Synthetic Vs Genuine Leather Shoes/Boots: What’s the Right Option for You?

Synthetic Vs Leather BootsThe very first thing to note in your shoes that will ensure the longevity or durability is the material it is built with. Obviously the construction and the types of soles do matter, but the entire look and built of the shoes depend on the material of the upper with which it is built. 

Genuine leather is best for those who want a comfortable, durable and breathable boot or shoes to stand all day. Synthetic leather is best for those who want inexpensive, waterproof, lustrous boots and does not care much about the durability of boots.

Primarily most of the boots are made from these two leather. Today in this article I am going to discuss about these two types of leather and tell you the best between the two.

Comparison Table Genuine Vs Synthetic Leather

Genuine Leather Synthetic Leather
It is made from animal hides It is made from plastic base and then treated with wax, dyes and polyurethane
It has pores and marks in it It is even with a lustrous finish
Lasts lifetime Does not last long
Expensive  Less expensive
Uneven to touch and have cracks on the skin Smooth to touch
Color and shine enhances with maintenance and polish Color and shines fades away with long use
They are not waterproof They are generally waterproof

Differences Between Synthetic and Genuine Leather

The table above is to give you a comprehensive idea of the difference between the two types of leather. But there are other factors to be considered as well:

Synthetic Vs Genuine Leather Shoes/Boots1.) Visual Appearance

As synthetic leather is man-made it can be found in wide range of colors and textures. The finish and appearance is made attractive artificially. Genuine leather on the other hand, appears less attractive in the beginning because of the presence of natural pores, stretch marks and cracks. But we should not be fooled by the appearance. Wearing authentic leather builds up personality and adds to your style.

2.) Comfort

Being made from natural animal skin, genuine leather is breathable, malleable and quite flexible. You cab comfortable stand in it the entire day. Faux leather on the other hand being made of plastics is quite rigid and does not provide that level of comfort as their genuine counterparts.

3.) Texture

As mentioned earlier, as genuine leather is nothing else than animal skin treated differently, it has got a rough texture filled with pores and cracks on it. On the other hand, synthetic leather is very smooth to touch and feel. You won’t experience any uneven surfaces or raised patterns on it. Real leather has unique patterns just as the skin of the animal it is made from. It is a bit coarse in appearance.

4.) The test of time

Truly speaking, how much sturdy it might look at the beginning, synthetic leather can never stand the test of time when compared to their genuine counterparts. Genuine leather on the other hand, if maintained properly, can serve you a lifetime. So, even if genuine leather feels like a pinch in the pocket at the beginning, it is worth every penny spent the long run.

Different Qualities/Types of Genuine leather

1.) Aniline Leather:

Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is the smoothest and the lightest. It is the most original one. It is of the most fragile type and has a natural color and odor.

2.) Semi-Aniline Leather:

Semi-aniline-leatherSemi-aniline leather is smooth but not like that of the aniline one. It receives a coating on its surface which alters its color and texture and even the odor.

3.) Pigmented Leather:


Pigmented leather is the most treated one. Its coated with a strong layer that makes it durable, but takes away the original color of the leather. For example, leathers used in car seats are made up of pigmented leathers.

4.) Full Grain Leather:

Full grain leather

Full grain leather uses only the top most layer of the animal skin closest to the air, which is the toughest, most durable and most beloved. It has creases, and unique color. It’s the most expensive one.

5.) Top Grain Leather:

Top grain leather

Top grain leathers use the next layer of the animal skin and works on it to remove imperfections.

6.) Bonded Leather:

Bonded leather

In bonded leathers, the shavings from all other leather grades are collected, grounded up and mixed with an adhesive liquid to make a piece of leather. 

Different Qualities/Types of Synthetic Leather

Synthetic leather is a petroleum-based alternative to genuine leather. they are made combining base materials like cotton or polyester with plastic substances.

These are vegan material as compared to the other types synthetic leather. They are also more durable and comfortable of all.

1.) Leatherette:


This type of leather is made combining a fabric base and a plastic covering. They come in wide ranges of styles and colors.

2.) PU Leather:

PU Leather

This is the cheapest of all the faux leathers and is therefore the least durable and comfortable.

3.) PVC Leather:

PVC Leather

This is slightly more durable than the PU leather and is produced in large numbers.

4.) Pleather:


These are made from plastic materials and are therefore very light in weight. PU and PVC leather are the two types of pleathers. 

5.) Naugahyde:


This is a vinyl-coated fabric and is waterproof. They are very similar to genuine leather as they are made from the skin of a chameleon-like animal called Naugas.  But the animals are not harmed in the process because only when the animals shed their skin, the material is collected and processed to make the leather.

Advantages of Synthetic Leather over Genuine Leather:

      • Synthetic leather is less expensive and is an alternative to real leather
      • They are more attractive
      • No animals are harmed to make this type of leather
      • It is water-resistant
      • It is resistant to both abrasions and cuts
      • Resistant to stains
      • Easy to clean

How to Distinguish Genuine Leather from Synthetic Leather?

To know the quality of your leather you must know the following points to check it:


          Original leather has a color distinct of the animal skin it is made of. All colored leathers are treated artificially.


          The texture of original leather is not very smooth. It is generally somewhat coarse. If your leather feels like plastic, it is a fake one.


             The edges of original leather are somewhat natural and rough.


             Check for pores in your leather because original leather contains the same pores that are present in the animal body from which it is made.


             Real leather smells like that of the animal skin and fake ones that of plastic.

Creases and wrinkles:

             If your leather has creases and wrinkles, be sure it’s the original one.

Before we say Good Bye:

Both synthetic and genuine leather are good options if you can maintain them properly. Both has its own advantages and disadvantages as mentioned above.

Genuine leather can have no alternative who knows its value and if you consider the durability. But synthetic leather is a less expensive alternative with almost similar features.

Hope this article was useful in providing you the details of the differences between the two types of leather and hope you make the right choice suiting your needs.

That’s all for today guys! We will be back with another exciting article soon. Till then take care and…

Keep walking!

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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