General Question

Aster's avatar

Do all genuine leather shoes say "leather" on them ?

Asked by Aster (20021points) December 18th, 2010

I bought a pair of Reebok all white leather-look shoes, on Ebay. Under the tongue, on the box and elsewhere you can’t find the word, “leather” or “manmade.” They smell like vinyl but look like leather. It doesn’t say the composition under the tongue and they’re not very soft.
What are they made of? Has Reebok gone to vinyl shoes?

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6 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

Very few leather shoes out there today. if they exist, they are very expensive.

I will bet a dozen doughnuts that your shoes were made in China. check under the tongue to find the answer.

Wife bought a pair of ladies sandals, while in Italy. they were handmade and made of real leather. there were no markings on the sandals to state real leather or handmade. but, leather only has one smell and her shoes had it. has lasted her for ten years.

Aster's avatar

Very few leather out there now?? I had NO idea!!! Yes; it does say China. China has no leather? lol Yes; I bet they’re vinyl and I’m just sick about it. They’d tell you vinyl lasts longer. grrrrrr…now I’ll just buy old shoes ! Really !

Seelix's avatar

From what I can tell, Reebok does still produce leather shoes, but I’m assuming that the ones that you have are not leather. The Reebok website is currently unavailable, but a quick search of “reebok leather” leads me to believe that you can still get them.

woodcutter's avatar

i think just the word“leather” is a term for quality these days. Walmart will have shoes that will have “genuine leather uppers” on them somewhere to try to take attention away from the fact that the rest of the shoe is crap. Or places known for having quality goods will have it there just to let people know they still are quality, almost as if they already know we the consumer are watching for them to sell out to cheaper construction methods.

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NewsView's avatar

From what I can tell you are the first to point out that Reebok isn’t exactly being transparent about how they’re building their shoes these days. In answer to your question, legally Reebok has an obligation under Federal Trade Commission regulation to disclose the composition of any shoe that might be mistaken for leather but is not. From what I gather, the company doesn’t rely on printing or stitching the nature of the materials into the shoe itself. They use a removable sticker on certain styles that will say “man-made” but those stickers are not consistent either because some of them only have a bar code and that’s it. If you buy in a store or secondhand, that sticker could have also gone missing. On the other hand, I have been in stores recently and found many men’s and women’s classic “leather” Reebok shoes that did not have the materials indicated at all.

I have photos of a shoe on a display with a prominent hang-tag that says “leather upper”. That same shoe has a not-so-obvious sticker inside that says “man-made upper”. Reebok has a website where you can verify how the shoe is supposedly made as a result of the description they provide for their own sales site, but in my experience even Reebok’s own product information may be out of date or inaccurate. As of this date, for instance, the Reebok website describes the classic women’s Princess athletic shoe as leather when what is on store shelves is often a mix of vinyl that is made to look like leather (but isn’t) and genuine leather (that you can smell or feel and see the difference). With the composition all over the map, it makes for a lot of confusion if you’re shopping online, in particular.

There are FTC guidelines regarding the disclosure of materials on items that are made to appear as leather but are not. There are also truth-in-advertising laws to indicate that retailers/merchants can’t describe or market an item in a way that significantly differs from what the consumer will actually receive. When a shoe is described and advertised as “leather” but turns out to be vinyl it is somewhat like a bait-and-switch (which is also illegal).

If you shop locally and look closely you might find a leather shoe or you might not. Any Reebok shoe that doesn’t bother to say on the permanent, stitched-in tag is leaving that information off for a reason. I suspect that reason is because any factory on any given day could be using genuine leather, vinyl or a combination of the two. That would certainly reflect what I found on store shelves at a variety of locations I checked. The problem, of course, is that retailers that are perpetuating the misinformation about the shoes being made of “leather” are essentially engaging in false advertising because not all of the Reebok classic shoes, even within same style and price, will use the same materials. Confusing, I know. One can only hope that within a few months or years consumers will become sufficiently informed and persistent to compel Reebok to stick to the traditional materials for their much-beloved “classic” designs.

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