Which shoe has the best sole material

The perfect shoe sole - leather or rubber?

They carry us around the earth more than three times in our lives, our shoes. A small layer of leather, rubber or other materials such as raffia protects our feet from bumps, cold or heat. Far too little attention is paid to the shoe sole, even though it has an extremely important function. We want to change that today and are concerned with the question of which sole is actually better - the rubber sole or the leather sole? And is it worth adding a rubber sole to a leather sole?

History of the shoe sole

Many thousands of years ago people wanted to protect their feet from the weather and other unpleasant influences on the soles of their feet. When the legendary Ötzi was found, the archaeologists came across robust shoes with a sole made of bear leather. Later, in antiquity, many different shoe and sole shapes developed. The quality of the shoes was often an expression of the social position of their wearer. Leather shoes were very expensive. The soles of these traditional Goodyear welted shoes were also made of leather and were often protected by adding wooden sole strips to protect them from the rubbish and dirt on the streets. Most of the common people already wore wooden soles anyway.

In the 19th century the rubber sole was developed and began to establish itself in the market. However, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the shoe itself became a mass product that everyone could afford and the rubber sole was perfected. Today there are many different types of soles that are perfectly adapted to the use and function of the shoes. In the course of industrialization, synthetic materials were developed that are used as an upper material, but also as a shoe sole. Special bonds and adhesives ensure that the soles hold the shoes properly. So we have highly specialized Running shoes with rubber compounds for an elastic gait, which even increase the performance of a runner. Work shoes with soles that protect against acids, but also traditional shoes with high-quality leather soles. Crafted to perfection, they always look high-quality and classy.

The leather sole

The leather sole is the classic among shoe soles. Special, particularly hard and rigid sole leather is used for them. Traditionally and taking into account the high quality of the shoes, a leather sole is not glued on, but sewn. Shoes with a sewn leather sole are welted shoes. The process was developed by Andreas Eppler and patented by Charles Goodyear in 1872. First, the upper part of the shoe and the insole (inner sole) are invisibly sewn together. These two are then sewn onto a frame about 3 millimeters wide. Finally, the leather sole is applied with a double seam.

Advantages of the leather sole

The natural material leather is extremely comfortable to wear. It is particularly breathable, has a high vapor permeability and thus ensures a great foot climate. Moisture from the sweating of our feet is drained to the outside, the foot will always be pleasantly dry. In addition, a leather sole is relatively non-slip (except in winter and on really, very smooth floors) and offers a high level of walking comfort. The sole of a high-quality men's shoe is almost always made of leather. The thinner its sole, the more noble the shoe looks. A goodyear welted shoe with a leather sole, such as an Oxford or Derby, simply cannot be missing with a noble suit or on the dance floor. He makes the outfit perfect.

On a long business day with customer meetings, business lunches, evening receptions and much more, it pays to use shoes with good leather soles. You wear business shoes all day long and you will notice it in the evening when you have worn a good quality shoe with a breathable leather sole on your feet.

The rubber sole

In 1839 Charles Nelson Goodyear invented the vulcanization process, which revolutionized the production of shoes and shoe soles. The process made it possible to manufacture the waterproof and elastic rubber soles that are so popular today. This material greatly increased the range of different shoes with very special soles. The rubber sole has made particular progress in the area of Sports shoes brought. Modern sports shoes now have special cushioning systems in the rubber sole that stabilize the foot, cushion movements and thus actively support profile, but also recreational runners in their sport. Or let's take the work shoes, which with their very strong profile guarantee an absolutely safe step and also protect against acids and oil. Hiking and trekking shoes also rely on strongly profiled soles made of rubber or rubber-like material. They are especially popular this season Trekking sandals - Derived from the thick rubber sole of the chunky sneaker, the designers have created a summery version.

Leather sole vs. rubber sole - "A question of attitude"

Many, especially men, insist on leather soles because this is the only way to add the icing on the cake to a well-dressed man's outfit. We have already explained the advantages of a leather sole on a welted shoe above. But there is also a small disadvantage here. The frame seam can only be stressed with a leather sole. In addition, leather does not withstand a lot of moisture that is permanent. In winter there is also the road salt on our sidewalks and streets, which makes the leather sole a lot of trouble. Help your leather soles with a regular oil bath in the cold season.

A modern, thin rubber sole is almost indistinguishable from a leather sole. It keeps moisture out and is extremely comfortable to wear thanks to its high quality, various degrees of hardness and flexibility. So you are not committing a faux pax if you also wear shoes with thin rubber soles in the office or on the street. Shoes with a rubber sole are no longer a sign of inferior quality. For official occasions, weddings or christenings, we still recommend shoes with leather soles. So no one can give a general answer to the question of whether shoes with leather or rubber soles would be better. In addition, it only applies to the men's low shoes. All other shoe shapes such as sneakers or boots mostly force rubber soles. If you pay attention to quality, you can also be perfectly dressed with a rubber sole.

Gluing a rubber sole onto a leather sole afterwards?

The question of whether or not a rubber sole over the leather sole should be applied to the leather sole of a shoe to protect it from climatic influences and to increase slip resistance is also increasingly being discussed. In addition, the subsequently applied rubber sole protects the leather sole from wear. We cannot give a clear answer to this question either. It is always a question of taste and your own aesthetic perception whether you want to wear a good shoe with a rubber sole from the outset or whether you want to protect your precious leather soles with the synthetic material in order to increase the durability of the soles.

Many experienced leather sole wearers have it just a pair of weatherproof shoes with rubber soles for the bad and wet days,
but otherwise swear by the classic leather soles. If you spend a lot of time in the dry and indoors, then you don't need any additional protection for your shoe sole. For dancing, you should even use a leather sole, as you don't need any slip resistance here. If you are one of those people whose front toe of the shoe sole wears out very quickly, then you should use a special bump pad. That is completely sufficient.