Types of leather for shoes

The main raw material for making shoes is leather. It is distinguished by special reliability, wear resistance and durability. From ancient times, leather shoes were very popular, and the demand and price for it is constantly growing. Consider the characteristic of each material.

Types of leather for shoes

Manufacturers distinguish dozens of modifications, differing in elasticity, moisture and air permeability, size, durability, pattern. Then we list the specifics of the individual species used for the manufacture of shoes.

From cattle

This is one of the favorite and frequently used materials. Leather has a large number of varieties, finishes and embossing options. Consider the main types in more detail.


Represents the skin of very young calves up to 3 months. It got its name because the animals are still breast-fed. Therefore, their skin is particularly delicate, soft and thin. However, it is a mistake to believe that it is less durable. In terms of durability, this species is not inferior to the cover of adult cattle. This can be explained by the high content of collagen in the structure . But if the calf is given only water, then the cover will be less tender.


This is the name of the skin of an already grown calf, which grazes, and independently eats hard foods. His skin is preparing for the first molt and is noticeably coarser than that of the voids.


These are skins of heifers and gobies at the age of no more than one and a half years . Their mass in pairs is about 10-13 kg.


Yalovka is the skin of cows . Moreover, the skin of the non-calving animal is more dense and uniform in thickness. It is better in quality than bovine . The skin of a calving cow has a small sliver and large, thin floors.


This is the skin of bulls who have already had a castration procedure . It is distinguished by a thin hairline. This is one of the thickest and heaviest skins, has a rough and porous texture . The heaviest is buffalo skin. It has great strength, but it is rarely used in sewing products.



Thanks to the double tanning, the material is soft and very pleasant to touch. Most often, it is semi-aniline in its technological processing and has spectacular decorative properties. Depending on the processing methods, nappa can be shiny or matte, smooth or rough . Top manufacturers Turkey, Spain and Italy.

Cattle Leather

Unlike cattle skins, this material is softer and more comfortable to use. Consider the popular varieties.


This is soft goat skin . The texture has a small ornament. Thanks to the special dressing and the elite appearance, a chevro is very expensive.



This species is harvested from sheep and goat hides . Shagreen has a large pattern of measure . Mostly used for tailoring the tops of shoes.



This type of raw material is made from sheep's skins . The structure of the material is porous, therefore, to increase the mechanical strength, it is wetted in polymers. The shoe chevret is harvested from sheepskins of Russian and steppe sheep.



They talked about morocco quite recently. It is called almost eternal, since it does not wear out, and is resistant to damage and abrasion of the surface.

Morocco shoes

Many confuse it with ecoskin, but it is completely natural sheep or calfskin. In the manufacture of it put on a textile base, and make an impression, and then treated with a thin layer of wax .


Pig skin

This is the most budget type . It is used to produce cheap shoes and insoles, including orthopedic ones. Due to the nature of the texture, it has a not-too-pretentious appearance.

Pig skin


Material is extracted from the lower layer of a horse's skin . Cordovan is known for its durability, strength and wear resistance. It can last much longer than calf skin. However, it is more expensive, its manufacturing procedure is time consuming. One of the nuances is that wearing it in hot weather is impractical.

Leather shoes

In the classic version, the cordovan glitters, there are options with a slight sheen or without it. Over time, the folds and the highest load fade, and creases get a wavy shape.

Smooth Veal (calf)

This is certainly a common and versatile material for the production of shoes . Calf skin has a lot of advantages, but it is not too expensive. For more budget models, they usually use cow or bull skin, and calf is more breathable, shiny and warm . The versatile calfskin is box calf. More often it is black, terracotta or dark crimson.


If you wish, you can polish it to a gloss . Glassage is a labor-intensive process and is expensive. Often, showrooms make it as an additional service. Its essence is polished with shoe polish and water. The material becomes softer and falls down, and shoe polish fills gyrus and roughness, creating a glossy layer.


Subspecies crust

This look is painted not at the tannery, but already during sewing at the factory. The material is vulnerable to negative environmental factors such as moisture, dirt, salt and reagents . If the picturesque stains are created on the shoes, then you should not wear them during rain and snow. Also, clean and grease products with cream should be very careful.

Greased calfskin

This kind of texture is quite smooth, but significantly different from box calf. It is also called chromex or mancalf . In the manufacturing process, it is enriched with fats, which gives it even greater resistance to water and pollution. It is much more suitable for walking in rainy weather compared to crust.


The skin is completely sanded, then several layers of paint of the integumentary type are applied to the surface. After polishing, a specific pattern is applied, allowing you to hide minor flaws . Pigmentation impairs air permeability, and additional polymer coating can reduce it to zero. The appearance of such shoes is less noble, and the masters prefer not to use it. One of the advantages is the inexpensive price category.

Grained leather type box calf

Granular can be cow and sometimes veal . With the help of additional presses , prints are applied to it . In addition, the material is waxed for greater moisture resistance.

Box calf leather is resistant to external factors and is ideal for the fall-winter season . The grainy texture blends perfectly with a huge amount of materials, both dense textured and smooth thin.

Grained Leather Shoes


It has a soft and velor texture to the touch. The front part is covered with pile. Moreover, it is much smaller in comparison with suede. The material is durable, perfectly breathable, and with gentle handling can last a long time.

Nubuck boots

Oiled Nubuck

It bears the name " nubuck oil ." At the first stage, the skin undergoes exactly the same dressing as a regular nubuck. Then the material is passed through a well-heated cylinder, by means of which the essence of oils and wax is applied. Next, the nubuck is dried for a day.

The oiled texture is more durable and also easier to clean and repels dirt. Longer service life guaranteed .


Suede is a natural base coated with aniline dye, as well as polished with abrasive substances. They are made in two ways. The first way is that during processing the material is passed through the machine, it cuts it into two layers, one of which is used to make suede. The second method consists in turning the skin and processing its inner part.

Suede has a spectacular and presentable appearance and is considered a material for casual shoes . Shoes are often worn with business looks. The material is porous, excellent moisture and air permeability . The disadvantage is that suede needs enhanced care.

Aged skin

Thanks to the unique staining technology, as a result of which the concentrate is not uniformly absorbed, it creates the feeling that the surface has partially erased . However, this is a trendy decorative effect . Sometimes a more striking result can be achieved by embossing.

Embossed leather

This look is obtained from skins with obvious flaws that are hidden by a convex, embossed image. With the help of modern technologies, you can create a memorable ornament, as well as an imitation of expensive types of coverings of snakes and turtles . Such material is inexpensive.

Washed skin

This is fully treated leather or suede . It is specially moisturized and then ironed with a hot press. After that, the texture has a slightly shabby appearance. More often in this way they make decorative elements to give the boots originality.

Patent leather

The material is obtained by applying after painting a thin layer of synthetic varnish. The coating thickness is about 0.006-0.7 mm, and its increase leads to a decrease in flexibility. The material is strong enough, but it hardly breathes.

Lacquered products are indispensable for creating an evening look and always remain at the peak of fashion. Varnish can be embossed and imitate various textures. However, it is poorly prone to surface treatment without damage, so when buying it is worth paying attention to the quality of the gloss.

Exotic skin

This type is used for the production of expensive and exclusive shoes . Famous fashion designers use the skin of eel, crocodile, iguana and other reptiles. In the manufacture of classic shoes are rarely used. In general, the darker the shoes, the more expensive and serious they look.


The most popular skin in this category is crocodile. It is very durable and ductile, not subject to moisture and time. This designation may hide several different animals. Alligator and Nile crocodile are always in price. But the cayman is considered a relatively cheap option, as the texture is less catchy and pleasant. However, caiman products are much more expensive than similar models made of calf leather.

Snake skin, eel and other animals

Snake skin has an extravagant appearance . The most effective is considered python skin . It is distinguished by its special softness, smoothness and gloss. Due to the good ability to stain, you can find various colors.

The trend in the fashion industry is fish skin . In Russia , salmon, sturgeon and common carp are specially grown for these purposes. It has a specific texture, unusual and durable.

Thanks to its sophistication, eel skin is highly regarded throughout the world. The material has an interesting striped ornament and is soft. Eel skin is less durable, but sold at an attractive price.

Kangaroo leather

In comparison with the skin of other species, this is one of the most durable options . The cover of the kangaroo is several times thinner than the calf's, so the boots are much easier. Despite this, it is six times stronger than the average material. The exclusivity of products is due to the fact that Australian law conducts the most rigorous records of the export of samples.

Ostrich and stingray

Ostrich skin is less popular, and the demand for it is small, since it has a specific appearance . Many fashion designers agree that the surface is similar to the size-increased skin of plucked chicken . Thanks to the natural ingredients contained in it, it is more resilient and does not undergo overdrying and cracking.

Stingray leather is also used only for designer models. The material is durable, does not require special care, does not burn and does not break. Often stingray and ostrich make cowboy boots .

To buy suitable leather shoes you need to be well versed in its types and features. Of course, all types of ordinary people hardly need to remember, because you can always ask for help from a more competent seller.