A broad spectrum of materials and material combinations are used today in shoe manufacturing. Leathers, synthetics, rubber and textile materials are counted among the basic upper materials. Each material has its own specific character and they differ not only in their appearance but also in their physical properties, their service life and treatment needs. The choice of shoe material significantly influences the life of the footwear, and in many cases dictates its use
PVC, PU, rubber, leatherette and polymeric materials all have a similar look as leather but the characteristics of breathing, absorption, and flexibility do not measure up to the qualities of natural leather.
New upper materials in PVC and PU combined with comfortable linings do offer a few advantages however: namely affordable low prices; and a multitude of colour choices, shapes and designs- especially in young fashion.
Polymeric synthetic leathers are synthetic hides, which mimic natural hides in both appearance and physical characteristics. When compared to natural leather, synthetic hides are much easier to care for.
Rubber based uppers are used for special safety work boots. Textiles both natural or synthetic combined with rubber materials are used extensively in safety and casual footwear.
Waterproof membrane is a special material which provides water resistance and breathability to footwear (for example Gore-Tex); It is a major element in hiking and sport footwear.
Rubber has very good anti skid property and resistance to wear. Widely used for safety and sport footwear.
Synthetic Flexible, easy to care for; average resistance to wear; average thermo insulation qualities; slips in difficult terrain; not overly flexible.
(sumber : bata.com)