Best Leather Sneakers Reviewed & Rated
When the modern shopper is pursuing that perfect new pair of sneakers, leather doesn’t often come to mind. Canvas, rubber, and synthetic materials have swept through the sneaker market in a way that would make our grandparents weep in disappointment. So, what are we missing out on by moving to more contemporary materials?
Though we still utilize leather for certain footwear like boots and dress shoes, leather sneakers are less common than ever. But sneakers are one of our shoes that take the most wear and tear over their life, and leather is one of the most durable materials around, so if you want true quality sneakers, it can be worth splurging on that slightly higher price tag knowing that the value will hold for a long time.
- Vans Authentic
- Signature waffle outsole
- Padded footbed
- Nike Air Monarch IV
- Extreme support
- Comfortable for running
- Keds Champion Original
- Arch support
- Breathable lining
In addition to being extremely durable, leather is naturally breathable and can the handle heat that is produced through rigorous activity. It is also able to shape itself to the wearer’s foot more perfectly than synthetic materials, making the shoe uniquely comfortable.
This list will provide information on the best leather sneakers available on the market today keeping in mind durability, comfort, and value.
10 Best Leather Sneakers
1. Vans Authentic
This classic Vans shoe offers a unique feature in that it is unisex. Anybody can feel confident rocking a new pair of leather Vans.
This model can be worn with an extremely wide variety of outfits. Wearable with shorts, pants, skirts, and more, the Vans Authentic Sneaker is a great addition to any wardrobe.
Cost and Value
A popular brand, Vans has kept their prices at a stable and affordable price point. With the leather exterior, this model is even more durable than its already reliable cousins.
Less grip than comparable models
Not made for bad weather
2. Nike Air Monarch IV
This shoe has very high and supported arches that are great for running or long periods of standing. The shaft of the shoe measures 2.75” from the shaft, making it a very tall sole.
Comfortable for running
Though larger than a traditional running shoe, the Nike Air Monarch IV is perfect for runners who desire extra comfort and support. Durable, these shoes are a great addition to any runners closet.
Cost and Value
Though Nike, this model is on the more economical side of the price spectrum. Shoppers can expect a lower price tag than comparable models and, combined with the shoes long life, the value is very high for a reasonable cost.
High-arch for support
Strong grip on sole
Heavier than average
3. Nike Air Force 1
Built in pivot points in the heel and forefoot ensure comfort and stability when turning in any direction. Combined with the high-grip rubber sole, this shoe is a very safe option.
A padded collar makes this shoe extremely comfortable around the ankle and prevents chafing when wearing for long periods of time.
Cost and Value
A classic Nike model, the price tag with this shoe is slightly higher than average due to its brand recognition. However, the attention to detail in this shoe like the padded collar, high-grip sole, and pivot points make it a great value.
Built-in pivot points
High arch support
High price tag
Not for intense athletic use
4. New Balance MX608v4
Thick and padded, the tongue of this shoe offers extreme comfort. However, since the material is mesh, the thick padding of the tongue does not constrict the foot and offers expanded breathability.
The double-thick collar provides added comfort around the ankle and top of the foot, making this shoe a perfect choice for long-term wear.
Cost and Value
High quality and low price make the New Balance MX608v4 a great value. With a full-leather body, the shoe is made of quality materials and should give shoppers a long life of high usage.
Padded mesh tongue
High arch support
Great for wide feet
Tight around toes
Not for long distance running
5. New Balance MW411v2
The perforated leather sides on the body of this shoe makes it extremely breathable which is crucial for leather sneakers – especially those that are meant to be worn for long periods of time.
Made for walking
These shoes are designed top to bottom for people who are always on their feet. Designed to remain comfortable throughout a long day, this is a perfect purchase for the active walker.
Cost and Value
Another great value, the cost of this shoe comes in below average without sacrificing any value. Built from high quality leather, this shoe will last potential buyers a very long time without breaking the bank.
Great arch support
Separation from sole and body
6. Adidas Cloudfoam Ilation
The CLOUDFOAM technology that Adidas has rolled into these shoes offers top-level comfort. Built into both the mid-sole and the sock liner, this shoe feels good all the way around the foot.
High-top ankle support
Made for basketball, the high-top design of this model offers extended ankle support compared to the other shoes on this list.
Cost and Value
The price point of this shoe is lower than comparable models on the market. The leather and fabric combination of the body creates a durable shoe that can handle the wear and tear of a rigorous basketball player. Overall, they are a very strong value for the price.
High-top ankle support
Perforations for ventilation
Leather and fabric combo
Separation at sole
7. Polo Ralph Lauren Vaughn
People who want to add a little class to their casual wardrobe will find this a great sneaker option. The classic logo is stitched in white on the side of the shoe.
Top quality leather combined with a soft sole makes this shoe extremely comfortable. Wearers can be confident that they will look great without having to sacrifice comfort.
Cost and Value
Ralph Lauren shoes typically sell at a higher price than the market average due to the brand reputation and high-quality materials. The top-of-the-line leather and comfortable feel of this shoe gives it high value, however.
High quality leather
Wearable with most outfits
Separation between leather and rubber
Leather loses shape after time
8. Nike Cortez
This sneaker has the EVA mid-sole cushioning that makes it one of the most comfortable shoes on this list. Combined with the thick body, this shoe hugs to any shape of foot.
The bottom of this sneaker has herringbone tread giving it great traction. Though only designed as a casual daily shoe option, shoppers can be assured that they are not sacrificing stability for comfort.
Cost and Value
A slightly costlier option, the Nike Cortez justifies its price point with the comfort level it provides. High quality leather combined with synthetic material and a rubber outsole makes this shoe a durable and reliable option.
EVA mid-sole cushioning
9. Keds Champion Original
The simple design of this model makes it appear to not have arch support, but it is actually rated as highly supportive and comfortable. A soft rubber sole provides long-term comfort.
Thin, breathable leather allows wearers to keep this shoe on all day without cooking their feet or causing bad smells – something you must be extra aware of when wearing leather shoes.
Cost and Value
Priced at the lower end of this list, the Keds Champion Original Leather Sneaker is a very affordable option for shoppers. The simple design helps keep costs low, but the shoe is very durable and comfort, making it a great value.
Soft rubber sole
10. Adidas Superstar Foundation
This model is instantly recognizable and a statement to top off any outfit. The shell-top provides that classic Adidas appearance, while the synthetic sole offers impressive traction.
Wide range of styles
Being such a popular model, this shoe is available in nearly any color/style that shoppers could want. Highly customizable, shoppers will be able to match this classic look to their own unique style.
Cost and Value
This price is consistent with similar shoes in the market. Slightly above average, the cost is offset by the high value that this shoe provides. Made from top quality leather and synthetic materials, the comfort and durability make this shoe a strong value for prospective buyers.
Not for athletic wear
Show dirt easily
11. Skechers D’Lites
Skechers has one of the most comfortable insoles around that will provide you will all day comfort. Regardless of what the day throws at you, the last thing you will have to worry about is your feet being sore, sweaty or irritated. This insole, along with the thickly cushioned midsole allows for optimum shock absorption and comfort.
Padded Tongue and Collar
The more cushioning and padding the better when it comes to sneakers you will be wearing for long hours. You don’t want to invest in a pair of shoes that leave your feet with blisters or irritations and Skechers D’Lites ensure that that will never be the case. Padded all throughout the shoe, but especially around the collar, making sure that you have sufficient ankle support and feel good by the end of the day.
Cost and Value
These sneakers are a great value considering the comfort they will give you. Packed full of great features like cushioned insoles, pull tabs and completely padded throughout. Compared to others on this list these shoes are not only some of the most affordable but some of the best quality as well.
- Rubber Sole
- Sturdy Laces
- Color Selection
- Padded Tongue and Collar
- Memory Foam
- Cushioned Insole
- Pull Tabs on Tongue and Heel
Insole is Not Removable
12. Easy Spirit Romy
The durability of an outsole can make or break a good pair of shoes, especially if they will frequently be worn outside. The Romy outsole is thick and well made to ensure that over time it doesn't lose its shape or start to fall apart. The bottoms of the shoe are also not completely white, which is great for making sure they look clean and nice as long as possible.
It can be tough finding a pair of shoes when one of the key things you are looking for is a removable insole. However needing a shoe that will fit your medical orthotics should not mean you need to compromise anything, especially style. Easy Spirit creates extremely comfortable yet stylish sneakers ensure you feel just as good as you look.
Cost and Value
A more expensive shoe than others on this list, however, they are one of the top-rated walking shoes and your feet will be able to feel the difference when you wear them. Versatile and sleek enough to be able to wear to more than just the gym or wearing errands, these shoes can easily be styled in a chic way to go with any outfit.
- Durable Rubber Outsole
- Removable Insole
- Great for Wide Feet
- True to Size
Sizing May Run Large
13. Converse Ox
Sneakers are what you wear when you want to be comfortable on your feet all day long, and without the proper outsole with sufficient grip, you will be worrying about slipping and falling. Converse has a diamond-shaped tread pattern that ensures stability and helps you from sliding on the slippery ground.
Now in leather but still the same style as before, Converse sneakers are timeless and are easy to incorporate into any wardrobe, regardless of your personal style. Most popularly seen in all black and white, these Ox sneakers come in a variety of colors and look so chic.
Cost and Value
A more expensive sneaker, and although not the most comfortable in comparison to others on the list, they are a classic and timeless sneaker that is easy to pair with any outfit, and can surprisingly be dressed up or down, depending on your style and how you plan on wearing them.
- Rubber Sole
- Classic Style
- Good Grip
- Rubber Toe
14. Reebok Classic
As you continue to wear your sneakers frequently, you may sometimes notice the front of the shoe begin to wear, especially if you drag your feet in any way while walking. Not only does this not look very nice, it will slowly destroy the shoe because that is not an easy or cheap fix. A rubber toe cap makes the shoe even more durable and helps keep the shoe looking brand new without any wear or tear.
The low cut design looks great with jeans, and pants but especially shorts or even dresses in the summer because of how snug and sleek they are. Although some sneakers that sit too low on the ankle can cause irritation these sit in the perfect spot making sure you are comfortable all day.
Cost and Value
Durable, Sleek, Stylish and most of all comfortable; these sneakers have it all and they are completely affordable. If you are looking for more than just a walking shoe, and want a sleek sneaker that will make any outfit you wear instantly more chic with a vintage vibe, these Reebok Classics are perfect.
- Rubber Outsole
- Low-Cut Design
- EVA Midsole
- Foam Sockliner
- Padded Collar
Can Run Narrow
15. Puma Roma
Having that extra bit of cushioning and support in a shoe can make all the difference, which is why Puma made sure to create a sneaker that offers proper arch support for those who may suffer from pronation problems. Ensuring the foot is properly supported and has a stable surface to stand and walk around on all day is essential to preventing pain and injury.
With the athleisure trend not slowing down anytime soon, sneakers that fit into your day to day life rather than ones you would exercise in are becoming more and more popular. Although these can be worn to the gym, they are more so for fashion and look great paired with an all black look.
Cost and Value
The price point is perfect considering these are not as versatile as other shoes on the list. Although convertible, these are more so made to wear as a fashion piece rather than to wear to a workout class.
- Cushioned Midsole
- Orthopedic Arch Support
- Traction Outsole
- Padded Tongue
May Need to Size Up
As you can see, not only does leather provide a comfortable, durable base for your feet, you can find stylish and affordable options from many different brands. From light walking shoes to basketball high-tops, the range of leather sneakers available is much broader than most would think. Though priced slightly higher than the average sneaker – due to the quality of leather needed in production – leather sneakers have a usable life that far out-performs their canvas and synthetic cousins.
Sheer quality aside, leather sneakers just look great. Leather bodies age far better than any other shoe material, meaning your sneakers won’t look like dirty, deflated clogs after only three weeks at the gym. So, next time you are out shopping for that new pair of sneakers, make a statement and go leather.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Leather Sneakers
Similar to all shoes, the fit of a sneaker if important, but the fit of a leather sneaker even more so. When it comes to running shoes this is the single most important thing to be aware of while shopping, and although sneakers are similar they will not and should not be worn for actual running or vigorous workouts.
Sneakers look and fit differently on everyone, and just because your friend recommends a pair that feels great for them, they will not necessarily feel great on you, rushing to buy them solely based on their opinion will 90% of the time leave you with shoes you don’t enjoy.
Knowing your size is important, but you must consider that no style of shoe fits like the other, and therefore it is essential to try on different sizes to know what will feel right. Just because you are a certain size in one type of shoe, does not mean you will be in another. Another common mistake is thinking it is okay for a shoe to be slightly too tight because it will get broken in and stretch over time; this generally does not happen and you will be left feeling uncomfortable and not ever wanting to wear your new sneakers.
A good leather sneaker may have a slight break-in period, but once that is over the shoe should almost mold to your foot, and begin to fit like a glove. There is a large difference between a break-in period and a shoe that simply does not fit. Running shoes, for instance, should have zero need to be broken in and should fit perfectly immediately. Sneakers, especially ones that are leather tend to be a little stiffer and may require time to become extremely comfortable. Do not changes sizes based on that. Depending on the quality of the leather this may vary, however, if the shoe is made of bad synthetic materials it isn’t worth the buy to begin with.
Sticking with brands you know work well for you is always a good idea because you have gone through the trial and error process and know your exact fit when it comes to this brand. This takes the time-consuming process of testing sizes and styles out of the equation and makes purchasing a new pair of shoes quick and painless. That is not to say you should never branch out, but with specific styles of shoes like sneakers, the fit is important and this can help with your foot’s overall health in the long run.
Lastly, always remember that your foot expands and swells throughout the day and therefore the evening is the best time to measure your foot to find the correct shoe size. It doesn’t always make the largest difference in size, but for shoes that should be snug and fitted like slip-on sneakers the exact size is important for optimum comfort.
Whether you are wearing your new sneakers to the mall, or on your next vacation where you will be exploring a new city, your feet need support. Walking as little as ten feet can be uncomfortable if your shoes are not properly fitted to your feet. Everyone’s feet are different and will need different levels of support, so take the time to assess the type of feet you have and the type of shoe needed to prevent pain and injuries.
Your feet should not slide around in your shoe, they should be secure at all times. If they have laces they should be tied just enough so that your foot feels snug but not constricted in your shoe; laces that are tied too tight can damage the top of your foot. Slip-on sneakers are convenient but do not always provide the same support as those that have a velcro or lace closure. If you notice things like your heel rising in the back of your shoes, or your toes pushing to the front of the shoe and feeling pinched and sore these do not fit you properly.
Take a good look at the soles and determine if they will not only provide proper support but protection as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean protection against things like sharp objects or anything that could pierce the sole, but more so protection against the surfaces you will be walking on. Walk around on a soft surface such as grass or carpet, and then a hard surface like concrete or wooden floors. You should not feel a difference when you walk between the two.
Your sneakers should have a sufficient amount of cushioning and be flexible yet still sturdy. All impact should be absorbed by your shoe and not leave any part of your feet feeling achy. Additionally, a padded tongue and collar will aid in comfort and help support your ankles and upper foot preventing possible injuries. Sneakers are not made to be worn during high-impact sports or activities and will have a different more flexible design in the ball of the foot to accommodate how your feet move when you walk.
If you are in need of arch support, look for shoes that are made to support your particular arch; neutral, high or low. If you have flat feet it is important to pay closer attention to the sneakers you wish to purchase because you are in need of more cushioning for shock absorption. Without proper support, you are more prone to stress on your body which can lead to pain and injury.
Shoes are not made to multitask which is why there are so many different types of shoes for different possible needs in your life. Although similar in appearance, sneakers and running shoes are very different and are used for different things. A running shoe can be very multipurpose and does not need to be worn strictly for running, whereas a sneaker is multipurpose in the fashion sense but not in the way it can be used. Both offer completely different levels of support, although a sneaker can be worn as a walking shoe, it should not be used during any sport or activity that is high-impact.
The word “sneaker” is very broad and does not mean one specific type of shoe. There are many types of sneakers, and they all have a different purpose, from runners, tennis or walking shoes, consider what you will be wearing these for and purchase accordingly. If you wear your leather sneakers during a run the soles will wear out much faster than had you worn proper shoes designed for running.
It is important to keep in mind that regardless of what you use your shoes for, the general rule of thumb is to replace them after roughly 400 miles. This may differ depending on how often you wear them and again the activities; if you notice them begin to not give you the same support as before, or the soles look worn down, it is time for a new pair.
Leather sneakers have quickly become a fashion staple in many closets because of how easy they are to style and wear. Due to the sleek leather appearance, they automatically look much chicer than your average pair of canvas sneakers and can be easily dressed up to be somewhat formal. Pair them with nice trousers and a button down for a smart, business casual look or with any skinny jeans and tee shirt for a comfortable, everyday stylish look.
Leather is always the best option when deciding on a sneaker material, especially when being worn as a fashionable item because of how sleek they look. Not only does leather look great, it is breathable and feels great as well; meaning it will mold to the shape of your foot over time and begin fitting more and more like a glove after each use. Although more expensive, if you are looking to invest in your new pair of leather kicks, try to opt for genuine leather as its quality is obvious and you will have a pair of shoes that last years.
Genuine leather is classy, comfortable and extremely durable which is why it is such a popular material choice for shoes. Although generally associated with dress shoes, leather does not just need to be worn for formal, or dressy events and can easily be worn in more casual settings. It is more so the quality of the leather that determines how formal a shoe is, not necessarily simply the fact is it leather.
If you happen to come across a pair of sneakers with a leather insole they are a great investment, although it adds to the price, not only does this prolong the life of the shoe, leather is great for preventing odor and bacteria from growing.
Genuine leather can easily be mistaken for synthetic leather so it is important to know the difference between the two. Leather is very flexible and can be stretched, it is also a very breathable fabric which makes it a great choice for all-day wear. A breathable fabric is better for your foots overall health and ensuring airflow throughout the day. Keep in mind your leather sneakers need to be properly cared for and cannot and should not just be simply wiped down with a cloth.
Leather shoes need to be properly polished with special cleaners and polishes made specifically for that type of leather. To be proactive, there are many types of sprays and protectants you can use prior to wearing them to ensure they stay in good shape, and do not show wear quicker than they should. They may be extra work, but in the long run with love and care, it is worth it.
Synthetic leather or faux leather is much more popular and common as an easily accessible and convenient choice because of how much more affordable they are, and easier to maintain. Instead of having to be careful with protectant sprays and properly polishing and cleaning your shoes, synthetic leather can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth. Other less admirable things are how faux leather is not a breathable material nor is it as flexible as real leather, making it in the long less an overall less desirable material overall.
From the leather used to the insoles, soles, laces and everything in between, every single thing and every second spent making those shoes determines the quality of them. You want to invest in a pair of shoes that you know were made with quality and care and that will last you for years to come, although more expensive up front, in the long run, it is always better to do a one time purchase of quality items rather than continually having to repurchase cheap, flimsy items.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should my sneakers be changed out?
A: The average pair of sneakers should last you between 350 – 400 miles depending on how they are used. If they are just being worn to work or casually throughout the week they may last longer, and when they need to be replaced can be determined by when they start to feel less comfortable, when the cushioning feels less supportive or when the sole begins to wear. If you plan on running or working out in them, you should keep a closer eye on them and how they look and feel after a few months.
Q: Are laces or slip on shoes better?
A: The closure that suits you best is completely up to you, and is easiest to find out by simply trying on all options. Laces are great for extra support and to help somewhat with the fight, however, laces should never be relied on to alter the fit completely. If you need to tie the laces as tight as you can for the shoe to stay on, the size is wrong. Slip on shoes can be a little bit trickier in finding the perfect fit because there is no way to change how they feel, but if you can find what feels right for you grab them because they are very comfortable and convenient.
Q: Is genuine leather worth the extra money?
A: Absolutely if that is what you’re looking for. If you are ready to invest in a new pair of sneakers that you want to take care of, and have last for years to come genuine leather is the way to go. Only needing shoes for an occasion, or to just bring on a quick trip do not need to be a splurge or investment item because you probably won’t reach for them again.
Q: Should my sneakers need to be broken in?
A: Your sneakers should feel good right away, and not cause immediate irritation or pain, however, some leathers can be stiffer than others, therefore, taking the time to break-in the leather may be necessary but not the shoe itself. Breaking-in the leather more so means wearing it often so the material softens slightly and begins molding to your foot and fitting like a glove.
Q: What is considered a “sneaker”?
A: A sneaker is not just one specific shoe it is actually a very broad term that refers to any sort of somewhat athletic shoe. From runners to walking shoes sneakers are casually athletic and are not designed for specific sports such as soccer or golf. Sneakers can be worn by anyone and during any time of their life, although great for walking or doing some level of exercise they can be worn in a more fashionable way to just add an athleisure feel to an outfit.
Q: Can I use my sneakers for different activities?
A: You can wear your sneakers however you please. Leather sneakers are very chic and are being seen more and more in the fashion world as the statement piece rather than simply being considered your “walking shoes.” Do not be shy when it comes to wearing and styling your new sneakers, they are an extremely versatile clothing item and it is hard to go wrong when finding new ways to wear and style them.