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leather shoe lining
04 · 11 · 2021

5 Types of Shoe Lining

Written by Tigre Haller What are the things you consider when you look at a pair of shoes? The quality of the leather. The shape. The design. The heel. The sole. The footbed. How they fit. The overall construction. All extremely important components to be sure. But, there is one that you might overlook, and you really shouldn’t.

Some shoes have it, others don’t - or they only have half...

What is it?

The lining.

Unlike the lining on a blazer or jacket, a shoe lining should be attached so closely to the interior that it is virtually unnoticeable. It should be tight without joints or seams. It should be, but you have probably put on shoes and felt the grooves of the lining rubbing against your feet.

The importance of proper shoe linings cannot be overstated, and in this article we will be looking at five types you should be aware of. Knowing what to look for will help you make an informed decision as to the best type of lining for your feet.

Shoe lining can be one of the most overlooked parts of shoe construction, but it’s actually an important part of the shoe’s overall design and function. There are several different types of shoe lining, each with its own purpose and characteristics, some of which are outlined below. Use this guide to help you choose the best shoe lining option for your unique needs.

Ideally, shoe linings should be:

  • a complete covering for the interior of your shoes.

  • securely attached and not separate from the interior of the shoes.

  • durable, abrasion resistant so it doesn’t wear thin.

  • flexible and soft so that they are comfortable and malleable.

  • breathable, moisture wicking, odor controlling and temperature regulating.

  • resistant to cracking and shrinkage.

Types of Shoe Linings

Leather Shoe Lining leather shoe lining

With inherent breathable, odor controlling, moisture wicking and temperature regulating properties, leather is the most natural choice for shoe linings. Especially when it is full-grain calfskin leather, like the Vachetta leather we use to line our shoes, sneakers and boots.

This is particularly important to consider if your feet tend to sweat a lot as you want them to always remain dry and moisture free. Leather linings are also ideal for when you want to wear your shoes without socks.

While it is true that leather linings are usually used for more expensive shoes, you can find economical options. Just be sure that the leather is 100% full-grain and it hasn’t been blended with a synthetic material, or is corrected grain that has been dyed or covered with a veneer. Both of these options can be damaging to your feet, and create a breeding ground for bacteria since there will be little of no breathability.

Fleece Shoe Lining
fleece shoe lining

Fleece mimics the texture of lambs wool and could be considered “faux fur.” This material is typically made by recycling plastic into a fiber. Sometimes natural fibers like hemp, rayon or wool are blended with the fleece to create a different texture, or material with added properties.

Fleece is known for being soft, warm and cozy which makes it perfect for things like sweaters, pullovers, lining jackets and slippers. You can even see it in some sneakers, but given it’s bulkiness and fluffy texture, it really isn’t suited for refined footwear.

Polyester Shoe Lining

polyester shoe lining

Polyester, made from petroleum products, is a common lining found in cheaply made shoes. However, it doesn’t breathe and causes the feet to sweat without absorbing the moisture. Not only is this very uncomfortable, you can bet that your feet are going to start to smell after just a few wears. Polyester linings also tend to break down easily which can lead to a degenerated lining as your feet rub against the sides.

Cotton Shoe Lining

cotton shoe lining

Cotton is a great insulator and is a naturally breathable material, but it also absorbs moisture. With no place to go, the moisture will sit in the lining and if it’s cold outside, chill your feet. This moisture build up can also create a breeding ground for bacteria if not dried out correctly. However, cotton is hypoallergenic so it won’t irritate your skin.

Although cotton might not be the best material for lining dress shoes and sneakers, it is excellent for lining weekender bags and slippers - especially those with an open back which allows for more air circulation than an enclosed slipper.

Cambrelle Shoe Lining

cambrelle shoe lining

Cambrelle is a synthetic material made up of two types of nylon. Known for its softness and abrasion resistance, antifungal and antibacterial properties, this sponge-like membrane has high moisture absorbing properties. It dries quickly and is very breathable which helps to keep the shoes moisture free.

Most likely you won’t see cambrelle in everyday shoes as it is used primarily for footwear used in sports, heavy duty work boots and hiking boots.

Caring for Shoe Lining

Maintaining the lining is extremely important to the overall structure of your shoes, and your foot health.

Try not to wear the same shoes every day and make sure you allow your shoes to dry out properly after every wear. You can do this by inserting cedar shoe trees which will absorb moisture, prevent odors and help keep the structure of your shoes intact.

Further care depends on the material the lining is made from. Leather, for example, can be moisturized with a high-quality shoe cream and conditioner. Applying it every quarter, you can be sure the lining will stay fresh, hydrated and flexible. Be sure the product you use won’t clog the pores.


I hope you found this guide to shoe linings helpful. Keep the information in mind when shopping for shoes, and let me know what types of linings you prefer by sending a message below.







David William Froment May 20, 2022

Thank you for a very educational article. I have been a road warrior shoe salesman for 40+ years and have always tried to educate my customers. At Samuel Hubbard we hang our linings so they float and surround the foot. To each their own!! Your product always looks great!!!

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