How to Select The Right Shoe Material? Who Are The Ideal Suppliers?

How to Select The Right Shoe Material? Who Are The Ideal Suppliers?

Sandal manufacturer

Shoe design may sound to be the best feature or selling point of a shoe; but, what’s even more crucial is the material used!

On the Red Carpets, Cannes, or Fashion Shows, we have seen celebrities wearing the most uncomfortable shoes to make it a style statement. But the truth is even they prefer comfort over fashion during their regular days.

And, those discomforting heels are only a sham for some glam!

There are five type of materials used in shoe production: textile, rubber, synthetic, leather, and foam.

Whether you are a wholesaler or manufacturer, read on to find out how to select the right footwear material for different shoes:

Why Does Shoe Material Matters?

Our foot is a complex structure made of 26 bones, 33 joints, over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. On top of that, there is an intricate mesh of blood vessels and nerves. And, as for the area of sole of feet, it’s about 46 square inches to bear the average body of up to 120kg while standing.

And, comforting this fragile and complex structure of our body is equally important. Especially, for the diabetics, shoe material is crucial to their health because even a single blister can cost them their life.

Thus, creating the most perfect shoe design wouldn’t matter until it is comfortable and wearable for longer duration.

Selecting the Right Footwear Material:

Footwear materials can be described as natural or synthetic materials that are suitable for shoe manufacturing or repair and have adequate wear properties.

Below are types of shoe materials used in shoe manufacturing process:

  1. Leather:

Leather shoes manufacturer

Among different types of leathers, cow leather is the most comfortable, durable, and stretchable material in shoe manufacturing process. China shoe manufacturers prefer using cow leather to make highly functional as well as fashionable shoes.

A high-quality leather shoe is breathable, flexible, and conforms to the wearer shoe shape. In fact, leather shoes are highly regarded among men around the world.

But, there are certain downsides to it:

  • Leather is heavy and hot; and is susceptible to damage due to excessive moisture or heat. To make it water-resistant and water-proof, there are additional costs. But, if you wish to start a leather shoe business, nothing could be more important than durability. Check out China shoe manufacturersto inquire about their leather shoe quality and additional benefits they have to offer.
  • Leather is expensive compared to other materials of wholesale shoe manufacturing.
  • Leather hides are in different sizes and colors with scars and imperfections, which each brand avoids while cutting.
  • However, during the imports, leather shoes have low duty rates.

The China industry reports show that annual leather production is about 7.7 billion square feet out of which the annual footwear output is around 14 billion pairs accounting for more than 70% of global output.


  1. Textile:

Texile shoes manufacturer

Footwear textiles include wool, cotton, polyester, rayon, nylon, polypropylene, lycra, etc. Each material has special physical properties and a unique look to add to customer footwear.

Textiles are a prestigious footwear material in wholesale shoe manufacturing industry because of infinite choices of patterns, dyes, weaves, textures, and other exclusive features. Textiles are used inside and out of the footwear.

Comparatively, man-made polymer fibers such as polyester and nylon are very lightweight and durable. Whereas, Lycra is a stretchable cotton canvas material that is a must-have for vulcanized construction.

The only drawback to textile shoes is heavy duty rates compared to leather shoes.

  1. Synthetics:

Synthetics shoes manufacturer

Synthetics such as PU leather or simply PU are another highly demanded material in modern footwear. Although previously considered as junk, with a wide range of texture, color, and feature variations, it has eventually become a part of high end shoes.

The synthetics are backed by a composite layer of woven or non-woven polyester fibers, combined via dry lamination process or by wet processes.

The drawback to these show materials is they can crease and the surface isn’t usually totally smooth. And, the plus point is that it is cheaper PU leather replacement.

While, high-end leather has a water-resistant PU backing made of microfiber. It has a comparatively smoother surface, easy to cut neatly for shoe making, and is dyed perfectly. The PU plastic film is separately made and the two layers are joined by applying heat and pressure. Lastly, PU outter skin is embossed, printed, or polished to create an exquisite surface for a matchless finish.

You must check Sandal manufacturer for these individualistic men’s leather slides, camouflaged casual men’s leather sandals, and a variety of women sandals to start your wholesale business now.

For more variety in men’s shoes such as sneakers, animal skin dress shoes, men’s leather shoes, you can check another China’s leading manufacturer: China shoe manufacturers.

Synthetic leather can be molded into four other kinds of surface materials that are cost-effective and are highly demanded around the world:

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • PU (PolyUrethane)
  • TPU (ThermoPlastic Urethane)
  • PU fibers

Of these four qualities, PVC is the cheapest while PU is a high-quality synthetic material. In general, PVC and PU are similar looking with a skin at its backing. While TPU is a single layer material with fine embossed designs. PU is a more solid, skinless material that can look like suede shoe’s brushed surface.

PVC Leather:

PVC leather usually has a woven backing with minimal flexibility. For manufacturing of PVC leather, liquid PVC is carefully poured into a textured release paper and it is rolled on with a cloth while it’s wet. These are inexpensive and are usually used for dress shoes or school shoes with a less shiny surface.

PU Leather:

PU leather shoes manufacturer

PU leather has a smooth surface finish and is available in a variety of colors. This material is made of sealed skin such as full grain surface leather that is capable of being brushed to give a suede finish. Heated rollers are used for embossing patterns and laminating the skin of PU leather. This PU skin is durable and stretchable with a timeworn backing material. For this reason, it is also used in toe caps of men’s casual and sports shoes. PU leather and rubber materials have replaced the traditional natural soling materials of rubber and leather. They are comfortable and provide adequate cushioning the wearer.

TPU Leather:

TPU leather is a hybrid mix of hard plastic and soft silicone that is used in men’s and women’s footwear. This TPU leather features oil resistance, elasticity, durability, and transparency. In fact, China is among the leading manufacturer of high quality TPU leather. Moreover, TPU materials are mostly used in structural aspects of a shoe for seamless welding.

PU Fiber:

Talking of PU fiber backing materials, it has a brushed surface that makes it renowned as ‘ultra-suede’. The premium quality micro fiber suede fabrics are a little expensive but they are amazing materials for shoes, lining, gloves, etc. In fact, PU fiber is water resistant, which has led to its popularity compared to original suede shoes that are not water-resistant.

During the earlier times, rubber materials such as TPU, EVA, POE, etc. were used as cushioning materials. And, when it comes to leather synthetics, they discharge heat very well and offer a comfortable balance for the foot. PU leather and EVA are particularly popular in women’s footwear because these materials can conform to your foot shape and absorb all the pressure.



Rubber shoes manufacturer 

Rubber is commonly used for making shoe soles, especially used in tennis shoes and running shoes. Mostly shoe rubber is made of polyester, an eco-friendly natural rubber.

Statistical reports show that an estimated increase of 1.9% is to be seen in footwear industry, where the largest production segment of the industry are rubber shoes.


There are several types of foams used in the manufacturing of shoe uppers. There are two types of foams which are known as open cell and closed cell. The open cell foam is the plastic compound that is made up of open foam cells. It offer optimum breathability and water can seep through it easily. While close cell foam is sealed that doesn’t allow air or moisture to pass through.

Which Shoe Material is the Best?

Different shoe materials are used for different kinds of footwear. There should be a collaboration of shoe designer, shoe manufacturer, shoe developer etc. to determine the ideal material of your footwear.

Who are the Ideal Shoe Suppliers?

Most retailers and wholesalers look up to,, and other Chinese platform to find the right manufacturer or supplier. However, most of these manufacturers aren’t the real factory owners but suppliers only. Therefore, it’s preferable to look for manufacturers directly on Google and contact them via websites or social media links to ensure reliability and have a better insight into the factory.

Who are Sandal Manufacturers?

We at sandal manufacturers endeavour to bring the opportunity to new retailers, shoe designers, shoe developers, and shoe wholesalers a variety of shoes: plastic sandals, rubber sandals, plastic sandals, and leather sandals for men, women, and children.

In collaboration with China Shoe Manufacturing, we can manufacture a number of shoes:

  • Dress shoe manufacturing
  • Sandal manufacturing
  • Casual shoe manufacturing
  • Sandal manufacturing
  • Slipper manufacturing

And most of all, we are custom shoe manufacturers. Bring us your designs and we will take care of the shoe manufacturing process.


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