The benefits of natural leather are definitely worth taking into account when you’re buying footwear to use on daily basis. Sure, faux leather can look as good as the real deal, even feel pretty similar, but that doesn’t mean it will be just as durable or offer the same level of comfort. Should you risk it and hope all will end well? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Faux leather definitely has a lot of pros but it’s these benefits of natural leather a person should get acquainted with before making the final decision:
1. Natural Leather Lasts Longer
One of the most important benefits of natural leather is the fact that, if well cared for, it can look good for years and even decades. One thing is for sure – good, well cared for leather will not crack easily, which unfortunately can’t be said for synthetic leather. I practically lived in my good-quality pleather jacket before the collar started crumbling to bits, rendering my still-almost-new-looking favorite piece of outerwear unusable. This could happen to real leather, too, it's just that I’m sure the damage would be much easier to fix. Matting and surface cracks/peeling are fixable but you can't do much for a collar that's decided to recycle itself into sawdust.
2. Natural Leather is Comfier
Leather will mold to fit your foot much easier and faster, rewarding you for your efforts in breaking it in with a perfect fit you can enjoy for years to come. Synthetic leather is rarely that pliable, resulting in weeks, if not even months of pains and battle scars you won’t feel that great about once the season of flip flops kicks in. Softer leather replacements are much easier to break in but they’ll continue to become looser and looser until you just can’t wear them anymore. And while most leather repair shops offer solutions for leather shoes gone loose, a great majority of them can do very little when leather substitutes are involved.
3. It’s Easier to Repair Natural Leather
From surface cracks and scratches to fading and shiny bald spots on your buffed leather – most leather repair jobs are quite doable and easily done even if you don’t live next to one of those voodoo leather specialists who can make busted Birkins look brand new. However, when your fake leather items get damaged they are pretty much doomed. I often get the feeling that cobblers don't even want to bother with something they see as "inferior material" but hey, that may be because there's actually very little they can do to fix faux leather.
4. Your Feet Sweat Less in Breathable Materials
Well, unless your feet tend to overheat anyways, in which case the choice between leather and pleather footwear is probably the least of your concerns. You might want to go for leather anyways, because natural materials are generally thought to be more breathable and many people have reported that their feet not only sweat less but smell less, too (which is kind of connected but bears mentioning anyways).
5. You’re Less Likely to Be Allergic to Natural Leather
Yes, it sounds whacked, I’ll give you that! But try living your life never being able to save on sexy lingerie because synthetic lace gives you a rash, knowing that even saying the word polyester is liable to make you want to claw your skin off and doing your best to avoid nasty-looking, itchy blotches that appear every time a synthetic leather sandal cuts into your foot. Sounds horrible, right? Welcome to my world! I could continue to whine for hours but I’m pretty sure you get the gist – the natural leather benefits for me and people like me go way beyond durability and comfort.
6. Fake Leather Isn’t Always a Safe Alternative
No animals are harmed in the making of faux leather shoes and, don’t get me wrong, that’s absolutely great! The problem is – can we say the same thing for humans? You’ll probably agree that some faux leather shoes have a really bad chemical smell, but have you ever bothered to actually search for news regarding this topic? I’m not going to point any fingers but, gosh, the amount of really dangerous, toxic stuff that can be found in these things is really disturbing.
7. Soft Leather Can Help with Bunions
Pros at Harvard Medical School seem to believe that bunions are hereditary, which means that although you probably won’t be able to escape them, you can at least keep them in check by opting for soft breathable materials such as natural leather or cotton. Stiff, confining shoes that take forever to break in will only irritate your joints even further, causing a painful inflammation and further complications. In other words – if the shoe doesn’t fit, try a different shoe!
Are these natural leather benefits what usually seals the deal for you or do you prefer easy-to-clean, low-maintenance leather substitutes?