Chelsea boots: Leather vs Suede Material

Deborah K. Vick

Chelsea boots are one of the most versatile boots for fall and winter. Not only do they provide a good aesthetic to your overall look, but they are also comfortable and provide safety features in order to keep your feet protected. 

And as far as the material is concerned, Chelsea boots are mostly constructed of leather, suede leather or rubber. But the one main question is, which material is best for Chelsea? 

When it comes to choosing the best material for Chelsea boots, leather is far a greater option than suede. Suede is less practical and not as durable as leather. But when it comes to styling Chelsea boots, suede is a better option as it gives that classy and casual look to your whole outfit.

Chelsea Leather boots vs Suede

Leather Chelsea boots

The traditional leather Chelsea boot is streamlined, elegant, and ideal for formal or semi-formal outfits and settings. 

If you intend to wear Chelsea boots in the winter, opt for a pair made of leather rather than suede, which holds up less well in wet conditions and requires more maintenance.

Suede Chelsea boots

Suede Chelsea boots are a more laid-back option to leather boots, making them great for weekends and casual occasions. Chelsea boots made of suede look great with casual or smart-casual clothing. 

Just keep in mind to use a suede protector on your boots before wearing them for the first time to keep them looking great.

Although suede is a luxurious material, it is also more delicate than leather, so suede Chelsea boots must be protected from stains. In general, it is preferable to wear a pair of leather Chelsea boots when the weather is bad.

Why is leather preferred over suede? 

There are various reasons why leather boots are preferred over suede. Let us check them out. 

1.) Leather Chelsea boots provide good durability- The fact that leather boots are incredibly durable is the main reason I advise people to choose them over suede boots. A solid, sturdy pair of Chelsea leather boots are among the most durable items of footwear there is. 

Because suede is much softer than leather, it is not as strong. It has to do with the fact that you cannot wear suede chelsea boots when it is raining or for any rough and tough work. 

Chelsea leather boots will last up to 15 years if proper care is taken, and even suede Chelsea boots will last for good long years but not as long as the leather ones. They will last for around 3-5 years. 

2.) You can use your leather Chelsea boots all year round- In a wide range of weather conditions, leather shoes can be worn. They are appropriate for wearing in the snow, in the fall, and even in the spring. 

Your boots will be protected from the elements with just a little basic leather maintenance. This is because leather is tough by nature.

When it comes to convenience, suede boots are for style and fashion rather than for work purposes. When you purchase a pair of suede boots, you do so for aesthetic reasons rather than because they are durable enough to hold up in a variety of situations.

3.) Leather Chelsea boots are waterproof- As mentioned in the above point, leather is a weatherproof material that can be used all year round.

Chelsea leather boots can be waterproof or water-resistant depending on the type of model you are going for. This means they can go a long way in keeping your feet dry and protected from rain and water. 

When suede gets wet, it stiffens up considerably despite being a very soft material. In some cases, this can jeopardize the strength your Chelsea boots. 

4.) Leather Chelsea boots do not require constant care and maintenance- Leather is a very durable and strong substance. It does not need a lot of upkeep. 

They can be worn in the snow and the rain, and cleaning a pair of leather boots doesn’t take more than ten minutes. 

The main drawback of suede boots is how much maintenance they demand. Your boots can become dirty in a variety of ways, and suede requires special cleaning supplies. 

Not to mention how poorly suede responds to water, making it nearly impossible to wear suede boots in the rain.

See also: Chelsea Vs Chukka Boots: Which One is Right for You?

Advantages suede has over leather

1.) Lightweight- Chelsea boots made of suede end up being very light because it is a much thinner material than leather chelsea boots.

This facilitates movement so that you can be on your feet the entire day without feeling the pressure or pain of dragging something heavy on your feet. 

The process used to make suede accounts for its lightweight. Sanding down an animal’s skin produces suede. This sanding reduces the material’s weight and makes it lighter.

2.) Not very expensive- Chelsea boots made of suede are typically a bit less expensive than boots made of leather. Suede boots are simpler and less expensive to produce because of their thinner bodies. In turn, this lowers overall expenses. 

3.) They are stylish and add an edge to your look- Chelsea boots made of suede may be a better material to choose if you want something a little more stylish and formal. 

4.) Breathable- The reason why suede is not resistant to water and stains is because of the fact that it is porous in nature.

This is the reason why even after a long day, your feet do not feel sweaty and tired wearing suede Chelsea boots. Therefore, wearing suede chelsea boots feel soft and pliable as they are extremely comfortable.

Here is a comparison chart for your reference:

Parameters Leather Chelsea Boots Suede Chelsea Boots
Durability 10 6
Comfort 7 9
Breathability  5 9
Lightweight No Yes
Waterproof Yes No
Stain resistant Yes No
Applications Work purpose More for style than utility.
Cost Expensive  Reasonable

Care and maintenance of your Chelsea boots

Whether they are made of leather or suede, a high-quality pair of Chelsea boots will require maintenance to keep them looking their best. 

And there are a few things you can do to withstand their durability because of that- 

1.) Put your Chelsea boots on with caution. 

To avoid overstretching the elastic sides of your boots, always put them on using the pull tugs or a shoehorn. 

2.) Condition your Chelsea boots often.

Your boots should be conditioned and moisturized very often to avoid cracking. Leather is more prone to cracking as it dries out.

Use leather cream or conditioner at least a few times a year to keep the leather supple and shiny and to prevent cracking.

Check out this leather conditioner from Obenauf’s that keeps your leather Chelsea boots moisturized and repels water to keep the boots safe and your feet dry

For Chelsea boots made of suede leather, use a suede brush to gently clean the surface of the boots, and finish with a suede-specific Protector Spray.

All kinds of leather and suede boots can be given a water-repellent finish and resistance to oil and stains by using waterproof protector sprays. 

Check out this Nikwax Nubuck and Suede Waterproofing Spray- 

Recommended Leather Chelsea boots for you

1.) Dr. Martens, Slip Resistant Chelsea Service Boots

These boots feature an iconic air-cushioned sole that has been redesigned with improved grip for superior slip resistance.

It also provides enhanced comfort through strategically placed memory foam pods and breathable, moisture-wicking sock liners. 

2.) Blundstone Dress Series Chelsea Boot

No matter what you do, these boots will keep your feet warm, dry, and protected. They are comfortable enough to wear all day and will not stress out your feet. 

Recommended Suede Leather Chelsea boots for you

1.) New Republic Sonoma Chelsea Boot 

These super comfortable chelsea boots are perfect for being on your feet all day as they provide no stress to your feet. They’re breathable, which means your feet won’t be sweaty or smelly after a long day. 

2.) Steve Madden Highline Chelsea Boots

Highline is a stylish pull-on chelsea boot with a suede upper and a desert shoe-inspired crepe sole that provides comfort and limitless versatility. If properly cared for, they have a number of amazing features like high quality, comfort, and durability.


Chelsea boots are one of the most versatile and stylish boot options. They give you a sense of style while also being extremely useful. Therefore, the materials used in the construction of Chelsea boots is extremely crucial as it determines its usefulness and applications. 

We all know suede is a delicate yet stylish material, whereas leather is sturdy and durable. So you need to know where you would be employing your Chelsea boots in order to make a smart purchase between Suede and leather.

And we have provided enough information in this article for you to make that smart move. Happy reading! 

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