Leather Shoes vs Man Made Leather Shoes – 12 Differentiating Factors You Must Know Before Buying Leather Shoes

  • By: Vishal Mahadik
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So, are you a leather shoe guy or do you like to wear synthetic / faux leather shoes?

Whatever your choice is, I would like to spill some beans on the actual differences between a genuine leather shoe and a manmade leather shoe.

In this article, you will learn more about the real differentiating features between pure leather footwear and synthetic material footwear.

We will also learn all the pros and cons of using a genuine leather shoe and a fake leather footwear.

First, we will start with the actual comparison between pure leather shoes vs man made leather shoes.

Leather Shoes vs Man Made Leather Footwear Comparison


Genuine Leather Shoes

Man Made Leather Shoes

1. Breathability

Highly Breathable in Nature

Causes Excessive Sweating Due to Less Breathability

2. Durability

Very Durable Material (Leather Upper and Soles Last Lifetime)

Less Durable in comparison to Pure Leather Material (Synthetic Material Soles and Upper Peel and Get Damaged Easily)

3. Comfort

Extremely Comfortable to Wear all Day

Less Flexible and More Uncomfortable to Wear All Day

4. Shoe Sole Quality

Leather Shoe Soles Do not Fall Off Easily and Can be Replaced Effortlessly.

Synthetic or manmade leather shoe soles are not glued properly and fall off very easily and replacement cost is higher.

5. Material Construction

They are Made from Animal Skin or Hide.

These Shoes are made from PU (polyurethane) leather or PVC material.

6. Pricing

Manufacturing cost is higher. Therefore, the price tag of genuine leather shoe is much higher in comparison to man made leather shoes.

Synthetic or faux leather shoes can be made very cheaply. So, the final price is much less in comparison to genuine leather shoes.

7. Visual Appearance

Visual appeal is much higher and these shoes look really stylish and classy.

Fake leather or PU leather shoes look less classy or stylish in comparison to pure leather footwear.

8. Flexibility

Leather shoes are more flexible in nature and they conform to your foot shape and size easily.

PU Leather or Faux Leather footwear are not very flexible in comparison to pure leather shoes And they don’t easily conform to your foot shape and sizing.

9. Break-in Period

Due to higher flexibility and comfortable nature, leather footwear break-in much faster.

Due to higher rigidity and less flexibility, these shoes take longer time to break-in.

10. Comfortable Fitting

Leather material is made from animal skin and that’s why it is more flexible and conforms to your foot pretty easily. These shoes provide more comfortable fitting.

Synthetic or man-made leather shoes do not easily conform to your foot shape and size which is why they offer tight fitting or not so comfortable fitting when your foot size and shoe size is a mismatch.

11. Easy to Clean and Maintain

Genuine leather footwear needs very little maintenance due to leather’s ability to prevent water and moisture collection. They are very easy to clean and wash at home.

PU Leather or Faux Leather shoes are very hard to maintain due to their rigid structure. They are less breathable due to which they need more protection from water, sweating, moisture and dust.

12. Foot Protection

Pure leather shoes offer the best type of foot protection because they are highly water resistant, dust resistant and moisture resistant. Our foot is protected much efficiently from cold and wind when we wear genuine leather shoes.

Faux leather or man-made leather shoes offer less amount of foot protection against wind, cold, dust and water. They are highly unreliable when used in extreme cold, rainy and snowy environments.

So, by this comparison above; you must have understood by now that genuine leather footwear is miles ahead of synthetic or man-made leather shoes when it comes to its features.

Whether you compare them in terms of comfort, durability, flexibility, protection, support, maintenance or visual appeal; you will see that leather shoes have no comparison with faux leather shoes.

Before, I wrap up this guide; I want to touch upon few most frequently asked questions by my readers.

Kindly check them out to understand more about these types of footwear products.

Most Frequently Asked Questions for Pure Leather Shoes vs Faux Leather Shoes

Are Genuine Leather Shoes Man Made or Natural?

Red Wing Heritage Men's Moc 8" Boot

Some people do have this doubt whether pure leather footwear products can be called as natural or man made. So, let me clear this doubt first.

All shoes and boots that are manufactured using genuine leather material can be called as natural.

Because the leather which is used for making these shoes is generally treated in factories. But ultimately this leather is obtained from animal skin or animal hide.

So, you can definitely call it as a natural product. All man-made leather shoes are actually manufactured using synthetic leather or imitation leather material.

Hence forth, they can not be called as “natural”.

What Does Man Made Shoes Mean?

Man made shoes simply means they are not made from real leather material.

These types of footwear products are also known as imitation leather, synthetic leather or faux leather footwear.

These man made shoes are made from synthetic material such as PVC, polyurethane, microfiber, etc.  and usually mass produced in factories.

So, whenever you see the label on your shoe mentioning “man made leather” then you should quickly realize that it is not made from genuine leather material.

Basically, they are manufactured with PU leather or synthetic fabric material.

Are Man Made Leather Shoes Vegan in Nature?

Dr. Martens Vegan 1460 Smooth Black Combat Boot,  Fleix Rub, 7 UK/US Men's 8 Women's 9 D US

Vegan leather shoes are increasingly becoming a popular phenomenon these days.

Due to animal cruelty laws and regulations, several shoe manufacturers are coming up with vegan leather footwear products in the market.

If you are an animal lover and want to stop animal cruelty gradually, then you need to start using vegan leather shoes. There are several brands today selling these types of shoes and boots in the market.

So, the question is how do you recognise whether the shoe you purchase is made from vegan leather or genuine leather.

In simple terms, vegan leather is also known as synthetic leather or faux leather. Basically, all the shoes that are not made from animal skin or hide; can be categorized under vegan leather shoes.

Therefore, by this definition; all types of PVC and PU leather shoes can be classified as vegan leather shoes. This means you can call all types of man-made leather shoes as vegan in nature.

Pros and Cons of Genuine Leather Shoes




High Manufacturing Cost


Made from Animal Skin or Hide, so not vegan in nature


More Sensitive to Temperature Fluctuations


Gets Scuff Marks Very Easily

High Visual Appeal

Color Patterns and Textures are very Limited

Highly Breathable

Takes Much Longer to Manufacture

Pros and Cons of Man-Made or Synthetic Leather Shoes



Low Manufacturing Cost, Available in Very Affordable Range

Less Comfortable

Available in Wide Color Patterns and Attractive Texture Designs

Higher Rigidity and Less Flexibility

Not made from Animal Skin and can be termed as Pure Vegan Shoes

Very Less Breathability and Moisture Absorption

Less Wastage in terms of Material Manufacturing

Smell is Usually Bad in comparison with Pure Leather Shoes

Very Easy to Mass Produce

Not Much Durable as compared to Genuine Leather Shoes

Stitching and Handling of these Shoes is Much Faster and Easier

Not Environment Friendly Because Most of them are made from Cheap Plastic material

Higher Resistance to Acids and Wear and Tear

Does not look as classy and stylish as pure leather shoes


When you compare genuine leather shoes vs man-made leather or synthetic leather shoes; you will find that both of them have some advantages and certain disadvantages.

It all comes down to your personal tastes and preferences. What kind of shoe you want to wear; depends entirely upon what features you are actually looking for in your footwear.

If you are after higher comfort, durability, breathability and better visual appearance and don’t mind spending $200-$400 for the shoe; then I highly recommend buying genuine leather shoes for your feet.

If you are an animal lover and don’t want to buy any shoe made from animal skin then I suggest you to purchase vegan leather or synthetic leather shoes for your feet. They are very cost efficient too but they don’t last long as compared to pure leather shoes.

They do have lot of disadvantages when compared to genuine leather shoes. But if you want to save your money and want to buy an affordable vegan leather footwear, then I strongly recommend to check out these best synthetic leather or faux leather shoes online.