Faux Leather Shoes vs Real Leather Shoes – What’s the Difference?

pleather shoes

One of the most popular shoe materials is synthetic leather. But what is the difference between faux leather shoes and real leather shoes?

The most significant difference between faux leather shoes and real leather is that the latter is made from animals. In contrast, faux leather is made from synthetic materials. PU leather can be seen worldwide, used by some of the world’s biggest shoe brands.

Yet when it comes to formal shoes, genuine leather is still extremely popular. But is it worth the extra money? We’ve compared the differences between real and fake leather shoes to help you decide.

If you’re looking for a quality pair of faux leather shoes, head over to our shop.

Types of Faux Leather Shoes

Faux leather can be used for all types of footwear from men, ladies, and kids. These can include heels, flats, flip flops, and boots. You can also find plenty of faux leather sneakers.

faux leather shoes

How to Tell the Difference Between Faux Leather Shoes and Real Leather

With these tips, you’ll be able to tell the difference between faux leather and real leather shoes. Then you can figure out if real leather is worthwhile, or if you’d prefer to buy pleather shoes.


Faux leather shoes are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or PU leather (polyurethane). To make them look like leather, sheets of the material are heat-stamped with an artificial leather grain.

Faux leather is also known as faux leather, pleather, synthetic leather, or artificial leather.

This material is used on furniture, clothing, and of course, shoes. Our very own Mazerata shoes are made from PU leather.

On the other hand, leather shoes are made from animal skins and hides. The most common animals used for leather are sheep, goats, equine animals, cattle, buffalo, pigs, and some aquatic animals. Animal activists have expressed their dissatisfaction with using animals for clothing.

What About Vegan Leather?

Faux leather is also considered to be vegan leather. It doesn’t harm any animals, making it a good fit for their lifestyle. Vegan leather mimics genuine leather but doesn’t cost any animals their lives.

But vegan leather can also be made from plants and other natural resources like recycled plastic, cork, apple peels, and pineapple leaves.

Shoe Care

Leather takes a lot of work. Especially if you want it to last long and stay in tip-top condition. For more information on leather care, you can read this post.

Taking care of PU leather shoes is simple. You can simply clean them with a cloth and water. They don’t require any polish, shoe trees, or special treatments.


Leather is taken from animals, so it’s expensive. It takes time for the cow to grow to the right size to create a large leather panel. The animals need to be taken care of. So when you pay for leather, you’re paying to cover all of these expenses.

You can get different kinds of real leather. Full-grain leather is more expensive than lower-quality leather-like bonded leather or natural leather.

But there’s no questioning that the leather material is nice to look at. This is why it’s so sought after. A pair of quality leather shoes is a true statement.

The cost of leather and the desire for non-animal clothing and shoe products has led to a greater demand for synthetic leather shoes.

Fake leather shoes are not only more affordable but no animals are harmed in the making of them.


The length of time your shoes last will depend on how you take care of them. But of course, the material matters as well. PU leather doesn’t last as long as normal leather. But it should last you around five years or more.

On the other hand, the longevity of genuine leather depends on the type of leather. Low-quality leather should last between 3 and 5 years of regular use. But higher-quality leather shoes can last up to 10 years.


Authentic leather shoes smell different. They’re also heavier. Genuine leather shoes also feel rougher than faux leather shoes. With real leather shoes, you’ll also find they will shape themselves to your feet over time.

Overall, there isn’t much difference in the feel between leather shoes and PU leather shoes.


Since faux leather shoes are made to look identical to leather. You won’t really be able to tell the difference between the two, unless you are an expert. The best way to tell is that leather shoes will appear wrinkle and coarse, with grainy imperfections.

Leather shoes also wrinkle under pressure. Faux leather shoes simply repress and retain their shape. Real leather shoes are also absorbent. This factors largely into leather shoe care.

faux leather shoes

Final Thoughts on Synthetic Leather Shoes

Investing in a pair of leather shoes has its benefits. But you can get a similar experience at a lower price point with faux leather shoes.

PU leather shoes are a great, animal-friendly way to look great, feel good and not break the bank. Plus, the benefits of real leather shoes will only really be noticeable after a couple of years.

Do you prefer real leather or faux leather shoes? Let us know in the comments below.

And if you’re in the market for a pair of faux leather mens formal shoes, head over to the Mazerata shop.

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