Upper Materials (stretchy synthetic, stitching/seams, leather upper)

The upper of a shoe is all of the material (and fastening devices) that holds your foot onto the midsole. There are various upper types with varying features that compliment many feet. Learn more about these materials below!

  • Leather is a commonly used upper material that provides many features. Leather offers a mild amount of breathability and molds to the foot after some wear. Leather is an easy material to stretch if ever footwear is a little tight or a specific area (bunions, hammer toes, etc.) need a little more room.


  • Synthetic mesh uppers are very breathable, excellent for moisture wicking and are typically lighter weight than leather or other non-mesh uppers. Some synthetic uppers have built in elastic fibres over key areas that require a little more "give" without sacrificing the structure or support of the shoe.

One key factor to look out for when trying on new shoes is to see where the seams are coming into contact with your foot. Although rare, this may be an area that causes irritation, especially if the seam crosses an area of higher pressure, such as a bunion or bony prominence. Thankfully, an increasing amount of footwear are being developed with engineered mesh uppers or seamless uppers which have improved fit and a much smaller chance of causing irritation.

For any other upper questions, or anything related to footwear, reach out to one of our pedorthists or shoe fitters. We will get you back in motion and walking comfortably!