How to distinguish leather shoes from leatherette

Reasons for choosing genuine leather products are enough. From the quality of the material, the speed of wear of the shoe, the comfort during wear and its presentability are directly dependent.

In addition, after a hard day in new shoes, you don’t have to worry about an unpleasant odor, as genuine leather has high breathability and allows the foot to “breathe”.

In pursuit of low cost and massive supply, manufacturers are increasingly replacing natural materials with synthetic ones. Now you can stumble on leatherette among virtually any type of product, and authenticity is becoming increasingly difficult to determine. Many of us are accustomed to focus on the smells coming from shoes, hoping in this way to determine the material from which it was made. However, in the era of modern technology and aromatic substitutes, this method is not the most reliable.

4 ways to distinguish leather shoes from leatherette

Heat transfer

The higher the heat inside the shoe, the higher the humidity. It is for this reason that a pressure difference appears, which allows excess moisture to be pushed out, and your feet - not to sweat.

Synthetically made leather has a very low breathability and practically does not remove moisture. You can notice this if you hold the shoes in your hands for some time - the skin will very quickly heat up from the heat of the hands and will keep the temperature for some more time, and the leatherette will take more time to do this. In addition, synthetic leather will even feel cold and artificial to the touch.


Undoubtedly, manufacturers have learned to fake even this distinguished property of genuine leather. But this method is not so common, and such a check will take very little time. Leatherette is most often created using chemical impurities that are easily perceptible by smell. The skin also has its own unique, pleasant smell, which does not cut the scent and feels good.


One of the serious drawbacks of leatherette shoes is that after short wear, the surface of the product is covered with small cracks, folds and scars. If you bend the leather patch - it will quickly take the opposite shape without damage in area.


The pores on the leather product are randomly distributed, and the pattern made from them is unique and imperfect. It is these pores that allow the material to pass moisture and air. In the case of synthetic skin, its surface is often either covered with uniform “holes”, which unambiguously mean the artificiality of their nature, or there are no pores on it at all.

IMPORTANT! Sometimes manufacturers of artificial leather shoes create a special, uneven pattern of pores on its surface, so this method, like the others, is recommended to be used in conjunction with others.

Home Test Methods

What to do if the shoes are already bought, and you still doubt the material from which it was made?

There are at least two ways that you can spend at home and determine whether you got genuine leather or not.

Water exposure

As mentioned above, genuine leather has high breathability, which allows moisture to be well "pushed" out. This means that a small drop of water that has fallen on its surface should be absorbed very quickly, and the trace of it should disappear after a short time, when the moisture has dried. In addition, the droplets appearing from the back side will be uneven and large due to the inhomogeneities of the “holes”.

What about leatherette? If the material does not have pores at all, the drop will not be absorbed and, most likely, just roll down. This fact alone indicates that the legs will be not only not comfortable, but also dangerous to health. Indeed, increased humidity and heat accelerate the development of diseases such as, for example, fungus.

Exposure to temperature

As many people know, the skin does not burn well. Of course, safety shoes and honesty of sellers do not allow to set fire to shoes directly in the store. But, if you want to conduct such an experiment at home, bring the open flame source for a short time to the area of ​​the shoe and check what the effect will be.

If the surface starts to instantly melt - you got a leatherette. The test can be done on a label (material sample) if you are afraid of damaging the product.

IMPORTANT! Follow safety precautions when testing with fire and do not keep it near the surface for too long.

Having studied and applied such simple, but at the same time effective tips in the future, it is much easier to determine what shoes are made of and decide for yourself whether to buy them.