Before the mid 20th century, everyone who wore shoes had shoes made of leather. Since the 1970s, shoes made of rubber, plastic and synthetic materials made from petrochemicals became fashionable. Comfort and affordability helped increase their popularity. Nonetheless, leather shoes still hold an important place in the shoe market.
People who work standing on their feet for long hours need shoes that are healthy and comfortable. Unlike shoes made from plastic, rubber, and synthetic materials, leather sole shoes breathe and keep the feet cool. With less sweating, athlete's foot and other foot infections are avoided.
Shoes with leather soles are cost effective. Unlike sneakers and synthetic shoes with permanent soles, leather soles can be replaced and repaired. Shoes that can be repaired last longer and are more cost efficient than shoes that have to be replaced.
Rubber sneakers and synthetic shoes last for years in landfills. By repairing and replacing leather-soled shoes, they stay out of the landfills longer. And when it is time to dispose of them, leather is a natural, biodegradable product. The more people who wear leather shoes, the fewer synthetic shoes that would be manufactured in petrochemical plants that create water and air pollution.
Shoes made from leather have limited design possibilities Shoes made from plastic, rubber and such materials can be designed, moulded and shaped in just about any way the manufacturer desires.
Cobblers are skilled artisan who make shoes and repair them. If more shoes with leather soles were manufactured, there would be more of a need for skilled cobblers who could open up shoe repair shops and put people to work.
Designer dress shoes for both men and women are made of leather and have leather soles and contribute to the fashion industry.