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Leather vs Suede: Which Is Better?

leather vs suede

Leather and suede are typically used to make new garments and accessories such as trousers, jackets, bags, and shoes. But what’s the difference between leather shoes and suede shoes? 

The primary difference between them is that the leather is buttery and smooth, while the suede is dull and hairy. Both are excellent materials for shoes and often complement each other. 

But leather is generally more resistant because it is made from the outer protective layer of the animal skin. On the other hand, suede is made from the inside of the animal skin’s top layer, providing a velvety feel. 

Which Material Is Better For Shoes?

This is a question that many shoe-lovers would want to know. To answer this better, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each material.

Advantages Of Leather

Leather is robust and durable

Because of their incredible robustness, leather materials are generally suitable for various weather conditions. Leather shoes can be worn in the springtime, in the fall, and even in the snow. Leather shoes are tough, durable, and weatherproof and do not necessitate much upkeep. When you take good care of your leather shoes, they can last up to more than ten years.

Water resistance

Leather shoes will be water-resistant if they are waxed or treated. Water-resistant shoes can keep your feet dry from any puddles or spills. 

Easy to clean and eco-friendly

As leather is a natural material, producing it doesn’t produce harmful chemicals, unlike creating garments from synthetic fibers and fabrics, which is damaging to the environment. Cleaning is also a breeze as leather shoes can be washed down with a damp cloth. 

Disadvantages of Leather

High Price

Premium leather items are not cheap because the qualities they offer are rare in other materials. They are durable and long-lasting.


Compared to shoes made of suede or other materials, leather pairs tend to be slightly heavier because of their thickness and robustness. 

Of course, plenty of factors or styles can affect your pairs’ weight. For instance, knee-high boots are heavier than chukka style, so see to it you know what you are buying. 

Advantages of Suede


Suede shoes are relatively inexpensive compared to leather pairs. This is because it’s easier to produce. After all, it’s from the outer part of the hide of an animal, so the cost is generally reduced. 

Softness and lightness

Suede is a pliant material that adapts easily to the shape of your foot. Shoes made of suede are also lighter. This feature facilitates movement and is great for casual use.


Suede shoes are naturally porous, making them an excellent pair for breathability. The breathable features of suede material are comfort for tired legs. It also makes your feet sweat less, even in the summertime.

Disadvantages of Suede

It requires regular maintenance

Suede demands much upkeep compared to leather. Sometimes, it may require a special cleaning if your suede shoes get really dirty. This is one of the reasons why wearing suede in the rain is difficult because of its low water and dirt resistance.

It is more susceptible to damage

Sued is thinner and is more delicate than leather. While premium leather is durable, suede is not, making it more susceptible to damage. 

The Verdict - Leather or Suede?

There are sufficient advantages and disadvantages for each material. But to prove which is more superior is possible and more justified only based on their own experience.

Although there may be times when one material is better at certain weather conditions or a particular type of activity, you can compare them personally and make your own list of advantages or disadvantages. After all, your footwear will serve you well if you properly take good care of them. 

At Shoezero, you can design a custom shoe online like a breeze. Whether designing a leather, suede, or mesh pair, Shoezero got you covered! 


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