Difference between Sports & Leather Shoes

The elements that go into making a comfortable sports shoes and leather shoes are very different. In fact, sports shoes are a completely different type as compared to leather shoes.


How are Sports Shoes made?

Sports shoes are usually injected – as in the upper is fused in the sole at high temperature where molten sole material is put in some kind of mold which creates the shoe. Sports shoes mainly breathe through the mesh pores where air comes goes in and out via these holes. The leather shoe handles both these dimensions very differently. The comfort of a sports shoes will depend on the cushioning, the kind of sole and the lining of the shoe [inside material]. The sole & cushioning can greatly vary across brands and shoes and is rather specialized area. Likewise, cushioning can also differ significantly – premium brands use memory foam, PU based cushioning that work well over the years.

Therefore, very comfortable pair of sports sneakers is a very specialized area [for example, Skechers sole compound is a big secret in shoe making]. However, the technique used for sports shoes is very different from a leather shoes.

A leather shoe derives comfort from very different elements and is a different area. Things that matter to a leather shoe comfort are as below:


Great Fit

  • When one uses the shoe – every step translates into friction, which means sweat and discomfort. Therefore, until and unless one has a great shoe fit – [whichever brand it might be] – it is not a great option. Also, do note that not all the shoe-makers have mastered the art of creating a great shoe last [which is what the shoe gets the inside space or fit from. The point is focus on fit – walk a few steps and feel the shoe.
  • What is a last – it’s a 3D resin feet dummy or something that looks like feet and is used to give shape and determines the space inside a shoe.


Good cushioning

As one walks, the pressure shifts from big toe towards the heel while if you stand then heel is under most pressure. Cushioning reduces the pressure and also redistributes it. If one ever uses Hush Puppies (for example) – the cushioning will work well even after one has worn out the shoe as compared to some of the cheaper shoes where the cushioning will stop working in exactly 3 weeks. PU – Latex based cushioning works well; a cushion which is 4 MM or 6 MM at the heel is recommended.


Great Ventilation

The shoes need to breathe – in other words transfer sweat from inside to surface from where it can dry up. Leather shoes made in a certain way with a specific lining can do this or a good sports shoe can do this [sports shoes have mesh in the shoe upper from where air can come and go drying your feet]. Leather shoes handle ventilation very differently but only a few leather shoes can handle ventilation/sweat well [only leather upper doesn’t mean that it will handle sweat well]


Good grip on the sole

Poor grip can increase the shoe friction significantly and also make whole walking process difficult. A lot of TPR soles work very poorly on mall kind of surfaces. Be careful of these soles and avoid these shoes. That’s money down the drain.


Great life both for the sole and the upper’s combination with the sole

The shoe needs to survive over the years – a Rs. 2500 shoe which lasts for 3 years versus Rs. 1200 shoe dying every 4 months, it is good math to focus on. The life of a shoe depends on –

Sole Quality & Bonding: the sole needs to survive and the sole’s attachment to upper needs to survive and the shoe upper needs to survive. However, a good leather shoe costing 3 K can last upto 5 years of daily usage is a perspective that one should be aware.


Weight of the shoe

A heavier shoe will increase shoe usage fatigue, which means they will tire one out sooner. So, a good shoe should be light as well.


The elements that make a shoe comfortable are the same but the way it is handled in a sports shoe is very different from that in a leather shoe. And there is no shortcut to not knowing a shoe well – to avoid picking a bad shoe even from a great brand.

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