When choosing a leather shoe, the type of leather used speaks volumes of the quality and craftsmanship invested in it. When looking to buy, having prior knowledge of the various kinds of leather available and their condition can help you purchase the best shoe for you. Leather is used in almost all parts of the shoe; this includes the outsole, insole, lining, heel, and the upper. At The Shoe Mart, shoes made of all varieties of the highest quality leather are available. Here is a list of some of the types of leather you might find, and what you should know about them.
Shell Cordovan is one of the highest quality leathers used for luxury shoes. Due to its rarity and difficulty to make, it is limited and used for the top echelon of shoes. This also means it is limited to a set number of styles and colors. Shell cordovan is made from the hindquarters of horsehide, which has such dense pores that they create natural water and stretch-resistant material. This quality also makes it so that shell cordovan leather ripples instead of creases around stress points, making for a unique and modern distressed look. Because of the hardiness of the leather, if properly cared for, shell cordovan can last for years looking as good as new.
Roughout leather was the leather used for Marine Corp combat boots in World War II as it is considered a very breathable leather compared to rough-in leather, and does not require shining. Despite the leather’s soft and textured surface, it is still considerably thick and durable. The rough flesh side of the leather is used on the outside of the shoe, allowing for it to be exposed to extreme elements without suffering damage.
One of the most standard leathers, veg tanned leather, gets its name from the vegetable matter and tree bark used in its tanning process. This process creates a stiff and naturally colored leather, which eventually darkens or lightens with creasing and wear. But buyer beware, this leather has minimal water resistance, and very quickly shrinks and becomes brittle with excessive water contact.
One of the classics, suede is known for its luxurious texture and fragility, as it is not waterproof and susceptible to damage from extreme outdoor elements. Suede uses the flesh side of the skin that is buffed and sanded to an even texture, making it thin, pliable, and a delicate material. Because of its thinness, it is the perfect material for a lightweight and breathable shoe and is best for summer or early fall wear.
Scotch grain was first made in Scotland, where the texturing process was first pioneered with barley from old whiskey barrels. This method shrinks up the leather to create a signature pitted and rhino skin-like appearance. Because of the texturization, the leather is exceptionally durable and is more water resistant than other leathers. It is most commonly made with older calfskin, with this signature pattern crafted into it.
Another classic, calfskin leather is made from the leather of young cows, making it pliable and very thin. It is a fine grain material that is free of blemishes but sports strong durability, which makes it an everyday favorite among leather shoemakers. Because of its strength, the leather responds well to a high polish and can last for several years with the proper care. Because of its durability and sleek look, calfskin leather shoes are the top choice for a dress/business shoe.
From suede to shell cordovan, every leather has unique attributes that make for your perfect shoe needs. For shoes made from all of these quality leathers and much more, visit theshoemart.com to see their wide variety of luxury shoe options.