Among a variety of materials used to produce a shoe, leather is one of the most popular and oldest ones. Leather sneakers give off a luxurious vibe while keeping a fashionable look. It is a kind of sneaker that does not only pleases the eye but also provides excellent feels on foot.
Leather versus synthetic leather
Many are confused between leather and synthetic leather, but their fundamental difference is what is used to make them.
Genuine leather is made from animal skins and hides.
Real leather is unique because there are no two hides that are the same due to its stretch marks, scars, and pores.
Since it is authentic, it is more durable, which adds up to its value, making it more expensive compared to synthetic leather.
Faux leather has plastic as its base and is then treated with wax, dye, or polyurethane for its color and texture.
Synthetic leathers are uniform.
Less expensive but does not live as long as genuine leathers.
It is environmentally safer since it does not use animal skins and hides, thus being able to cater to those who are concerned about animal welfare.
It uses fewer chemicals compared to genuine leather. These chemicals are necessary for genuine leather since it undergoes an extreme process to ensure its quality.
These chemicals are found to be harmful to the environment, and it takes away the biodegradability of real leather.
What's to like about leather sneakers?
Leather shoes give off a sleek yet stylish look, and despite being a little bit expensive, sneakers with leather material are still peoples' favorite. Leather sneakers are known to be :
Comfortable - It offers ample amount of support on the feet, making it comfortable to wear.
Durable - Unlike other materials, leather sneakers can withstand tear and wear better and lasts longer.
Breathable - Air passes through the material, allowing the feet to breathe and stop it from smelling.
Good-fitting - The leather material molds to the shape of the foot, which is good since not all feet are similar in shape.
Stylish - Leather sneakers give off a luxurious vibe because of its sleek material and shiny finish.
Easy to clean - Wiping the shoes off with a dry, clean cloth is enough to keep the shoes clean. Due to its breathable feature, it is also easy to dry.
So what's not to like? Is it its high price? When one thinks about it hard enough, though, one will realize that buying leather sneakers is a wise choice since it outlives synthetic shoes. A sneaker fan will not be grabbing another pair so soon if he or she grabs leather sneakers over sneakers made of other materials.
Best leather sneakers
RunRepeat has reviewed plenty of sneakers, and below are some of the best leather sneakers in the market.
Nike Air Force 1 07
The Air Force 1 07 received plenty of praise for its durability and versatility. It kept the clean and timeless look of the AF1, thus retaining the people's favorite classic look. One of the noticeable improvements from the original shoe is its composition; it is made up of leather attached to an Air sole unit.
Ever since it was released in 2007, this low top AF1 07 acquired recognition and became a top-rated Nike sneaker. It has also already come out in a number of variations, and some members of the Air Force 1 07's line are AF 1 07 LXX, Nike Air Force 1 07 QS, and Air Force 1 07 Essential.
Adidas Continental 80
With a leather upper and perforations along the rounded toe, the Adidas Continental 80 is among the perfect shoes for the summer season. The Continental 80 is a tennis shoe-inspired sneaker that was initially released in 1980.
This sneaker was applauded for being an excellent remake of the classic from the Original Series. Despite having a retro silhouette, it has a touch of modern style that allows users to wear it on a casual day. This model is among the most recognized Adidas sneakers.
Nike Air VaporMax Plus
This lifestyle model was released in 2018 to pay homage to the 20th anniversary of the Air Max Plus. It is a mixture of its classic Nike TN silhouette for the upper attached to an advanced Air Max sole. Compared to its predecessor, it offers more stability due to the support the uppers provide. The Nike Air VaporMax Plus was seen on the feet of some famous people like J Balvin, Neymar, and A$AP Rocky.
Fila Disruptor 2
Dad shoes are trending, and riding this trend, Fila released the new Disruptor 2 in 2018. The Disruptor 2 is an upgraded and playful model of a basic white shoe. Shoes with a 'loud' image, something that one can ignore even from afar, is on hype.
Among these bold sneakers, the Fila Disruptor 2 one of the most popular. From its original silhouette, the Fila Disruptor 1, the noticeable differences are its colorways and the materials used. Successfully riding the trend, it released Disruptor 2 Premium, Disruptor 2 Premium Patent, and Disruptor 2 Premium Metallic.
Adidas Stan Smith
This sneaker has a rich history, and it has continued to be popular ever since it was released. It is among the most iconic sneakers which loyal fanatics saluted for successfully taking after the original.
The Adidas Stan Smith is the primary model used in its line, and some that belong to its collection are Stan Smith Boost, Stan Smith Primeknit, and Stan Smith GTX. Being among the best sneakers, popular icons like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Raf Simons were seen wearing the Stan Smith.
Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66
This is considered as the most iconic sneaker of Onitsuka Tiger. The Tiger Mexico 66's popularity has already been tested with time as it was first released in 1966 as a running sneaker. However, it took some break and was not seen until the early 2000s.
But despite a long hiatus, this sneaker still received plenty of recognition. Personalities like Emma Watson, Alex Meraz, and even Prince William of Wales acknowledged the shoes and are seen frequently wearing them.
Frequently asked questions
How to care for leather sneakers?
Leather sneakers are known to be durable; however, if it is not well-taken care, it will undoubtedly wear out quickly. Here's how to make your leather shoes last:
Clean and apply conditioner on the shoes at least once a month to keep them looking new.
Every three to six months, apply water protection on the sneakers after conditioning it.
When not wearing them, store it on a cloth shoe bag to keep it from being dusty.
To dry a leather sneaker, simply air-dry them since exposing it to sunlight will only damage the shoe.
If shoe trees are available, insert them on the shoe to keep it in shape.
How to clean leather sneakers?
There are a number of tips on how to clean a leather sneaker and here are some of the essential ways to keep it presentable:
Remove surface dirt by knocking the soles together or by using a soft-bristled brush or any dry cloth.
For the upper: After removing the debris, pour cleaning solution on the brush and gently scrub in a circular motion. If there are tough stains, apply pressure when brushing. Wipe the shoe with a towel to remove excess soaps.
For the midsole: Magic Eraser can be used to remove stains; scrub lightly to remove stains. Wipe it with a towel and set it aside to dry afterward.
Apply conditioner to protect it from stains and to add shine to the sneaker. Applying weatherproof spray can also add extra protection.
How to remove stains from leather?
Aside from the dirt, it is possible to have stains on the shoes. Below are tips on how to take care of them:
Grease or Oil: Sprinkle baking soda or starch on it and use a damp cloth to rub it gently. Let it sit overnight or for a few hours so that the baking soda or starch can absorb the grease or oil then wipe it off with a dry, soft cloth.
Ink: Dip cotton on an alcohol or nail polish remover and lightly dab it on the stain until it is gone. Remember not to rub it as it will only cause the stain to spread. Wipe it with a dry, clean towel afterward.
Light to moderate dark stains: Mix a mild dish soap to cold water until it gets bubbly when agitated. Dip a clean cloth on the solution and rub it on the stain with a circular motion until gone. Air-dry the shoe afterward.
Severe dark stains: Spray aerosol hairspray directly on the stain and let it sit for a while. Rub the stain with a clean cloth using a circular motion until gone. Apply aerosol as needed. Air-dry the spot after.
How to stretch leather sneakers?
Before getting the glove-like fit, some sneakers need some breaking in. The easiest way to stretch a leather sneaker is by wearing it around the house for an hour. It can also be expanded by putting on the sneaker while wearing a thick sock and applying heat using a hairdryer since the heat will soften the shoe and help to form it to your foot. Do not forget to apply a leather conditioner after heating.
How to dye leather sneakers?
To begin, rub the sneakers thoroughly with a leather preparer and deglazer to remove the factory finish. Dampen it evenly after removing the factory finish but do not oversaturate.
Using a soft cloth, dye the leather by applying thin coats and build up the color consistently. Allow it to air-dry afterward. Apply a second coat if necessary.
How to wear leather sneakers?
Leather sneakers for women: The most typical casual leather sneaker outfit for women is a slip-on shoe paired with a plain black or white top and jeans or leggings. For a street style, a combination of a white shirt and ripped jeans on a brown leather shoe looks well. Putting on a cardigan will put an additional character to this ensemble.
Leather shoes for men: Dressing men's leather sneakers are easy. For a casual look, it almost works well with anything, from t-shirts to hoodies and shorts to sweatpants. Wearing it with a coat or blazer and a chino will give off a more sophisticated look.
15 best leather sneakers
Nike Air Force 1 Low
Adidas Grand Court
Nike Air Max 270 Bowfin
Adidas Stan Smith
Adidas Continental 80
Adidas Samba OG
Adidas Continental Vulc
Nike M2K Tekno
Jordan True Flight
Nike Zoom 2K
Nike Air Huarache
Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.
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