While shopping for a new pair of shoes, you may notice a lot of options in leather and suede. Both materials are great options for shoes, especially during fall and winter months. Choosing between suede vs leather booties comes down to understanding these materials and how they will interact with your environment. After all, a great pair of booties should last as long as possible. In this blog, we’ll explain the differences between suede vs leather booties to help you choose the pair that’s right for you.
Benefits of Leather Booties
Leather is durable and easily repaired
One of the reasons why there’s so many vintage pieces available in leather (think leather jackets, leather-bound books, etc) is that leather is very durable. Made from the skin or hides of animals (most commonly cattle or equine), leather is often expected to last decades if properly cared for, if not a lifetime. When leather booties get torn, ripped, or scratched, it’s relatively easy to repair them on your own or with a professional cobbler or shoemaker.
Will keep your feet warm in cool weather
If you live in a city where it gets cold, leather is guaranteed to keep you warm. The outer shell of a leather bootie or jacket will act as a barrier to wind, water, and even snow. Leather also traps your body heat, keeping your feet warm and toasty on chilly nights out with friends. If your leather booties are shearling-lined, that adds an additional layer of coziness and warmth for your feet.
Cons of Leather Booties
One downside to leather is that it’s heavier when compared to suede. This comes naturally, since leather is a dense and durable material, it will have some weight to it. Leather booties may also be a little stiff when you first purchase them. A flexible material, leather shoes will actually stretch and mold to your foot over time. While they may be a little hard at first, leather booties are sure to become your most comfortable pair in no time at all! But since leather is more susceptible to weather changes, it will appear more stiff in wintertime, and softer in warmer temperatures.
Benefits of Suede Booties
Great texture and appearance
There’s no doubt that suede booties just look great with any other fabric. Suede is soft to the touch with a velvety and butter-like texture that just feels good on the skin. Unlike leather, suede absorbs light and is not reflective, creating an eye-catching contrast with delicate fabrics such as silk.
Lightweight and portable
For long commutes or flights, suede is a great choice because it’s lightweight. One of the pros or suede booties is that they’re not only warm, but you won’t have much weight on your feet except for the heel. No matter how long your commute, your feet will be in the ultimate state of comfort if suede shoes are shearling-lined. Now that’s what we call a double-win!
Cons of Suede Booties
If you live in a city where it rains or snows, suede booties will be more prone to water damage. When suede gets wet, it can get a little stiff. But not to worry! Just try to wipe off any water as soon as possible, preferably with an absorbent towel or microfiber cloth. Before going on an outdoor walk, make sure to check the weather forecast just to be sure your suede booties won’t get rained or snowed on.
Because suede is a more delicate material than leather, it will require a little more love and care. The biggest rule is to keep your suede dry. But the good news is that you can maintain your suede booties and expand their longevity with a few simple tips in the section below.
Cleaning & Maintaining Your Booties
How to Clean Leather Booties
To maintain your leather booties, all you really need is a soft cloth, soft brush, and a soapy water solution.
First, you remove laces from your leather booties, if any. Then use the soft brush to gently remove any dirt, mud, or anything else that may have stuck to them. Once they’re brushed, grab your cloth and soapy solution and apply it to the leather. This ensures that you’re properly cleaning the leather, but also re-introducing moisture which will keep leather from cracking. Once your leather booties are dry, you can choose to condition them with a store-bought leather conditioner.
How to Clean Suede Booties
As mentioned earlier, suede requires a little bit more attention than leather – but the extra work is so well worth it! To clean your favorite suede booties, you’ll need a suede brush and suede rubber (you can also use a toothbrush and eraser in a pinch).
To clean your suede booties, first identify which way the suede naturally rests when you run your fingers across it. This is called going with the grain. You want to make sure you clean your suede booties in this direction. Next, get your suede brush (or toothbrush) and lightly brush away any dirt or grime on your suede bootie. To remove any marks or scuffs, use your suede rubber (or pencil eraser) and gently rub away at the location of the mark. And voila! Your suede booties are now clean and ready to take you on more adventures!