Suede Boots vs Leather Boots – Which One To Buy?

Suede boots are probably the most underrated items in a fall closet. They are tough, warm, and they look absolutely beautiful.

And when speaking about winter boots, we have to mention the name of the shoes that dominate this space – leather boots.

Both suede boots and leather boots are amazing pieces of footwear, but when pitted against each other, which one would come out on top? That’s what I’ll aim to answer in this article.

I have an enormous boots collection, so I decided to conduct a few experiments in order to answer the golden question about them – Should you buy suede boots or leather boots?

Let’s go!

Difference Between Leather Boots And Suede Boots

CategoryLeather BootsSuede Boots
DurabilityMore durable.Less durable.
MaintenanceRequire minimal maintenance.Requires more maintenance.
SeasonWork best for winter.Work best for fall.
WeightHeavier.Lighter.
PurposeGreat for outdoor activities.More of a fashion item.

Both suede boots and leather boots are great options, but as an overall pick, leather clearly has the upper hand.

Why? That’s what I will explain in the next section.

Which Is Better Suede Or Leather Boots?

Leather boots are better than suede boots because of the added durability and versatility they provide to an outfit.

Now, this is a controversial statement, so let me explain myself a bit.

If given the choice, I would recommend you to buy a pair of leather boots over suede ones because of the simple fact that leather is much more durable than suede.

There’s not much difference between the two materials in terms of styles and colors available (after all, suede is a type of leather), but there is a lot of difference in their longevity.

If you take good care of your suede boots, they can probably last you 3-4 years. If you buy a pair of quality leather boots and you take proper care of them, they can often last a lifetime.

Add to that the fact that leather boots are warmer than suede boots, and going for leather boots starts to appear as the best course of action.

Pros And Cons Of Leather Boots

Leather boots are great at few things, but they also suck in a few others. Here’s the complete breakdown.

Advantages of leather boots

1. Weatherproof

Leather shoes can be worn in a variety of different weather conditions. You can wear them in the snow, you can wear them in fall, and you can even wear them in the spring.

All you need to do is some basic leather maintenance, and your boots are going to be protected from the elements. This comes down to the natural robustness of leather.

2. Durable

The reason I recommend people to go with leather boots over suede boots is because of the simple fact that they are extremely durable, and provide a great ROI.

In fact, I have had a couple of leather boots that have lasted for more than 10 years! In terms of footwear, it doesn’t really get more durable than a strong, sturdy pair of quality leather boots.

4. Warm

Across all different types of footwear, leather boots probably provide the most warmth to your feet.

Leather is a thick material that does not allow air to pass through it. This ensures that your boots remain warm in the winter season.

5. Lack of maintenance

Like I mentioned in the first point, leather is a very sturdy and robust material. It does not require a lot of maintenance.

You can wear them in the rain, you can wear them in the snow, and cleaning a pair of leather boots takes less than 10 minutes.

Disadvantages of leather boots

1. Can be costly

Quality leather boots cost money. You should treat them as an investment because you are going to be wearing the same pair for years on end.

There are leather boots that are available for a lesser price point, but most of them are not going to have quality standards such as a Goodyear welt or a full-grain or top-grain upper.

2. Heavy

Due to their robustness and thickness, leather boots also tend to be a bit on the heavier side, especially when compared to suede boots.

Again, a lot of this comes down to the shoe type. For example, knee-high military boots are going to be much heavier than chukka boots; so be sure of what you want to buy.

Pros And Cons Of Suede Boots

Similar to leather boots, suede boots also have some advantages and disadvantages that we can explore:

Advantages of suede boots

1. Lightweight

Since suede is a much thinner material than leather, boots made from it turn out to be very lightweight. This aids in movement and is a boon for people with foot issues.

The reason for suede’s lightness can be found in its manufacturing process. Suede is made after sanding down the skin of an animal. This sanding takes a lot of weight off the material and makes it lightweight.

2. Texture

The number one thing that sets suede apart from everything else in the market is its velvety texture. This texture adds another element to an outfit and makes it more three-dimensional.

This texture of suede comes from the tiny fibers on its surface, which are also collectively referred to as the “nap” of the suede.

3. Versatility in terms of colors

When it comes to leather boots, you are mostly going to be dealing with variations of black and brown that aren’t all that different from each other.

Suede boots, on the other hand, can be found in colors as different as light grey, navy, and baby pink. If you want something other than black or brown, go for suede boots.

4. Relatively inexpensive

In general, suede boots tend to be a bit cheaper than leather boots. Due to their thinner body, suede boots are easier and cheaper to manufacture. This drives down overall costs.

However, a lot depends upon the brand and the quality of the shoe. You may find suede shoes from certain brands retailing for an insanely high price point.

Disadvantages of suede boots

1. Require maintenance

The number one disadvantage of suede boots is that they require a lot of maintenance. There are tons of ways in which you can get your boots dirty, and you would be needing a proper cleaning kit to clean suede.

Not to mention how poorly suede reacts with water, which can make wearing suede boots in the rain next to impossible.

2. Lack of utility

Suede boots are fashion shoes, not utility shoes. When you buy a pair of suede boots, you don’t buy them because they are strong enough to last under a host of different conditions; you buy them because they look good.

This is not that big of a problem for me because I am not into hiking or camping (if you haven’t got it by now, I am more of a fashion guy), but if you are, I recommend you go for a pair of sturdy leather boots.

Final Remarks

There are a bunch of differences in both these categories of shoes. There are places where leather boots excel, and similarly, there are a few factors in which suede boots are unbeatable.

Take a look at the basis category mentioned in the difference table above, and decide which factors are the most important for you. Do you value warmth over everything else? Or are you more of a durability guy?

The answers to these questions will help you determine which shoes are going to be the best for you. And if you are still clueless, you can always go with my recommendation 🙂

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