Rubber or Leather? How to Choose the Best Beach Sandals

While browsing new beach sandals, it can be overwhelming to face the sheer amount of variety available. Modern shoes are made from plastics, leather, rubber, canvas, foam, wood, and almost any other durable material that you can imagine. Still, most shoppers come down to two primary options when searching for the most comfortable, long-lasting choice: Leather or rubber.

Each of these resilient materials has advantages and disadvantages, and being familiar with those features can help buyers invest in the ideal beach sandal for them. Keep reading to find out more!

The Best Beach Sandals: Leather or Rubber?

Finding quality beach footwear doesn’t have to be a struggle. This comparison between rubber and leather sandals can help guide you toward an informed and beneficial decision and a groovy new pair of beach sandals.

Leather

Leather beach sandals tend to be very stylish and exceptionally comfortable. However, moisture and leather don’t blend well together, and leather sandals may begin to degrade after several hours in the salt and moisture-filled air and sand.

However, leather sandals aren’t doomed to death via the beach. Owners can apply leather wax to their shoes beforehand to help protect their sandals from moisture damage. With proper care and maintenance, leather can outlive almost any other material of shoewear.

Qualities

Real leather has some unique attributes that synthetic fabrics and materials stills struggle to replicate. These qualities include:

  • A semi-porous, breathable membrane that reduces sweating
  • Ruggedness that can last for decades
  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Not made with harmful chemicals
  • Flexible enough to take on the shape of objects, such as feet
  • Comfortable when placed against the skin
  • Often used for stylish clothing products and apparel 

Leather sandals can last a lifetime if properly maintained, and over that lifetime, they’ll mold themselves to your feet for added comfort. Leather protects, breathes, and is relatively easy to keep clean. However, many people choose to invest in a pair of leather sandals because leather footwear is often exceptionally stylish.

Price

All-natural leather is pricier than almost any other shoe material. That’s because most shoe leather is harvested from ailing dairy cows, so there’s a limited amount of leather that’s produced every year. The average square foot of cow leather costs about $6, though lambskin leathers and buffalo leathers are far costlier.

Synthetic or ‘faux’ leathers are inexpensive solutions, and they often look nearly identical to real leathers. However, they don’t act like genuine leathers. Faux leather may begin to come apart rather quickly, especially after extended use or exposure to excess moisture.

Rubber

Rubber beach sandals can do everything that leather can’t—get wet! Rubber is naturally waterproof, making it an obvious choice when choosing shoes for beach fun. Also, most rubber shoes are designed to float, so rubber beach sandals won’t sink into the dark, salty waves, never to be seen again.

Because of these qualities, rubber beach sandals are often a popular choice for children. However, anyone can benefit from the attributes of a robust and reliable rubber sandal.

Qualities

Rubber has some qualities in common with leather, but it also has a few additional advantages and drawbacks. For example, rubber is:

  • Flexible yet able to retain its original shape for long periods
  • Naturally bouncy and springy
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Waterproof
  • Resistant to stains
  • Durable enough to last many years of use

It’s important to note that rubber that is left inside of water for extended periods can degrade and begin to chip away. However, users that promptly clean and dry rubber sandals after a day at the beach are bound to enjoy those sandals for several years.

Price

Rubber prices tend to be significantly lower than leather prices. A single pound of rubber typically costs anywhere between $0.50 and $1.00. Most rubber shoes weigh less than a pound, so they’re incredibly inexpensive to manufacture and sell. 

Buyers shopping for the best possible price or deal may want to consider choosing a rubber sandal. While they may not be as fashion-forward as other types of shoewear, they are often the least expensive and the most lightweight.

Which Material Is Better?

This is a challenging question to answer. The truth is, the real answer will vary from person to person. That’s because everyone has unique personal preferences and budgetary limitations to consider.

The most carefree option, and potentially the best option for quality kids sandals, is rubber. Rubber is waterproof, it can float, and it can take a lot of beating before showing signs of wear and tear. Also, it’s incredibly lightweight.

However, the most stylish choice tends to be leather. Leather is classic, elegant, and an all-natural alternative to synthetic materials. Fashion-conscious women can rejoice in the vast selection of glamorous women’s sandals that are available.

Of course, there are many features, benefits, and disadvantages to consider before arriving at a final purchasing decision.

Get the Best Pair of Beach Sandals Today

Both leather and rubber are excellent choices when choosing a new pair of beach sandals. They are durable enough to withstand hours walking along the shoreline and easy enough to clean to make traveling home a sand-free journey.

However, leather will require more care and maintenance before, during, and after a trip to the beach. So, if a low-care option is a more valuable feature, rubber sandals may be the better choice.

If you have lingering questions about what type of sandals at the beach are best, feel free to contact us today!