Best Leather Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Having a pair of shoes is great, but having a good pair of shoes, it’s definitely a bonus. Leather happens to one of the oldest fabrics that have been used in making different types of footwear. It is exceptionally durable and offers great appeal to the eye. High-quality leather goods can cost quite a bit and it’s important to make sure you know if you are buying genuine leather or if you are buying something made of synthetic materials that replicate leather.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Orthotic Sole For Shock Absorption
Medial Eyelets Promote Airflow
Top 10 Picks
1. Converse All Star Leather
Orthotic Sole For Shock Absorption
Medial Eyelets Promote Airflow
- Not Waterproof
Converse shoes are known for their iconic look. What we think of is the rubber toe cap and canvas upper, however, the All Star also comes in a leather variety. This shoe offers a great look and excellent comfort. The insole will form to your feet making the shoe feel quite customized. The rubber outsole is durable and helps provide traction and grip on a variety of surfaces. Overall this is an amazing shoe and an excellent fit for any shoe collection.Read more
Newly added to its design is the Ortholite Insole. What does this mean for you? Better shock absorption and distribution alongside improved comfort. This type of insole forms to your specific foot and make your footwear feel like they were made just for you.
Converse adds small eyelets to the side of this option. This increases the overall airflow of the shoe. Leather is not the most breathable material and can lead to hot, sweaty feet. The addition of medial eyelets will keep the airflow going to help ensure your feet stay cool and comfortable.
Cost and Value
For an all leather model, this one is quite affordable and will fit into most budgets fairly easily. With the genuine leather design, you know this shoe is built to last. In addition, they are very comfortable and will go with any outfit you please.
2. Sperry Top-Sider
Lacing Construction Offers A Secure Fit
Heel Cup Absorbs Shock Efficiently
Padded Tongue For Comfort
Paul Sperry happens to be one of the oldest shoe making companies who focus on making of boat shoes. They can be worn in literally all the occasions and should be a part of every man’s shoe collection. They have been known to act as a quick replacement to loafers and sneakers, other buyers have even preferred them to normal dress footwear. The Sperry boat shoes have grown in popularity among many buyers both ladies and gentlemen.Read more
The upper section of this boat shoe has been designed to keep the feet dry always by repelling water. The brown shade used means the shoe has very minimal chances of getting and showing any dirt. The heel cup helps in absorbing any shock that can be generated when walking or bumping into something. When it comes to a comfortable fit, you can decide to either wear them with or without socks, though you will find many people going sockless when they wear boat shoes. Those who have sweaty feet can opt for cotton inserts. The 360 degrees lacing construction used guarantees the wearer a great fit.
The foot apparel has been designed with shades of brown color ranging from mid-brown to dark brown on the upper part. Though there are navy blue, black and white colors available. The sole can also be white in color or shades of brown. The upper part has been constructed using the leather fabric. The shoe is hand sewn and the stitching is done on the top. The lacing system of the boat shoe is 360 degrees design with two or three eyelets. The laces are made from leather. The soles have been constructed to make sure they are non-marking, well that’s why they are called boat shoes. Added protection is offered to the foot by the padded tongue.
Cost and Value
The cost of these falls towards the middle of our guide. They offer exceptional durability and a style that goes with almost anything. The overall quality helps the value and if you decide to go with them your feet will be comfortable and supported through hours of long wear.
3. Skechers Citywalk Malton
Easy To Break-In
Rubber Lugs For Traction
Memory Foam Insole
- Seam Durability Issues
Skechers is a well-trusted brand that has been making quality footwear for generations, and the Citywalk Malton is a good example of those values in action. With a memory foam insole and flexible rubber outsole, they are very comfortable. In addition, the attention to detail seen in the stitching and overall look is amazing. If you need a versatile shoe for everyday wear this may be the model you have been looking for.Read more
The comfort of a sneaker with the look of an oxford is one of the reasons we love this option. When you are on your feet all day but need something that looks professional and polished this is an excellent choice. They are easy to dress up or down and will keep you pain-free for hours.
Lugged Rubber Outsole
Rubber does an excellent job of providing traction and grip on a variety of surfaces. Add to that the lungs and what you have are a shoe that you can wear just about anywhere. This type of outsole will grip slippery or wet surfaces with ease. Whether you want to wear them to the office or out on a trail they won't let you down.
Cost and Value
These shoes fall into the more affordable category of our guide. They are durable and exceptionally good looking and comfortable. These add to the overall value. Most budgets will be able to absorb their cost easily and after many years, you will see this model basically pays for themselves in terms of longevity and comfort.
4. Bostonian Bolton
Flexible Sole For Comfort
Double Needled Stitching
These dress shoes are made with a sleek and stylish design that looks good in a variety of situations, from work to play. This loafer is handsome and adds up a classy style that is also great for casual wear. The shoe’s profile is polished and has a ride that is similar to that of a sneaker. The slip-on design is easy to put on and remove, making them versatile.Read more
The upper section has been constructed with full grain leather combined with articulate stitching. The stitching on this dress shoe is double needled for durability and a classy look. The design and style are very versatile, whether you're wearing them for work or a casual event.
The lightweight sole is very flexible, which is something most buyers like to look for in a leather shoe. The manmade sole is designed to provide comfort and stability on most kinds of flat terrain. This means that this footwear will make sure that you enjoy the different type of activities.
Cost and Value
They are a bit costly but the design is high-quality and versatile to wear for most occasions. With proper care, you can ensure that they will last you a long time so you get the most out of your investment.
5. New Balance MX608V4
Thick Insole For Stability
EVA Midsole For Support
Padded Collar And Tongue
- Durability Issues
Over the years, many workout trainers have opted to use more synthetic fabrics instead of leather because they are seen to be more efficient. This trainer from New Balance is made of high-quality leather and will offer you the same amount of comfortability that the best trainers used in workout sessions provide. They will guarantee an enjoyable training session with minimal stress.Read more
The footwear has been constructed with a technology that is able to reduce the level of stress that is generated by the weight of the body and the pounding effect when running. They offer a great fit and are also very comfortable. The footbed of these trainers is well cushioned. In order to offer a more flexible fit, especially for people with wider feet, the shoe is made in two shoe sizes. The sole has been made of a thick sole to provide balance when working out and offer the needed amount of traction. The ABZORB foam on the footbed has been constructed to provide an added soft cushioning effect to the feet.
Style and Design
The upper part has been made using leather fabric that has great color variations, and as a result, these shoes are available in 19 color options. The collars are dual density and have foam padding, hence no irritation being experienced on one's ankles when working out. The natural movement of the foot is encouraged by the flexible outsoles. The midsole has a construction of EVA foam that has an internal injection of the shank, for providing maximum support. The footwear offers a springy step when running because of the ABZORB foam used in the footbed, which also provides soft cushioning. The collar has a dual density construction with good tongue padding. The sizes of the trainer are also versatile.
Cost and Value
A great balance of fit and comfortability has been achieved in this trainer, thanks to the technology that has been used in designing this sneaker. You can wear them to your training or just for a casual look and still be able to get great value. They are an investment that every athlete should consider having. They are great for light training.
6. Rockport Eureka
Little To No Break-In Required
Mesh Lining For Breathability
Rubber Sole For Solid Traction
Extra Padding For Stability
They are among the best walking sneakers from Rockport. They are not only affordable but then they also have great features that a lot of walking foot apparel tends to miss out on. With great shock absorption and a variety of comfort features, you are sure to love this choice by Rockport. They are the best casual shoes and will give you an appearance that is perfect.Read more
The breathability has been enhanced by the mesh lining which also helps in sweat absorption. The mesh helps to ensure your feet stay dry and cool. Wet feet lead to fungal and bacterial growth that can not only cause itching and in some scenarios, pain. With the overall breathability of this shoe, you won't have to worry about those pesky problems anymore.
Wearing these to an outdoor event or to the office will be perfectly fine. With the rubber sole, you gain good traction on a variety of surfaces. In addition, rubber is exceptionally durable. This will allow you extended and comfortable wear for years to come.
Cost and Value
These shoes have great comfortability and support. They are fairly costly, but then when you look at the features that they have, you will notice that they offer so much that the cost is lessened by the value. They are the best choice for walking and many buyers love them because of the comfort features they have.
7. Clarks Escalade Step
Orthotic Insole Absorbs Shock
Clarks have been known to produce some of the best footwear on the market. Just like their other models, the Escalade model meets the standards of first-class footwear. These Clark Loafers are not only comfortable but also trendy. They are the type of shoe that can never go out of style or season. They are comfortable, casual footwear. The slip-on design means ease when putting them on and taking them off.Read more
The insole is removable and is also made of leather combined with the Ortholite technology. This combination will allow the sole to form to your particular foot which gives it a customized feel. In addition, Ortholite is excellent at absorbing shock and distributing it. This helps keep your feet, legs, and back feeling great no matter how many hours you are on your feet.
When it comes to the outer appearance of the footwear, it is all about the detail. The fine stitching sets the look a notch above others in its class. They will dress up easily but also look great with a pair of jeans. The goring makes them easy to put on but also gives a nice look to the overall foot apparel.
Cost and Value
Clarks have been known to have very affordable foot apparel. These leather ones give you a classy and dressy look at an affordable price. With their perfect sizing and lightweight nature, they are definitely worth the price.
8. Adidas Samoa Retro
Side Perforations For Ventilation
Reinforced Toe Section
These trainers have a very classic flair and have managed to stay in the market for long as one of the best leather footwear in the market. These trainers have been around since the 80’s and have been loved by many for the past decades. It has a toe that is reinforced and it has a low profile. They have managed to enhance the toe with a rubber bumper making it have a much more stylish look.Read more
The upper part of the Samoa has a suede fabric combined with stripes made of leather and a heel tab. You will find that some versions of this trainer have the herringbone textile while others have been made from leather that is full grain. Despite this, the trainer offers the needed amount of comfort. The toe box has a signature reinforcement and a rubber bumper. The side stripes are well perforated to enhance breathability. The special edition of this trainer which has a collegiate yellow and navy blue tends to have a toe box that is smaller.
The outsole of the trainer is made of rubber and has a logo pattern of trefoil, if you look at the medial section you will find a larger logo pattern. The sole guarantees cushioning that is comfortable. They are good for long hours of standing, light running, or walking. The sole has been constructed to provide ample arch support to the feet. Due to the sole, the trainer has been praised for their durability.
Cost and Value
The Samoa Adidas are very affordable and the best value in our guide. You will definitely find some of these trainers for sale at very affordable prices. It’s a classic trainer and offers style and comfort at the same time. They are ideal for light workout sessions or just for a simple casual look. Either way, they will provide good value for your money.
9. Finn Mary Jane
- Great for All Occasions
- Awesome Arch Support
- Wide Toe Box
- Adjustable Strap
- Supreme Comfort
- Velcro Durability
This classic style Mary Jane gives you a look that is versatile and has been loved for generations. The leather upper is soft and flexible. The outsole provides good traction and is quite durable. In addition, there is a slight heel which will help to elongate the leg. There are also several details that make this shoe very eye appealing, like the decorative perforation on the strap.Read more
The cushioning found throughout this shoe helps to support every area of your feet. It also offers great support to your arch which helps you when you are on your feet for long hours.
A Mary Jane style can be paired with casual as well as dressy outfits. When looking for real comfort and versatility you can't go wrong with this style. Regardless of where you decide where then they will give you comfort and support.
Cost and Value
They are quite affordable and fall toward the low end of our price point. They are great to wear during a variety of seasons and occasions which adds to the overall value. Most budgets will absorb the cost fairly easily and you are sure to be satisfied with your purchase.
10. Alegria Debra
Wide Toe Box
Helps Relieve Foot Pain
- Long Break-In Period
Alegria is a favorite for a vast variety of people. They provide excellent comfort and awesome style. With a variety to choose from you will be able to find the perfect fit for your leather shoe need. They are roomy and exceptionally comfortable. The elastic goring makes them easy to slip on and take off. In addition, this will allow you a bit of stretch for those days your feet decide to swell.Read more
When you spend long days on your feet pain becomes a part of daily life. If you choose Alegria you will find that to be a thing of the past. The toe box offers enough room for your feet to move naturally and will help you avoid ingrown toenails and toe pain. On top of that, they have a memory foam insole and a rocker bottom that allows your feet to move naturally. True comfort is found when you wear these shoes.
The insole that is used in this option is amazingly comfortable and you may decide to stick with it. However, if you wear a custom orthotic the ability to remove the insole and easily slip yours in is imperative to your overall comfort. In addition, because these are so durable you may find you want to replace the insole with a new set as they break down over time.
Cost and Value
Alegria is known for their exceptional comfort and top quality materials. This comes with a pretty high price tag. You may make an adjustment in your budget to afford them but if you do you won't be disappointed. The Alegria's will be with you for the long haul and keep your feet, ankles, and back feeling great.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Some of the leather types have been mentioned already, but for the sake of being thorough, let’s break it down even more. There are about nine distinguished types of leather used in shoes (depending on who you ask), but let’s go into the most common. Because leather is used as a catch-all term, it’s easy to confuse and mix-up the many different types there actually are, or aren’t. The type of leather can be differentiated by its processing method, or by the animal hide or raw material in which it was made from.
Roughout – Roughout is an inverted leather meaning it’s flipped inside-out. The flesh side of the leather is on the external, and the flat, smooth side is on the inside. They are somewhat more breathable than standard leather and are favored because they do not need any extra attention when it comes to cleaning. This leather is used for rough-wear and performance rather than looks and fashion.
Vegan Tanned -This is a super simple leather with no special tanning methods or processing done to it. It’s actually made from organic plant material using tree bark for tanning. It usually comes out light in shade, but the shade does not stick around for long. The leather will naturally darken up with use, and should not be an alarm to you if you do notice a darker shade over time. Just make sure not to get this leather wet, or face shrinking and cracking leather as they dry, and over time.
Pulled – These leathers are a group of highly oiled and waxed skins turn a different shade, usually lighter, when force is put on the leather such as stretching or pulling. Shoes made of this leather are extremely easy to maintain and fair well against scuffing and similar damage. You can find this leather on boots used for work all the way to casual boots because of it’s diverse nature lending a hand in all walks of life. Easier maintenance is always better.
Chamois – This leather is also referred to as “shammy”. It resembles suede in a way, and because it absorbs liquids it is usually heavily waxed and oiled. On the bright side, the heavy application of the wax and oils makes it so you don’t need to shine very often.
Suede – Just the RO leather suede is inverted but instead applies a sanded and highly buffed out finish making it extremely soft and easy to the touch. Water and muck will easily attach itself to the material, so shoes made of suede should not be worn in rough environments.
S. Grain – Commonly referred to as pebble grain, this leather is made using barley in order to form the texture. The barley assists in shrinking the leather, which instead of shriveling makes the interesting pattern this leather is known for. You can also find this leather made in an alternative way, using embossing techniques over cowhide. It looks classy and is super weather resistant.
Cordovan – For many, this is the most favored of all leathers listed here. The leather is extremely durable. It is made using horsehide, and the reason it’s as strong as it is has to do with the area of the horse which the skin used for this leather is pulled from. It is taken from the hind area, where the skin is hardest due to dense pores. This also means it will be a whole lot more naturally water resistant. Another benefit is less creasing. If properly cared for, this leather can last for up to ten years on a shoe, making it very cost effective. You won’t find many colors, and do to the difficult process of working this leather it is costly, but the quality is certainly not contested.
Calf Skin – This is leather made from cow calves. The young skin means it will be much thinner than normal cowhide. It will also have much fewer blemishes and natural imperfections then the skin of an older cow. Despite the age of the cow and less thick skin, it still holds the same durability and strength. The leather polishes up really well and is of the most ideal skins for dress shoes.
Patent – This leather is an extremely polished and shined version of cowhide and calfskin. With methods taken from old Chinese polishing habits, or by use of plastics, an extraordinarily eye-catching shine is able to be achieved. It is typically seen in use on formal wear and is probably most popular for this type of shoe across the board.
Leather is often considered to be one of the highest quality materials used in shoes, thanks to its durability and other unique qualities that other fabrics may not offer. However not all leather is created equal, and certain types of leather will have better quality than others. Ideally, leather used in shoes should be of robust quality, with good waterproofing and enough softness to allow them to be broken in well without compromising durability.
There are a lot of different factors that can affect the quality of leather. These include aspects like the species of animal, how well-kept the animal was, even the gender of the animal. While these finer details can have a surprisingly large impact on the quality of the material, they are not something that most consumers need to take into consideration. Instead, we want to focus on How the leather performs.
More often than not, quality goes hand in hand with durability. A shoe made from high-quality leather will likely cost more but will be more durable and last longer than those made from lower-quality materials. For the purposes of this buying guide, we researched each product in depth to ensure that they were made using high-quality materials so that you can get the most out of them.
Leather is unique in that, unlike textiles such as cotton and synthetics such as polyester, it is naturally water-resistant. This makes leather a good choice for those who plan on being outdoors or in wet environments, as well as those who work in food service or custodial positions. For this reason, it’s important for high-quality leather to have strong waterproofing qualities. Some companies will even go as far as adding an additional waterproofing treatment on top of the material for extra protection.
A high-quality leather shoe will have just the right balance between malleability and durability, allowing them to be broken in without impacting the overall integrity of the material. While shoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they will require some breaking-in in order to fully form to the Unique shape of your feet. Leather takes longer to break in than other materials, and good-quality leather will be made in such a way that it can do so within a reasonable amount of time. It will also balance this malleability with overall strength so that once they are broken in, they will stay in good shape for a long time.
Leather is one of the most durable textiles there is, and in ancient times was even used as battle armor. In fact researchers are still finding leather artifacts; one example is a shoe found by archaeologists in Armenia that was found to be over 5,000 years old- older than Stonehenge!
Of course, 5,000 year old leather is a rarity. That being said, you can get a lot of durability and longevity out of high-quality leathers. They offer natural water protection that textiles such as canvas don’t Have, and a solid leather shoe will resist cracking and wear with the right amount of care. We've explained in the FAQ section below how to keep your leather shoes in good condition.
Not all leathers are created equal. Some shoes will be made out of multiple cuts of leather, which can impact durability and cause them to Not have a uniform look. This can be seen in discoloration, or even one shoe being a completely different color than the other. When it comes to durable leather, you want something that is thick and uniform in color. This ensures that the shoes were made out of the same cut.
Of course, the upper isn’t the only part of a shoe. Durability also depends on the soles. A leather of exceptional quality doesn’t mean much when paired with a sole that is lacking in quality. The outsole of a shoe is usually the first part to show signs of wear and tear, so it’s important to take good care of your shoes so they can be passed down to future generations.
A lot goes into determining the comfort of a shoe. Things like materials and overall fit will play an important role in comfort. Let's take a look at these factors in a little more detail, shall we?
When we look at materials in the context of comfort, we look more at the interior and soles of a shoe. While the upper does play a part, the interior and soles have a larger role in this, as those are what will be constantly touching your feet when wearing them. Some shoes will use leather for the interior as well as the upper, and others may use a fabric lining. Fabric linings make the shoe slightly more breathable, while a leather interior further reinforces water resistance.
Leather or not, soles are one of the most important parts of a shoe. The insole is making direct contact with your foot, the midsole provides support and shock absorption, and the outsole is making direct contact with the ground. A good insole will keep your feet cool and well-cushioned, and Ortholite is a very common insole material. Most midsoles will be made with EVA foam, which provides good shock absorption and longevity. Outsoles are typically made of rubber, which can be made to be waterproof, non-marking, or even slip-resistant.
Most of us know our shoe size, and for most adults it isn't something that will change drastically over time. Personally, I've been a size 8.5 for at least ten years, and I wear the same shoe size as my mother. However, size only tells you so much about a shoe, and won't be an exact determination of fit. What will be an exact determination of fit is putting them on and ensuring that they're comfortable. It's best to have about a half inch of room between your big toe and the front of the shoe, as this will allow your feet wiggle room as you walk and move. Wiggle your toes around a bit to ensure that there is enough room. Two different products can be the same size, but fit very differently because of the shape of the shoe. Let your comfort be your guide, and read customer reviews before purchasing so you can get an idea of the real-world experiences that others have had with them. Some leather shoes will fit very well but feel a little tight at first, though not unbearably so. Leather takes longer to break in than textiles, and some leather shoes take longer than others. Be patient with this process.
The cost and value of a shoe is something we always look at closely when we evaluate our products. This is also one of the most important aspects for consumers; what do they get out of these shoes? What sort of benefits do these shoes have over other products?
There's a lot that goes into determining the value of a shoe. We look at all other factors: comfort, durability, materials, build quality. We then consider these in relation to the price of the product, as well as similar products. With each product on this buying guide, we briefly discussed the cost and value.
That being said, value tends to be subjective. What is important for one person may not be as important for someone else. Consider what is most important to you, and in the event, you don't like the product, feel free to return or exchange them. Leather shoes are an expensive but worthy investment, and you want to make sure you're getting the most out of your purchase.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Leather requires a bit more care than textile uppers like canvas or mesh, but it only takes a few minutes, every couple of months to keep those shoes looking new.
Leather polish helps to repair or cover up any scuff marks that may have occurred, as well as give the shoe a nice shine.
Leather conditioner can be applied every 3-6 months, and helps keep the leather from creasing or cracking.
Leather is simple to pair with any kind of attire, whether it be casual jeans, or more formal slacks and dresses.
The color of the leather can determine a bit of style sense however. Lighter shades of leather can be paired with grey slacks, jeans, blues and darker browns. Add an accent color to your ensemble, like lavender, to make the outfit pop.
Darker leathers like blacks and dark brown can be paired with darker colors,
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is leather usually made from, and what can it be made from?
While most leather shoes are made from either cowhide or calfskin, they aren’t limited to these two sources. Leather can also be made from other animals such as buffalo, elephant, kangaroo, and ostrich. Leather can even be made using sources from reptiles, such as alligators, crocodiles, and snakes. There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to leather, and the material used will have a significant impact on aspects such as durability and overall price.
q: What type of leather is the most expensive?
Cordovan is the most expensive of common leathers. Though as with anything else, the more uncommon the leather, the higher the price tag. The most uncommon being leather from reptile sources. While it makes for one of the most durable leathers available, it’s also the most expensive. Reptile skin shoes are specially made, and cost more than any kind of common leather.
q: Are there shoes that are made entirely (100%) of leather?
For the most part, yes, unless you are also including the shoelaces, adhesive and any bonding material. Leather components can consist of the outsole, insole, inner lining, heel and upper. Leather is such a diverse, durable and useful material that it can be shaped into any and all components as needed, effectively.
q: How thick does the leather on a shoe need to be practical?
Thickness is balanced with overall weight and highly depends on it. If a shoe weighs four ounces, the leather upper shoe is in the area of 7/32 of an inch. Let’s say the shoe weighs in the range of one ounce, the thickness of the leather used should be 1/64 of an inch. This is how it’s typically measured.
q: What's the best way to care for leather shoes?
Leather requires different maintenance and care than any other material used in shoes. While it is one of the most durable materials out there, it can still stain, warp, or become damaged. Proper care will ensure that your shoes look as good as the day you bought them, and will keep them in good form for years to come. The most important aspects of caring for leather are cleaning, conditioning, polishing, and weatherproofing, which we will discuss in more detail below. Be sure to purchase products specifically made for leather.
It’s best to clean and condition your leather once a month, or every other month. You may need to do this more often if you’re particularly rough on your shoes. Dirt and debris can easily be removed with a horsehair or nylon brush and a small amount of warm water. Once the shoes are completely dry, apply conditioner using a clean cloth, and buff lightly with a horsehair brush once the conditioner is dry. This will ensure the leather is adequately moisturized, and help to prevent cracking and warping.
Polishing is important for leather dress shoes in order to retain their color and shine. You can you a neutral shoe cream, or if you notice discoloration or excessive wear you can use a polish that matches the color of your shoe. If using a shoe cream, work a small amount into the leather and let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then use a brush to restore shine and remove excess cream. When using a paste or a type of polish that matches the color of the shoe, rub it on, let it sit for 15-20 seconds, and then buff with a brush.
While leather is naturally resistant to water, it can still become stained or discolored after being in contact with water for an extended period of time, especially on lighter colors such as taupe. For this reason, it’s best to apply a weatherproofing coating every six to twelve months. This will reinforce the natural water-resistance and work to prevent staining from water exposure. In the event your shoes do get wet, it’s best to air dry them. While specialized shoe and boot dryers do exist, the quick temperature change can cause the leather to dry out and crack.