- Jan 2020
What Are High Quality Shoes?
Not all shoes are created equal. Higher quality shoes are made from better materials, with better construction, which will look better and last longer.
The materials used to construct a shoe are critical. The quality of the materials will directly impact comfort, durability, and how the shoe looks. Nothing can compensate for low-quality materials. Samuel Hubbard shoes combine the best craftsmanship with superior materials.
With leather shoes, the leather upper is the most visible part of the shoe, so using high-quality leather is critical to creating a stylish, durable shoe. Higher quality leather uses better cuts of leather with fewer imperfections and less processing. High-quality leather will develop a patina as it ages, especially when it is taken care of properly. Low-quality leather will use lower quality cuts with more imperfections and will require more processing to achieve the desired finish and appearance. Even with frequent maintenance, low quality leather is likely to degrade sooner.
A quality insole will be comfortable and provide support at the same time. High-quality insoles will use multi-density or different density materials to provide support where it’s needed. They will also be removable, so you can clean them, and replaceable because they break down over time.
Lower quality insoles are typically thin and made from one material. They may be glued to the shoe, so they aren’t removable or replaceable.
A high-quality outsole will check four boxes:
It is lightweight
It is shock absorbent
It has good traction
It is durable
A lightweight outsole will make the shoe lighter, which makes it easier to walk in and causes less fatigue. Samuel Hubbard shoes typically use Vibram® or XL EXTRALIGHT® soles which use advanced materials to keep the weight down, while still being durable.
Shock absorption is critical for comfort because it absorbs jarring impacts without passing them on to your joints. Shock absorption and durability are a trade-off with low-quality shoes. Cheap shoes may have great shock absorption, but only because they use a soft material that wears out quickly.
Traction is obviously critical so you don’t slip and fall - a higher quality sole will have a more advanced tread design, which blends comfort and durability by using advanced materials and compounds.
Durability is critical too. Outsoles take a lot of abuse, and with lower quality shoes, the outsoles are often the first part of the shoe to fall apart or wear out. A quality outsole will blend comfort, traction and weight without sacrificing durability.
Shoe construction is important too and directly impacts comfort and durability.
Even the best quality materials won’t matter if they’re not assembled correctly. Low-quality shoes may skimp on stitching, or use low quality glue that’s prone to coming apart.
A higher-quality shoe will use advanced construction to ensure that the shoe holds up over time, and also eliminate any spots that may cause chafing or blisters.
Samuel Hubbard shoes go a step further and use a glove leather lining to ensure all-day comfort. This extra step adds time and complexity to the construction process but ensures that the shoes will be comfortable for years to come.
Quality construction also takes into account the shoe’s life span. A well-constructed shoe can be resoled, to get extra mileage out of the uppers when the sole eventually wears out. Low-quality shoes are typically made so that they can’t be resoled, and lower quality materials make the cost prohibitive - you can usually buy an entirely new pair for the cost of the resoling.
Well-constructed shoes also take sustainability into account, reducing the number of shoes that end up in landfills.
Style & Appearance
There are two ways in which higher quality shoes look better:
Better quality shoes will have more resources put into the research, design, and development. Shoe design is a fine balance between form and function. Better design means a better-looking shoe, without sacrificing comfort by using cheap construction.
Secondly, higher quality materials and better construction mean that the shoes will continue to look good wear after wear. Low-quality leather can break down and crack, and poor construction can lead to loose stitching or glue that comes apart. High-quality shoes won’t have either of these issues, so long as they’re cared for with basic maintenance.
Higher quality materials and construction obviously cost more, which leads to a more expensive shoe. But that cost is offset by greater comfort and longevity. A less expensive pair of shoes may need to be replaced every year, while a higher quality pair can last years before they need replacement.