How to Choose the Best Leather Shoes For Men & Women

There’s something timeless about leather. The way it looks. The way it ages. The way it feels on your feet. But finding the best pair of leather shoes or sneakers isn’t always simple.


You want them to be soft, but not so soft that they don’t support your step. They should be comfortable right out of the box and get even better with wear. Lastly, you’ll want to make sure they’re being sourced properly and made using premium materials.


Our team works hard to deliver all of that and more in our men’s leather shoes and women’s leather shoes collections. Here’s some info you might not know about leather, and what our products bring to the table:


Sustainable Leather Sourcing


Our team is serious about sourcing, which is why all of our leathers come from gold-level tanneries that are part of the Leather Working Group, a not-for-profit organization responsible for the world's leading environmental certification for the leather manufacturing industry.


Tanneries that are part of this group follow strict guidelines as far as water usage, supply chain transparency, fair labor, and other environmental and social responsibilities. The goal is to minimize environmental impact while ensuring the highest quality materials.


In addition to the sustainability factor, we also put thought into which types of leather we use for each of our shoes.


 How To Choose The Best Leather Shoes (Mens & Womens)


Types of Leather In Our Shoes


For every product, we aim to select leathers that have great character, feel comfortable immediately, and have strong visual appeal. How we determine that depends on the type of leather we’re working with.



Full-Grain Leather


When seeking out full-grain leather, we look for a soft surface finish and medium temper, which references the firmness. This specific combination not only provides the support and structure that a shoe upper needs, but also requires no break-in period. With leather sneakers like our men’s Lae‘ahi Lī ‘Ili and women’s Pehuea Lī ‘Ili, you can feel the level of comfort full-grain leather provides as soon as you lace them up. And that comfort only gets better with age.


Pebbled Leather


When it comes to pebbled leathers, we always look for a nice, natural finish. Pebbled refers to the raised, pebble-shaped texture on the surface of the leather. Choosing a natural finish gives the end product an interesting visual look while offering additional depth and character.


Nubuck Leather


We select nubuck leathers primarily for the soft, velvety surface feel and physical touch. Nubuck leather provides visual depth and feels rich, but not overly polished or dressy. It's a nice middle ground when it comes to casual sneakers, and our men’s Huaka‘i Lī and women’s Pehuea Heu are great examples, along with many of our slippers.


Suede Leather


We don't use suede leathers all that often, but when we do, we do it right. Suede has a buttery soft surface feel and tends to come from thinner leather hides. That means they need little to no break-in period. We love to introduce suede in the fall and winter, as you’ll see on some of our sneakers like Lae'ahi Lī Kala and Pehuea Leather.


Italian Leather


If you’re looking for the highest-end options out there, look no further than Italian leather. This leather is widely regarded as the softest, most skillfully crafted leather. That softness has to do with the masterful way they process the full-grain hides, making the leather incredibly pliable.


How to Choose The Best Leather Shoes (Mens & Womens)-2 


Leather Color and Texture


Colorwise, we want to give you options. Our leather shoes & sneakers are offered in a wide assortment ranging from white leather to black leather. Within that range, there's also a balance of light to dark browns. Additionally, you’ll find a handful of greys like Charcoal, Pavement, Fog, Warm Taupe.


The leather hides are carefully dyed at the tanneries using a variety of methods. The majority are water-dyed in a responsible and sustainable way to reduce the overall environmental impact.


The Best Leather Sneakers for Men & Women 


The Best Leather Sneakers


We’re committed to selecting leathers that focus on quality and comfort. With our sneakers, we choose leathers that offer that perfectly worn feeling right away, no break-in. That comes from taking a pure, natural material and combining it with our guiding principle, the Wet Sand Principle. The end result is a perfectly evergreen leather sneaker that fits like a glove and supports your every step. Here’s what other customer’s are saying about our leather shoes.


These are the nicest sneakers I have ever owned. The leather is so soft and the shoes are so extremely comfortable. -Andrew, Verified Buyer


Right out of the box, these are by far the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. They feel like I’m walking on clouds. -Saylor, Verified Buyer


I’m in love with my new shoes. They are super comfortable all day, right out of the box and I can wear them with everything. -Crystal, Verified Buyer


We love that premium, yet casual feel of leather shoes. Check out out our full lineup of premium leather sneakers for men & women below:


Shop Men’s Leather Sneakers | Shop Women’s Leather Shoes


Shop OluKai Leather Sneakers for Men & Women