Leather For Shoes

In this category you will find the most suitable leather for shoes making like décolleté or boots, sneakers and classical shoes elegant or sporty. This kind of leather is resistant to bending and to atmospheric agents, it can be rigid or semi-rigid, but also soft if used for the upper part of the boots. The leather for shoes can be of two kinds: Full grain leather, is the finest leathers that retain the characteristic of original grain, can be opaque, shiny, printed or embossed or Split leather, obtained from the lower side of the skin, having the classic velour or suede effect.

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leather for shoes

Leather for shoes & footwear

Leather for shoes making has at least two different functions from which derives the main distinction, in fact we can find:

  • The sole leather (also called out-sole) which must be thick and resistant,
  • The leather for upper, that is the material that surrounds all or part of the foot.

As regards the world “shoes” we mean everything that represents the protection of the foot (such as slippers, sandals, shoes, boots, ballerinas, boots etc.) and which is composed of different parts (toe, sole, insole, buttress, lining, etc.). Each of these parts requires a particular type of leather with different thickness, temper and finishing characteristics depending on the model to produce.

Shoe leather material

When we talk about footwear, the word "shoe leather material" usually refers to all the parts that make the shoe: the sole, the insole (inner part where the foot rests) and for all other materials present in the rest of the shoes the term "leather"  is usually used together with the part to which it refers (for example leather for upper or leather for lining).

The ideal thickness for making leather shoes

The thickness required in making a shoe is a very important element and is itself a first indicator of the type of product we want to make. The classic leather for shoes has thicknesses between 1.1mm and 1.3mm for women and 1.3mm 1.4mm for men. While the lining, when used, has thicknesses ranging from 0.6mm to 0.8mm. On the contrary, a boot will have higher thicknesses that can reach even 2.2-2.5mm depending on the models.

Types of leather for shoes

As anticipated, the leather for footwear that is used in the (out) sole and in the insole must be harder and more resistant than the other parts, for this reason a vegetable tanned material has to be used. The thickness of the leather is then a fundamental element and depends on the model to be made, for women shoes are usually used lightweight skins, while for men footwear, leather is thicker and heavier. The other element is then the type of leather with which one intends to make the shoe, namely the species, the breed and sex of the animal. Finally, the other elements to take into consideration are the type of tanning and finishing. Sheep skins are usually the most used, because they are versatile and cheap, calf skins are generally more expensive and usually do not lend themselves to elegant women's shoes, except in the case of very fine thicknesses.

Types of shoes and leather materials used to make them

The shoes are divided into two large groups:

  • Sports shoes, where sneakers and leisure footwear dominate. For this type of product, the poorest leather in circulation, usually of bovine origin, is used, heavily finished and with prices, in fact, very accessible.
  • Classic footwear, such as Nubuck boots, elegant men's shoes, amphibians, sandals, walking boots, court shoes and so on, which have very variable thicknesses and finishes depending on the model. They can be made with cow or sheep leather.

Best leather tanning for shoes

The most commonly used tanning is the one with mineral salts (of which the main exponent is chrome tanning) as it is the least expensive and the easiest to work with. Lately, however, we are witnessing an ever-increasing interest in the so-called "chrome-free", that is the vegetable tanned leather (which was the only one used before the invention of mineral tanning in the 1960's) that allows us to obtain unique and particular effects and has a lower environmental impact. Finally, the use of mixed tanning (chrome + vegetable) is noted, which combines some characteristics of both types.

Types of leather finishing for shoes

Among the main types of finishing of leathers for footwear we certainly find aniline, semi-aniline, pigmented, printed and above all brush-off finishing and classic or soft patent leather (Naplak).

Leather lining

A good classic type shoe, such as a boot, is almost always accompanied by a leather lining material that gives it structure, elegance, refinement and above all guarantees foot hygiene. The lining leather can be of various types: ovine or bovine, with fur or smooth. Let's consider for example a leather with fur, it will be used above all for the winter collections of boots while among the most common types, we find thinner hides. Pork skins are also widely used, both in full grain or slit: here suppliers from the Far East predominate (see China and Taiwan), with very competitive prices. Lining skins also find application in leather goods production (such as bags, wallets, etc.) where types of sheep, goat and pig leather prevail. The prices of leather for lining are generally lower than other types of leather. The use of leather as a lining contributes to the excellent definition of the articles presented

Where to buy leather for shoes and lining?

On our website Buyleatheronline, you will find many leather shoes making supplies to choose from that include a wide selection of leathers suitable for making classical or sporty footwear, sneakers and linings, buying directly from home, without the need to go to the tannery and without minimum order.