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Upper Material

Leather upper – the hiking boot from the past?

Another question you should ask yourself is “what kind of material do I want for the upper?”

We offer both leather and synthetic and recycled uppers. Synthetic has become extremely popular over the past few years and is now used on most models. These shoes and boots are easy-care, breathable and also durable – but does that mean the traditional leather hiking boot is a thing of the past?

No, not by a long shot! After all, no other material has the outstanding properties of leather. As a natural fiber, leather is extremely comfortable; it’s breathable, adapts to the shape of your feet and is also waterproof if properly cared for. Especially for people with feet that are more “problematic” or prone to pinching or chafing, leather can often offer a much better fit in the long run than synthetic upper materials alone. The same of course applies to the lining of the shoe, here too we offer leather finishes.

We use different types of leather for our footwear:

Genuine leather

Cowhide and pigskin are very stable, durable and tough types of leather which is why they’re the most common types used. Pigskin is more often used as lining material while cowhide is more likely to be used as outer material.

Nubuck leather

Nubuck is leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side. This gives it a soft, velvet-like surface and increases its breathability. Nubuck leather most often comes from fine calfskin and cowhide.


A collective term for leather types with a napped surface. The underside of the leather is buffed and has therefore a somewhat rougher nap.

Hydrophobic leather

During the tanning process the leather is treated with water-repellent substances that bind to the leather fibers and increase the surface tension. This decreases or fully eliminates water absorption and the leather remains dry while retaining its water-vapor permeable qualities.

Terracare®: Certified Leather

By the way, we are very picky when it comes to selecting the right leather… That’s why we only use sustainable Terracare® leather from Heinen Leder, which is produced in Germany. The high level of environmental compatibility has been honored multiple times by the Leather Working Group guaranteeing a natural wearing comfort along with resource-conserving and environmentally friendly manufacturing.

If you would like to learn more about Terracare®, you can find additional information about leather in our Sustainability Report.

Certified organic cotton

For some of our shoes we use proportionally certified organic cotton, which is grown under strict ecological conditions. Cultivation requires less water consumption than conventional cotton and needs no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or genetic engineering. By buying organic cotton, VAUDE is contributing to the sustainable development of small farmers and to the preservation of biodiversity in areas of cultivation.

  • renewable raw resource made from natural materials
  • cultivated without chemical fertilizers, genetic engineering or pesticides
  • protects the environment and reduces water consumption


Recycled PES 

We use a proportion of recycled polyester for this VAUDE product. Your VAUDE product still has the full function. With recycled PES, surplus material from polyester production is not disposed of as waste, but is returned to production. The recycled polyester is first used to make granulate, which can then be spun into yarn and woven into fabric. Because no additional oil production is necessary, we conserve resources and thus the climate.

  • Full functionality of your VAUDE product
  • Recycled polyester saves resources
  • No additional oil production required

Recycled PET

Collect, clean, granulate and spin into high quality polyester yarn – that’s what’s involved in the recycling of PET bottles. In the manufacturing process, we can reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 50% while completely eliminating the use of new fossil fuels. This conserves resources and keeps our ecological footprint small.

  • high-quality polyester yarn made from recycled PET bottles
  • reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 50 percent
  • climate-friendly and resource-efficient production

Recycled Polyamide

Recycled polyamide obtained from used items such as fishing nets or carpets. Rather than disposing of surplus materials or residuals from textile production, we collect, process and reuse them in our production facilities. Valuable resources are put to maximal use so we need as little new raw materials as possible, protecting our climate and saving CO2.

  • resource-efficient production from residual materials
  • maximum utilization of valuable raw resources
  • contributes to CO2 reduction and climate protection


Especially in warm temperatures, the breathability and temperature regulation of the shoe or upper material plays a decisive role. The upper materials (inside and outside) are moisture-regulating, well-placed ventilation areas on the shoe prevent heat accumulation and ensure a better foot climate during activity.

Basically we use two different mesh materials:
– Mesh: breathable, but somewhat denser material
– Airmesh: extremely breathable