Is leather good for minimal sandals?

People ask if we use leather — in the laces or the soles — for our minimalist sandals.

The answer is No.

We don’t for a couple of reasons.

We like that we’re making a vegan sandal product—we don’t want to exclude people from being able to wear and enjoy Xero Shoes—but there’s also another issue with leather. Well, a couple.

One is it’s really expensive. The other is that if you have a leather sole, well, when leather gets wet gets really floppy and expands, and then when it dries it gets hard and it contracts. Because it’s a natural material, it doesn’t last as long as synthetic materials.

And with the lace or the strap, the leather has edges that can dig into your skin.

One reason people like leather is after you wear it for a while it develops a patina over time. That patina is actually dirt and sweat and bacteria, which is why leather can absorb smell in a way that just using our rubber or our TrailFoam™ and BareFoam™ don’t. So that’s why we’re currently not using leather.