The Ultimate Guide To Shopping For Leather Shoes

Leather shoes are perfect for almost any occasion, provided you’re able to find a pair that’s truly flexible, comfortable, and durable. But unfortunately, many leather shoes on the market aren’t going to be a good fit for you. Shopping for leather shoes can be a challenging experience, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for yet. But with the right tips, it becomes much easier.

Shop Handmade (If You Can)

Handmade leather shoes tend to be superior to other leather shoes, and for several reasons:

  •       Material selection. Craftspeople want to make the best possible products for their customers, in part to perpetuate their business and in part because they genuinely care about what they’re making. Regardless of the exact motivation, leatherworkers are highly selective about the materials they use in creating shoes.
  •       Expert craftsmanship. As long as you buy from an experienced professional, you’ll get to see and enjoy the results of true expertise in shoemaking. The best human craftspeople are capable of making shoes far better than any machine.
  •       Artistry. Many leather workers see shoe making as a genuine art. They want to make every piece unique, even if the differences are only slight, and they want to be proud of their work. Accordingly, you’ll feel proud to wear their shoes.
  •       Attention to detail. Craftspeople notice details that most people on a basic assembly line do not. You’ll likely notice that the little details on handmade shoes are much better and more noticeable than their factory-made counterparts.
  •       Quality control. Quality control isn’t always good on an assembly line, but experts who make shoes by hand have a kind of quality control by default. They want to make sure every piece goes out to make a good impression.

Know What You’re Looking For

Before shopping for shoes, you should know exactly what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you might impulse purchase something that doesn’t quite fit with your needs.

  •       Overall form, shape, and size. What type of shoe are you looking for? Are you looking for heavy-duty boots, lightweight flats, or something in between? What purpose is this going to fulfill and what form is it going to take? Even if you don’t have all the specifics nailed down, you can start with some general requirements.
  •       Color. Do you want to go with a natural leather color? A classic black? A more vibrant stained color? All these options are viable, depending on the vibe you want.
  •       Simplicity vs. novelty. Some leather shoes are minimalistic and capable of fitting with any outfit, while others are more ostentatious or “loud,” requiring more consideration when pairing them with other articles of clothing.

Try On (or Look for a Guarantee)

Ideally, you’ll have the opportunity to try on leather shoes before buying them. If not, make sure the store or person you buy from has a guarantee so you can make an exchange if they don’t fit. Just remember that leather shoes often require a break-in period, and may not fit perfectly comfortably right away.

Shop Around

Leather is sometimes expensive, but often worth it due to its intrinsically valuable qualities. That said, you don’t want to pay too much for a good leather shoe. Simultaneously, it’s a bad idea to buy the first pair of shoes that looks good to you, since that might mean missing out on something even better. To resolve both these issues, shop with many different providers before making a final decision.

Evaluate the Brand

If you find a pair of leather shoes you like, spend some time evaluating the brand offering.

  •       Ratings. Are there ratings available for these shoes? What do people think about them? How do they stack up to similar competitors?
  •       Reviews. What are the reviewers saying? Are people satisfied with the look and feel of these shoes? Do they last a long time? Is good customer support available?
  •       Reputation. Does this brand have a good reputation in the industry? Do they have endorsements from people or institutions you respect?

Be Ready for Proper Care

If you want your leather to last, you also need to learn to care for it. When you buy leather shoes, consider buying some supplementary materials, such as conditioner, so you’re ready to give your leather the attention it needs in the future. At a minimum, you should wipe down your leather shoes after they accumulate dirt, dust, or other materials – and condition them at least once or twice a year.

Shopping for leather shoes can be a bit stressful, especially if you’re particular about the shoes you buy and wear. But with these strategies, it becomes much easier, and you’ll likely end up with a better pair of shoes as a result.

Popular on True Activist