The footwear materials you select for your shoe design are what make your shoemaking ideas come to life! You will find the shoe pattern is not the critical or special feature, the footwear materials are! Learning how to specify footwear materials is critical when you are learning how to make shoes. If you want to learn how to become a shoe designer, you must know how to spec footwear materials. You have an infinite menu of material choices and colors to create your footwear masterpiece. Rich leathers, silky mesh, or high-tech synthetics, take your pick.
In Z-Aglet we have chosen genuine leather as the main material for our sneakers. We have become the world's first leather sneaker brand focus on men fashion and sustainability management.
Leather for Shoes
Cow leather is the most common material used for making shoes. It is durable, flexible, stretchable and is available in many styles, colors, and prices. It is truly great material, you can make beautiful functional and fashionable shoes. It is becoming easier to trace and quality controls are increasing so fast.
Real Leather is alive! Not really, but the character of leather changes as it wears. A fine leather shoe breaths and conforms like no other shoe. A handmade leather shoe can be a masterpiece of a shoemakers craft.
Because leather hides are from individual animals, each is a different size and each will have scars, imperfections, even brands that must be avoided when cutting. This uncut material is called cutting loss. For leather, cutting loss is at best 5% of a hide, for the highest quality shoes, shoe leather cutting loss can be 15%. That’s 15% of the material cost being thrown away.
Depending on the import rules for your country, leather is often a lower duty rate. Shoes made with 51% leather surface area are around 9% import duty. A textile shoe can be 20% of the FOB price + .90, that’s a high duty rate! (depending on the country of origin).
Definitely, visit a tannery to see how leather is made. We recommend tlsanmartin.com, a long term Spanish partner. They manufacture crush leather for the footwear and clothing industry.