Testing Leather Footwear Quality: the Manufacturer’s Guide

Leather, being a breathable, durable and stylish material, is often used to make some of the best shoes. What sets leather shoes apart from synthetic footwear is that over time they will soften up and become more comfortable to wear.

This process takes time, which means that your leather shoes must be built to last. The only way to ensure the quality of your footwear’s construction is to put them through physical testing.

The following is a checklist of the essential quality checks that you should conduct on your leather shoes.

Bond Testing

Leather shoes are made from many different components which are stitched and glued together. Because a number of different processes is used in the making, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent quality of the bond between the various parts.

Foreign Metal Objects

Leather shoes are often stitched together, which means that needles, scissors, tools or tacks may be accidentally left behind in a shoe during the manufacturing process. Foreign metal objects in footwear can cause serious injury to the consumers, so your buyer is liable to reject the entire batch if they discover even one such metal object. Before shipping your footwear, you must carry out tests that ensure there are no such metal objects in them.

Size And Fitting

Your buyer or customer expects to get leather shoes with the dimensions that match their labeled size. The shoes must be tested to ensure that all their dimensions are accurate, and that the right and left halves of each pair are identically sized.

Mold Contamination

Leather is a natural material and is therefore subject to mold contamination, which can occur during the shipping of the leather to your factory, or due to improper storage of the leather, components, or finished shoes. You must test the leather and the finished shoes to ensure that your shoes arrive to your client free from mold contamination.

Zip and Fastener Testing

Any fasteners used in your shoes, such as zippers, laces or buckles, must be tested to ensure that they work correctly and continue to work throughout the expected lifetime of the shoe. Only by opening and closing a fastener thousands of times can its quality and durability be ascertained.

Accessory Pull Testing

Many shoes have decorative components attached to the outside of the shoe. Unless they are attached strongly, they are liable to come loose and ruin the shoe’s appearance. All accessories must be subjected to pull testing to ensure that they are properly attached.

Color Fastness - Rub Testing

The dye used on the leather you receive can be of variable quality, so you need to make sure that your footwear isn’t going to stain the wearer’s skin or clothes. The standard test used to check the color fastness of leather shoes is a rub test, where dry and wet cloths are rubbed against the shoe to check the dye’s permanence.

Chemical Testing

Other than physical testing, chemical testing is also important to ensure the safety and health of your footwear. Specifically for restricted and hazardous substances, you can test for chrome VI, formaldehyde, banned azo dyes, DMF, PCPs etc. These are common restricted substances tests for leather.

QIMA - The Complete Solution

QIMA provides a one-stop solution for inspection, performance checks, as well as physical and chemical laboratory testing of your shoes. We are able to test your shoes at every point of the production process from raw materials and initial samples to pre-shipping packaging.

We employ teams of expert inspectors ready to arrive at your factory within 48 hours of your order and secure in-house laboratories along with certified partners in 85 countries around the world - all to provide you with industry-leading, accredited quality control, quality assurance, and testing services. You can count on us for extremely fast turnaround times and favorable, transparent pricing.

If you want to secure the quality of your leather footwear, we can get you the results you need, when you need them. Get in contact with our testing experts here or create your account here to get started with QIMA.