Anyone who's against animal cruelty probably prefers not to wear leather, due to the suffering involved in its creation. Leather loathers are likely interested to know if fake leather causes more blisters, in case they need to prepare themselves for a slightly less comfy life. Personally speaking, it's a small price to pay in exchange for not wearing something that died — that poor creature had to pay a much higher price than a few blisters. Besides, there are tons of products out there that help to prevent blisters in super easy and affordable ways, so even if fake leather does cause more blisters than authentic leather, it might not make that much difference once you've got your blister pads in place.
Of course, the beauty of life is that we are all blessed with free will. So if you're dead set on wearing leather shoes, and you place your own comfort above animal cruelty, you might want to get the lowdown on the fake leather versus real leather debate, particularly when it comes to blisters. I spoke with Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist at NYC's SKINNEY Medspa, about whether fake leather causes more blisters, with a focus on footwear.
I asked Dr. King the million dollar question: Does fake leather cause more blisters? Dr. King tells me over email, "This will depend entirely on the construction and fit of the shoe but it is true that most synthetic leathers won't soften and 'break in' as well as real leather," she elaborates, "so there is the potential for more stiffness and friction and therefore more blisters."
Although this was not quite music to my vegan ears, at least it's not a black and white scenario. Sure, at the time of writing, many faux leathers won't break in as well as the real deal, but there's still hope for animal lovers. If you opt for a style of shoe made of synthetic leather that's less constructed and less stiff than say, a rigid brogue or a narrow, pointed-toe ankle boot, you've got more chance of it being comfier.
In addition to this, technology is always moving forward and I bet someone will create a cruelty-free, non-animal based leather that will rival and triumph over actual leather — eco-friendly mushroom leather looks like a pretty neat and promising option. Until then, if you're purchasing a formal, fake leather shoe, it's probably a good idea to buy some blister pads while you're at it, because prevention is better than cure!