your feet to be sweatier, smellier and less comfortable.

While corrected-grain leather may be the cheaper option short-term, it may not be as durable or long-lasting as full-grain leather, making the investment worth it.

Choose the right sole.

While your shoes’ soles spend most of their time facing the ground, they are not something that should be overlooked and forgotten. When it comes to choosing the proper soles for your shoes, price should take a backseat to comfort. After all, if you make the right investment you can gain use of your leather shoes for a decade or more.

  • Leather soles

The upside? Leather soles are durable and have the ability to contour to the natural shape of your foot. In addition, they maintain a clean shape and look over time. The downside? Leather can be pretty rigid and take some time to break-in. It will also be more expensive because of its properties to increase the longevity of your leather shoes.

  • Rubber soles

Rubber soles may seem like the better choice because they seem more comfortable from the beginning and cheaper. However, rubber is also a lot easier to wear down. While the added shock-absorption may feel nice at the start of the day, after a long day of wear your feet will grow tired and uncomfortable from the inability of the rubber to mirror your foot’s natural curves.


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