People sometimes ask us if we use leather in our sandals and the answer is as of now, in all of our sandals, we do not, and we don’t for a couple of reasons. One, we like having a product that if you’re vegan that you can wear. We’re not vegans ourselves but we like having something that is suitable for vegans as well.
The other reason is if we use leather in the foot bed or on the lace, there are some performance characteristics that we’re not crazy about. While leather can feel comfortable for a little while, it can wear out quickly. It does not handle water well when it gets wet; it gets floppy, and then when it dries it can get stiff. The patina that it gets is actually caused by dirt and bacteria, so we’re not crazy about that either.
With leather laces, there’s the same stretching and contracting issue when they get wet, and like most natural materials. They don’t necessarily wear as well as a synthetic like the polyester that we use in our laces. They’re less abrasion-resistant. Also, leather is typically going to be rectangular, it’ll have these edges. Depending on how you tie this around your foot and what you’re doing, you can get some digging into your skin, which we try to avoid with our round laces and our tubular webbing. There are no edges on our webbing as well.
We do, however, have two shoes made with leather, the previous Coalton and our current Alston. We received thousands of requests from customers who wanted shoes that gave them natural, barefoot-inspired movement, but would allow them to work in a place where leather shoes were required.