Shoes: Leather or Synthetic?

The knee-high clifftons with the fashionable buckles and decorative seams cost 69.95 euros, the Timberlands directly beside 190 euros.  The pairs of boots are very similar, alone: ​​the one is much cheaper than the others. Can I take the Clifftons from Kunstleder without hesitation or do I go better if I am the natural leather Timberlands? We asked two experts who need to know: Konrad Weissler from the main association of the German footwear industry(>> HDS) and Dr. Markus Scherer, department manager for physical material testing at the Pirmasens Testing and Research Institute>> PFI

1. What material are the synthetic boots?

There are different leather substitutes. Mostly it is a fabric with a coating of PVC(polyvinyl chloride) or PU(polyurethane). Such artificial leather has existed for some time, the development was pushed in 2000 by the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, because one wanted to circumvent the increased leather prices. The quality of these materials is constantly improved.

2. Are there any disadvantages to leather?

There are no synthetic fabrics that combine all the positive qualities of leather. Leather is, for example, stretchy: feet expand during the day, and unlike artificial leather, the leather “grows” with it, it does not hold fit and seat-synthetics. Therefore, you should try on artificial leather shoes even better in the evening. Good leather also saves the moisture of the feet and releases them slowly, which provides for a better foot climate.

3. Are there any benefits?

The price. Leather substitutes are much cheaper than leather, as the raw materials are cheap. The square meter price of synthetic materials is low, and utilization is higher than leather-the natural product often has weak points, so that there is always a certain waste. Another advantage is that artificial leather shoes are often more stable and resistant than leather shoes, they generally do not slip out as quickly and look new. However, both materials have good and bad quality.

4. What did I have for a long time-leather or artificial leather?

This is where the quality comes again. There are good and bad leather and good and bad artificial leather-both materials can show prematurely cracks. The customer in the store can unfortunately not recognize whether it has to do with good or bad quality.

5. Are there breathable artificial leather now?

Synthetic leather is not as breathable as leather, but there are also breathing leather. The breathing activity is often dependent on the combination processing-synthetic leather shoes are often fed with leather in order to buffer the problem.

6. How does synthetics behave when wet?

Typically, plastics are more water repellent than leather. Problem: The more water-repellent the material, the less breathable it is.

7. How do you use artificial leather shoes?

It is best to wipe the shoe with a dry or damp cloth. Caution with impregnating spray, it can lead to staining as with leather. It is best to try it out in an inconspicuous place before you spray the whole shoe.

8. If I want to protect the environment: Which shoe do I use?

Both materials may be forbidden. Leather is a converted natural product, which has been exposed to strong chemical processes-from very normal animal skin is made by chemical tanning very durable leather.

9. How do I know if I have to deal with leather or artificial leather?

Even the experts at the PDI can often recognize the difference between leather and synthetics when they destroy the shoe. The only point of interest for the consumer is the pictograms in the shoe, which characterize the materials for top leather, lining and sole:

10. Will leather be pushed more and more?

No, leather is regarded as a quality and prestige product all over the world, but nothing will change. However, due to the growing demand from China, India and Russia leather is currently again more expensive and artificial leather therefore again more interesting.