Types of Shoe Fabric

Leonard Mc Lane/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Shoes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from dainty sandals to rugged work boots to stylish sneakers. With a unique pair available for every occasion, shoes can dress up an outfit or provide the comfort you need to get around. Manufacturers use many types of fabric to make shoes, one of the most prominent being leather. However, there are numerous other shoe fabrics, including canvas, satin and even denim.


Leather is a natural material ideal for shoes because it offers comfort and durability. Coming from the hides and skins of various animals such as cows, crocodiles and snakes, leather is used in various types of shoes for men and women. These include pumps, loafers, boots and brogues. Leather is highly porous and easily absorbs water, making it susceptible to rain and snow. Protect your leather shoes with an all-weather leather protector to get the longest wear out of them.


Canvas is a fabric typically used in making sneakers. Originally derived from hemp, canvas now consists of other durable materials such as cotton and flax. Canvas is an extremely versatile footwear material because it's easy to clean and easy to dye. With such a large selection of colorful canvas shoes available, you may just have difficulty picking one pair.


Nylon is a synthetic fabric often found in running shoes. Developed in the early 1930s, nylon is a light and airy fabric that may be woven to cover the outside of a running shoe. Nylon is ideal for running shoes because it allows the foot the breathe, which is especially important for athletes who are constantly on the move.


Produced from low-twist filament yarns, satin is a sumptuous fabric often favored for wedding gowns and shoes. There are several different types of satin, including duchesse satin, a crisp satin often used in bridal gowns, and slipper satin, a heavier, stiff satin used for shoes. If you're seeking an even more lavish bridal shoe, opt for a silk satin fabric.


Denim is not only for jeans. A tough and versatile cotton fabric, denim has its origins in 18th century Europe, where it was sought after in France, England and Italy. Today, denim is a wardrobe staple and may even be the primary fabric for a fashionable pair of shoes, whether they're sneakers, ballet flats or wedge sandals.