The traditional material used for centuries in the manufacture of footwear has been natural leather. In recent years leather has also been increasingly used in the manufacture of gloves, clothing and upholstery. The success of leather in these applications is due to the good comfort and hygiene properties offered to the wearer. It is also very tough, reasonably flexible, has good durability and is able to breathe or transpire water vapour and air. Despite these good properties, however, it does suffer from a number of disadvantages such as non uniformity and the material cannot be obtained in rolls. Because of these disadvantages and the increasing shortage and cost of leather, polymers have been increasingly used as replacement materials during the last 20 years (1, 2). In the case of soling materials, only 6% of the footwear produced at present in the U. K. has leather soles. The rise in the use of polymeric based upper materials has not been as fast as soling materials but in 1970, 29% of the dress shoes produced in the U. K. had synthetic uppers.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Shoe & Allied Trades Research Ass.Kettering, NorthantsEngland

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