Hell-bent for Leather (redux)

Discussion in 'Shoes and Apparel' started by dje31, May 2, 2011.

  1. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Found this thread from 2008, and rather than directly revive it, thought I'd start a new chat about it. Here's the original:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=221052

    I still prefer leather over synthetics, for a number of reasons (none of which are particularly scientific): a) I'm an old fart and prefer leather over synthetics; b) I think they feel better, provided they're broken-in and fit your foot shape; c) they don't make my feet stink like synthetics, to name just three.

    a) When I was a kid, the last of six kids, I was growing too fast for my middle class folks to spend $$$ on shoes. I was involved in a bunch of sports, and was constantly having foot trouble (ingrown toenails from soccer, "stone bruises" on my heels, shin splints, etc.) As an adult, that's the only part of my wardrobe I'll always spend extra on. If your feet are miserable, you're gonna be miserable. I lived with that for too long as a kid.

    b) When broken in, it should feel like a glove, and often does, and lasts. Is it because they're generally making shoes cheaper that, by the time the leather's broken in, the outsoles are worn and the cushioning is toast? Gotta move product and units, you know.

    c) "Leather doesn't breathe" is nonsense. Synthetics make my feet stink; natural fibers (cotton, leather, wool) do not. I've proven this many times over, in different sports, and non-sports situations. You could also ask my wife.

    I imagine that the MFRs make tons more by using synthetics, which are a fraction of the cost of real leather. I also imagine that if a top shelf pro wants their shoe made with kangaroo leather (in a "paint-job" of an off-the-shelf model), they'll durn well get it.

    Sure, they've gotten really good with synthetics, less break-in, flashier looks, and better margins. But I'd pay $200 for a pair of natural leather, high-quality outsole & cushioning, and some expectation of them lasting longer. Not necessarily a wear guarantee, but it might help. But I'm probably also in the minority here.
     
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  2. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    I know there was a Barricade (2?) with real leather (a TW-exclusive? it was years after the 2 was the latest), but I never saw them in the flesh, and imagine it wasn't much. The AdiPure Pro is full-grain, if a bit dull looking.

    Hell, if you added $20 to the cost of the B6, GelR3 or Vapor/Ballistec for real leather, I'd certainly pull the trigger.

    And yes, I realize they can make the synthetics weigh less than the real stuff...but I'd still live with that "penalty."
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
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  3. bcart1991

    bcart1991 Semi-Pro

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    Sweet Lord in Heaven, I HATE HATE HATE that many manufacturers are going to stiff synthetic uppers. These materials are so awful when it comes to fit. They even did it to my beloved Propulses. :(

    Give me a good leather shoe over this synthetic rubber garbage any day. If my soccer shoes can withstand 4-5 seasons, leather tennis shoes can be made to outlast their outsoles. They can still put some extra synthetic bits in high-wear areas.
     
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  4. hcb0804

    hcb0804 Hall of Fame

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    Propulses have never been genuine leather, always synthetic.
     
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  5. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    I was worried I was the only one.

    Without doing any serious research, I'd guess that less than 5% of the shoes offered by all MFRs on TW have ANY real leather in them, let alone full-grain.
     
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  6. scotus

    scotus Legend

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    I have freakishly wide feet.

    Real leather stretches, so I can easily accommodate just about any shoes, using my shoe stretchers and rubbing alcohol.

    Synthetic, however, stretches very little. So this poses a big problem for me.
     
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  7. bcart1991

    bcart1991 Semi-Pro

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    I know. I'm lamenting that they switched from flexible nylon to that awful plastic/rubber like Nike uses. Ugh...
     
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  8. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Speaking of soccer shoes, I had a pair of Adidas leathers a while back. Took a week or two to break-in, but once there, they were golden.

    I'm pretty sure soccer has upper-end models that have natural leather as an option, but it looks like most hi-tech sports shoes have gone synthetic.
     
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  9. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Actually, with the cost of crude skyrocketing, it may be more cost-efficient to go back to leather.
     
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  10. bcart1991

    bcart1991 Semi-Pro

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    Now you all got my mind wondering...

    Could I have the leather uppers from a pair of soccer shoes transposed onto the midsole of a tennis shoe?

    It might not be the easiest/cheapest, but I just might have to try it. There are a couple good shoe shops around here...
     
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  11. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Does either MiAdidas or NikeID (or whatever their custom color/style portals are called) offer leather as an option?
     
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  12. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    dje31, I could have written your opening statement myself. I ditto everything you said there. I HATE all this plastic crap the shoe manufacturers are putting out now. Mesh this, synthetic strapping, man made uppers, etc.. The reason they use plastic mesh is because your feet sweat like they are in plastic bags if they didn't vent it somehow. That stuff looks like it would break so easily if you pushed the sides as you were playing.
    Anyway, back to leather shoes. You are right, very few actually make leather uppers. When I find a pair that fits and feels good I buy three or four pairs. The companies tend to discontinue those pretty fast. I'm using a Nike Air Max something right now. I'm not sure what the name is since I bought four pairs last year.
    We're in the minority but the right side of wanting leather shoes.
    Also this thing about leather being heavier on the shoe. If you can't run around with a couple more ounces of weight on your feet hit the gym some Sally. Geeze.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
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  13. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    So, to any TW staff that may be watching: is there a way to convince one of the big three to offer a full-grain (or mostly) option to one of their shoes? TW-Exclusive!

    Was that what happened with the Barricade 2 (Mid?) that had a smidgeon of leather in it?

    I, and others, apparently are interested, and I know I'd pay a reasonable premium/upcharge for a leather-uppered top shelf shoe.

    Full leather Oscillates would get my vote...or B2 (not necessarily mid-cut), but more than on that previous special edition.
     
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  14. nalvarado

    nalvarado Semi-Pro

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    Nike seems to be phasing out leather as an option, They are opting for kangalite on the tiempo(their "heritage" boot) The last speed boot nike offered in leather was the Vapor IV for the E8 special edition. Adidas however offers leather as an option on their speed bood (adizero)
     
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  15. dje31

    dje31 Semi-Pro

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    Not surprising about Nike. I'm sure the Lottos, Diadoras, and other 2nd/3rd tier MFRs of the shoe world are still on-board with leather, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.
     
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