How Long Does Leather Soles Last?

How Long Does Leather Soles LastWhen it’s about looking classy and stylish, the answer is always LEATHER. A little bit of leather can spice up any outfit and hence it is no wonder at all that leather is one of the most sought out materials when it comes to the footwear industry.

The debonair fusion of fashion and comfort that leather provides has always helped them stay in vogue, be it the Victorian era or the Rock ‘n Roll age. 

When you go off to a fancy store and spend like a hundred bucks or more on a pair of leather shoes, you will indeed have some apprehensions about its durability. The most common question people do have is-“ How long does the leather sole last?

Well, the answer to that depends upon a wide variety of factors such as type of leather, quality of leather, usage, and maintenance.

If you purchase a shoe with a high-quality sole and use it accordingly, your pair is definitely going to outlive its rubber and synthetic alternatives. 

Since the outsole is the most used and least cared for a part in a shoe, it is usually the first to get damaged.

Since leather shoes are a tad bit pricier than other synthetic materials, it is indeed important to know how long those leather soles will last and we are here to answer all your questions regarding the same. 

So, let us start by gaining a basic understanding of leather. 


Types of Leather 

Leather is basically just chemically treated animal skins and hides. Due to its durability, flexibility, and strength, leather is one of the most sought out materials in the market. It combines functionality and fashion and has been a never-ending fad since its introduction. 

Even though the easily available leather is normally made of soft and thick cowhide, a wide variety of cuts are available in the market. 

While splitting the hide, a difference in quality and texture of leather is observed, and hence for the ease of differentiation, they are graded into five- full-grain leather, top grain leather, split-grain leather, genuine leather, and bonded leather. 

Full-grain leather, top grain leather, split-grain leather, genuine leather, and bonded leather

1.) Full-grain leather is the leather with all the natural marks and blemishes. It is processed minimally and absorbs moisture and oil to develop a wonderful gloss that gets better with time. 

2.) Top grain leather is well sanded and pigmented for a smoother finish. Unlike full-grain leather, it does not absorb moisture or oil, ie, it is water/oil repellent and can be cleaned by just wiping. 

3.) Split grain leather is quite bendy and does not contain any natural marks or patterns. 

4.) Genuine leather is made from the lowest cut of the hide and is heavily processed, therefore lacking any of the structure or beauty of leather. 

5.) Bonded leather is not exactly a cut from the hide but is a blend of all the leather dust, scraps, and synthetic material that is often used as a cheap alternative for leather. 

When shopping for footwear it is important to choose shoes or boots with high-quality leather soles(check the labels on the shoes), if you are looking for a long-lasting pair.

Genuine leather and bonded leather may have the name leather in it and would come at a very low price, but it is just not worth your money. 

Type of Leather  Durability 
Full grain Decades
Top grain 10-15 years
Split grain 1-2 years
Genuine leather 2-3 months
Bonded leather 10-20 uses

How to know if the leather is of good quality 

If you are not able to make sure if the leather is a high-quality cut, the easiest way to figure it out is by smelling. Good quality, true leather won’t have any plastic or chemical smell

The next thing to look for is the feel and look of the leather. If it’s brittle or was too thin then it is not high-quality leather. 

Good quality leather shoes are always handmade and have perfect stitches. Hence the finesse of the stitches will help you figure out if it a good quality leather shoe or not. 

Last but not the least, is the simplest way to figure out if your footwear is made up of good quality leather or not, and that is from it PRICE TAG!

Good quality leather shoes always come at a moderately higher price. If a shoe is pretty cheap and claims to be made of leather, don’t fall for the bait. 

How To Wear Leather Shoes, If You Want The Soles To Last? 

If you want your leather soles to last longer it is important to use it with care. If you want your elegant and classy pair to stay perfect, you should not use it regularly in damp and wet conditions. Leather soled shoes are meant for formal events and offices and not for rough usage

It is best to use multiple shoes and or to skip days, so as to not overuse the shoes. 

How to maintain leather soles? 

How to maintain leather soles1.) Do not wet the soles. If you do, let it dry off naturally. 

2.) Polish the soles once a month 

3.) Use leather conditioner 

4.) Use sole sprays if required 

5.) Use rubber soles or stick-on pieces to prolong the life of your leather soles and for improved grip 

If you buy shoes with high-quality leather soles and use them and care for them accordingly, it is going to last you for years. The leather sole will outlive the rubber soles and plastic ones.

In this new age of sustainability, it is best to opt for a good quality leather sole than buying three or four rubber ones instead. Even when a leather sole wears off, the shoe can just be resolved.

So loosen up the purse a bit and get yourself some decent leather footwear…. You will see the class speak for itself. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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