Style Guide

Leather or Rubber Soled Dress Shoes?

So, leather or rubber, which tickles your fancy? I am, of course, referring to the material in which your shoe sole is made out of. Your own personal and private fetishes are none of my shoe business. The virtues of a leather sole have long been extolled in dress shoes, but in recent years, the rubber sole has come into its own and is now no longer considered the poor man’s choice. We take both sides into consideration. 

Leather Soles

In terms of style and elegance, the leather sole cannot be beaten. It is the go-to for formal dress shoes and will always be a wardrobe necessity. One of the biggest myths regarding leather soles is that they are thought of as hard and uncomfortable. However, as leather is an organic material it will gradually over time mould and adapt to your foot, although the initial wearing in period is far more difficult than its rubber soled counterpart. The durability of a leather sole, whilst reliant on the quality of the manufacturer really depends on how often you will be wearing the style. A leather soled shoe with no rubber protector should not be worn every day. The leather will wear fast and is not to be worn regularly in rainy climates (yes Brits we are talking to you here!) As the leather is absorbent, the sole will eventually crack and let in the water. And nobody wants trench foot.

rubber shoe soles

Rubber Soles

Of course, there will be staunch traditionalists who will argue that a rubber sole should never be used for dress shoes, even when worn in an informal setting. Generally, they do look slightly chunkier than a leather sole, but ultimately the rubber sole´s main draw is that it is comfortable right from the off, although if you’re a gentleman who likes to consider the long-term value of his investment, then the rubber soles comfort is short-lived. As a rubber sole is shock absorbent, you can pound the pavement with ease. And in terms of being water resistant, the rubber sole takes the medal for being a hardy everyday sole that will withstand fairly well to the outside elements.

In the end, your shoes should always be a happy marriage between style and comfort. Whichever sole you end up choosing depends on occasion and use. Rubber or leather soles will be equally worthy additions to your shoe closet.