The choice of leather for DIY shoes depends largely on applied technology and tools. However, there is one common recommendation – genuine leather should be soft, flexible, must withstand multiple bends and stretches and have water resistance. At the same time, it must “breathe” (i.e. to be vapor permeable) and be resistant to sweat.
Major types of leather for shoes
Compared to heavy shoe leather, sandalwood leather is firmer (but not too hard), not so oily, has a good surface and color, can withstand dry and wet frictions.
At a thread and glue method of fastening, for the top of the shoes choose chrome leather, suede, sawdust. Chrome-like leather is a soft type treated with chrome compounds. No matter what kind of animal raw skin you choose, the characteristics should be the same: soft to the touch, wide coloration variety, the same level of thickness, without stripes, folds, stains, buckles and no cracks appearing when the leather type is bent.
Natural leather is used by many craftsmen and manufacturers for the bottom and lining, as well as for making the intermediate parts of shoes.
Different areas of a shoe during the process of wearing are subjected to various negative effects: stretching, compression, bending, abrasion, and the effects are repeated many times in conditions of moisture, sunrays, dust, sweat, bacteria, etc. Leather resistance to these influences depends on its thickness, strength, elongation, and stiffness.
A wide range of leathers is used for making DIY shoes. The following groups of leathers for the top of shoes are distinguished: cowhide, pigskin, lambskin, sawdust, goatskin, velour, nubuck, lacquers, suede.
Top 5 leather types for shoes – personal tests and recommendations
- Jeereal is cowhide leather (2 mm thick);
- Incircle – another cowhide leather piece that is 15.6×19.6 inches;
- Muse Craft is soft cowhide leather (2.1 mm thick);
- The Tannery NYC is made of cowhide leather (only 1.3 mm thick);
- REED Leather HIDES is the only whole sheepskin for shoes that I can recommend. It has a very nice antique finish;
I understand that every craftsman uses different leather types for his or her products. That is why I’m ready to test and update my reviews if you offer other great leather brands and types. Please share your experience about choosing leather for shoes.
Video Tutorial: True Handmade Mens Leather Shoes