Are you contemplating whether or not if you should buy a pair of shoes because the soles are leather? Leather soles are neat and dandy addition to your shoes or boots. Read more below on why they will be a great addition to your wardrobe.

Leather soles can provide comfort and formal style to most shoes. I will explain the various advantages and disadvantages (Pros and Cons) of leather soles regarding the different aspects of the typical shoe wearer.

Leather sole on my Tricker's Adam Penny Loafer

What is a leather sole?

A leather sole is the outsole of shoes made out of leather. They can be distinguished by their thickness, leather type and amount of area covering the outsoles. The thickness usually ranges from a single leather sole to a triple leather sole. Formal shoes these days typically have rubber and even plastic soles. Those materials are used, because they are cheap and easy to produce. However, if you want to exclaim professionalism and elegance, formal shoes with leather soles are necessary. 

Leather soles give your shoes  sense of maturity and of elegance. The best part about leather soles, aside from style, is that it has a wide array of benefits. However, as much as it looks great, there are characteristics that make the leather soles unbearable. Let’s see what the pros and cons are.

Advantages (Pros) of leather soles

  • Leather soles are comfortable

  • Leather soles will last long if they are thick

  • Leather soles are more breathable


Leather soles are often thought of as hard materials that do not give any cushion or comfort. There is an issue with this reasoning. It doesn’t consider that while the leather soles were made to be hard, leather used to be a skin of an animal and the leather can form and shape to your foot. It subsequently, joins with a cork filling material, which is usually used in Goodyear Welted shoes. When joined with cork, they can make soft footbeds. This really make the shoes considerably more comfortable than other soles such as rubber soles and plastic soles. Given that arch support is correct.

Cork filling before the leather sole (source: canva)

Leather sole’s quality lies in the number of layers of leather you have on it and the leather used to make the soles. A triple leather sole will often outlive any rubber soles. A triple leather soles are soles with the leather stacked three times to form the outsole. So the more layers of leather you have, the exponentially stronger it gets.

Also, the leather used to make the soles matters. For example, Joh Rendenbach or JR leather soles are made with extremely high quality leather. JR company states that their leather soles are very durable , breathable and comfortable. That brings us to another reason to choose their leather soles. The leather outsoles on your shoes are much more breathable compared with rubber soles. On average humans sweat around a half pint of sweat through their feet everyday. That is a lot of moisture for your shoes to handle. While the shoes with leather soles are better at handling the sweat due to it’s breathability, the rubbersoles will contain the moisture inside the shoes.

Lastly, leather sole is the embodiment of elegance and formality. It is consistently the material of choice when making the most formal shoes. People have been choosing and wearing leather soles during formal occasions for decades. Some people just love the sound of the leather soles make. The sound is quite different from rubber soles, but it’s up to your personal preference!

Disadvantages (Cons) of leather soles

  • Leather soles are slippery

  • If not made properly, leather soles are uncomfortable

  • Single leather soles are not durable

  • Not suitable for rainy day or snowy days

Before we talk any further about the disadvantages of the leather soles, LEATHER SOLES ARE SLIPPERY. Some leather soles are unbearably slippery. People often use a knife to make grips on the soles and others use sand papers to make the leather soles less slippery. But I can’t help to think that the leather soles are not suitable for anyone living in an area with a lot hills. Well, the leather soles are super slippery for the first few wears anyway. After that the leather soles do get better and gets less slippery. Until then, everyone has a hard time wearing these. I also think that people who are light struggle more with the leather soles. I weigh around 110 kilos, that is around 242 pounds . Personally, I feel like I slip less compared to my friend who weighs 70 kilos (154 pounds)

The other disadvantage of leather soles is that if it is not appropriately made, the soles can be tough and rigid. It could not deliver the comfort that it promises. If it is not accompanied by proper fitting lasts or specific shoe constructions, it could be not comfortable to wear. 

In terms of durability, if the leather soles have a lesser layers or if it is thinner, the leather soles can be very fragile. I have met some people who goes through their top quality leather soles in a month because of how thin the leather soles were to begin with.

Furthermore, leather soles are not suitable for certain environment. It is crucial to understand that leather absorbs water. There are tiny little holes or glands in the leather since it was a skin of an animal and cheaply made leather soles do not successfully block these micro holes in the leather. Therefore, over time, soles would soak up all the moisture and progressively deteriorate the condition as it seeps through the smallest of cracks and seams. Unfortunately, the leathers soles cannot handle certain harsh weather.

Unslippery leather soles?

No way that they are entirely Not slippery. But! nowadays, the leather soles are also developing and getting better. Leather soles such as JR soles are really comfortable, and less slippery. The technology related to leather soles are getting better and shoe manufacturers are developing soles that is more flexible and more durable. Next time when you see shoes with leather soles, why don’t you try it out?

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