Cork Vs Leather

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This is a pretty interesting topic to start the week with. There are several differences between Cork and Leather insoles.

They both have great properties and one can be substituted for the other. The idea of insoles in your shoes is to grant comfort to your feet.

While all Insoles list many features and perks, every one of them has to play a part in how comfortable your shoes feel on your feet.

Cork and Leather Insoles are also made for comfort. However, the major difference between the two is how long they last.

Leather Insoles are more durable than Cork insoles. While this is true in virtually every case, this doesn’t exactly make Leather Insoles better than Cork insoles.

There are a lot of differences between the two that will mold your opinion on the topic.

Why The Comparison

Virtually every shoe brand makes insoles for every shoe it produces. Some even make replacement insoles that are put up for sale, in case the inbuilt insoles wear out.

Some Insoles are not as comfortable as some. While some Insoles are meant to be comfortable, the comfort either doesn’t last long or results in painful postural defects.

In cases where people need to change their Insoles, these are the types that are mostly considered.

You are probably in a similar situation and you are wondering which is better for you. With an in-depth comparison of the two kinds of insoles, we can tell a difference in;

  • Prices
  • Durability
  • Comfort level
  • Support
  • Shock absorbance
  • Breathability

These are the major features that apply to both insoles. As stated earlier, the two insoles have marvelous characteristics that can satisfy you. However, one of the Insoles defeats the other in major characteristics.

If you are the type who would go for just anything, you can just go ahead and make a choice already. But if you are a person who likes to go for the best of things, then this comparison is for you. 

What Are Cork Insoles?

Cork Vs Leather

Cork is a natural material gotten from Cork Oak trees. The material is used in the production of many items including insoles. Cork insoles are very comfortable and can be found in running shoes.

Running shoes tend to be extremely light and comfortable. Though running shoes don’t work for every situation, they are usually the most comfortable shoes you can get. The superb features of Cork Insoles include;

  • Shock absorption
  • Soft-cushioning
  • Support
  • Antibacterial
  • Form-fitting


The cork material is breathable. This, in turn, makes Cork insoles breathable. Breathability is an important feature in your insoles.

With enough breathability, airflow is allowed so your snug shoes are not heated up. This is even more important in running shoes. Running can cause your feet to heat up. With breathable footwear, the heat on the feet is regulated.

Shock Absorption

This is another excellent feature of Cork insoles and an important feature in running shoes. With shock-absorbing shoes, a runner can prevent common injuries.

This is also a useful feature in work boots. Cork insoles can be used in virtually all kinds of shoes. Without shock absorption in your shoes, you can sustain injuries when you jump on hard surfaces. Cork insoles help to soften the impact of your landing.


Cushioning is one of the most enjoyable features of running shoes. It may be considered unimportant since earlier running shoes had no comfortable features and runners used them.

However, with softly cushioned insoles, a runner is not only comfortable with wearing the shoes but the legs are supported in moving further.

The soft cushion feels like a mini propeller. With Cork insoles, a soft cushion is assured. This feature is not for runners alone. It is one of the most comfortable features you can get in a shoe.


Comfort is essential in many shoes or you won’t want to wear them. While comfort is essential, you might not enjoy the feeling for a long time if there is no support. Support is essential in both running shoes and work boots.

Even in walking shoes, support is needed or you’ll want to take off your shoes after a few hours of wearing them. Cork insoles are supportive so you can wear your shoes for as long as possible.


Cork insoles have antibacterial features which resist horrible smells from growing in your shoes. This feature is supported by its sweat-wicking and breathable features.


This is the part you’ll probably love the most. Cork insoles have the tendency to mold to your feet and fit perfectly. This is similar to the act of breaking in shoes.

The interesting part is the insoles fit you quickly. Like custom-made insoles, they suddenly feel snug and perfect on your feet. This is a result of the soft material.

What Are Leather Insoles?

Cork Vs Leather

Leather is a natural material. It is more common than Cork is. The material is gotten from animal skin and has been used for many products for countless years.

Products that are made with leather include clothes, bags, footwear, etc. Leather is similar to Cork in some ways, though there are some differences too.

In terms of footwear, Leather is mostly used for the outsoles of boots and shoes. Some of its interesting features qualify the Leather material to work perfectly well as shoe insoles. They include;

  • Breathability
  • Durability
  • Cushioning
  • Form-fitting


Leather is very breathable which makes leather insoles breathable too. Leather insoles are one of the most breathable types of insoles and that makes them very comfortable too.

Asides from the airflow, with enough breathability, a foul smell is not permitted to grow in your shoes. In other words, you can avoid smelly shoes if you use leather Insoles.


Leather Insoles can be considered the most durable type of insoles. They don’t only retain their shape for a long while but they are simpler to clean and take care of. While mishandling leather insoles can get them damaged quickly, they can still last longer than many other Insoles. 


Leather Insoles are also highly cushioned. With leather Insoles, you can also have the comfort of slightly-raised soft heels. The rigidity that is often associated with leather can make you doubt the level of cushioning it offers. However, leather Insoles have enough cushioning. Some leather Insoles even have cork added to them for more cushioning.


Just like the Cork Insoles, Leather Insoles have their way of molding to your feet as you wear them in your shoes. They are a lot more ideal for work boots. If you want your shoes to fit perfectly without feeling like they will drop off, a leather insole is perfect.

Head-to-Head Comparison

  • Rigidity
  • Durability
  • Convenience


Cork is a soft material. This makes Cork insoles soft too so if you are looking for rigid insoles, Cork is not the right one for you. Leather, on the other hand, is usually found rigid.

However, Leather Insoles can be less rigid than you expect them to be. If you want insoles that are soft, you can go for Leather insoles. If you also want hard insoles, you can still go for Leather insoles and you will be fine.

Rigid insoles are not right for you unless you have a defect that needs to be corrected. If you will go for soft insoles, you can choose cork or leather.

However, Cork will be the best option. Leather insoles cannot be relied on, in terms of softness, due to the high tendency of hardening if not well-managed.

Bottom Line: In terms of rigidity, Leather Insoles will take the lead. However, this is not an exact win since rigidity can hinder comfort and is only good for correcting defects. Soft leather insoles can be hardened while Cork insoles cannot.


Cork Insoles are durable but not as durable as Leather insoles are. Leather Insoles can retain their shape due to the slight hardness. Cork insoles are very soft and may fall apart after a while of wearing them.

Maintaining Cork and Leather insoles can be equally strict. Both insoles can get destroyed by water. Both materials are sweat-wicking but must be allowed to dry when in a wet condition.

Cork insoles can begin to crack. The same applies to leather insoles and the proclaimed durability of the leather material will be set aside.

If you wear Cork insoles repeatedly, the softness and comfort are retained while the material slowly wears out. This is contrary to what happens when you wear Leather insoles repeatedly without letting the shoes breathe.

Leather insoles will equally begin to crack and fall apart but the material will harden first. When leather insoles harden, there is a high probability that the comfort disappears.

The shoes may become weirdly uncomfortable and restricting to wear.

Bottom Line: In terms of durability, Leather Insoles will take the lead. This is because they last longer if they are properly taken care of. However, leather insoles can also break down incredibly fast if they are not properly maintained.


Softness and Cushioning: Leather is a lot harder than Cork but they can be soft as insoles. Cork insoles are naturally softer than leather Insoles.

This allows Cork Insoles to mold to your feet faster than Leather insoles will. Leather Insoles even have a tiny addition of Cork, just to increase the cushioning and softness.

Cork insoles are naturally soft and cushioned. However, while Cork Insoles are just slightly cushioned, Leather Insoles turn out to have more cushioning and also more bulkiness.

Flexibility: This is similar to softness. Cork insoles are softer and more flexible than Leather insoles are. Cork Insoles can retain their flexibility for as long as they last.

Leather Insoles may not. Leather Insoles tend to harden as you keep using them. Unfortunately, when Leather Insoles get rigid, they may lose a lot or all of their comfort.

Support: This is the next important feature of Insoles after comfort. As mentioned earlier, Cork Insoles are not only comfortable but they provide support for your feet.

The benefits of this support go beyond retaining comfort. It also helps against foot pain. Leather Insoles are cushioned but they provide very low support.

The support even worsens when the soft insoles harden. There are leather Insoles built and modified mainly for support but Cork Insoles work better in providing support.

Bottom Line: In terms of convenience, Cork insoles clearly take the lead. They are not only more convenient in all areas but they can keep their convenience for as long as possible.

Leather insoles provide less support which may cause pain in the feet. In addition to that, Leather insoles can harden and get worse.

Cork vs Leather Insoles: Which is Better?

You can have your opinion on which insole is best for you but it is quite obvious that Cork Insoles are much better than Leather insoles.

Leather Insoles will always win when it comes to durability but that should only matter if you consider the price you pay for replacement Cork Insoles.

Cork Insoles are more comfortable. Leather Insoles are better at cushioning but cushioning is not a very commendable feature for walking shoes.

This is because cushioning raises the heel and puts you in a different posture. It is unsafe to get used to the wrong posture. This makes the slight cushioning in Cork Insoles a better option.

Asides from the cushioning, Cork Insoles offer support while Leather Insoles don’t. In other words, Leather Insoles may be comfortable in the morning but cause slight discomfort in your feet after a few hours.


Leather Insoles Are Best For?

Leather Insoles are usually rigid or semi-rigid. These features are for correcting wrong postures and over-pronation.

In a case where you need to correct over-pronation, Leather Insoles are the best options and you may even find rigid insoles comfortable after a while.

Cork Insoles Are Best For?

Cork Insoles are usually soft but they offer a lot of support. Cork Insoles are best for relieving foot pains, especially ones caused by wearing non-supportive footwear.

Cork insoles can also relieve fasciitis and prevent shin splints for runners.


Once again, both Insoles are great and you will enjoy them when you try them on but one is better. Cork insoles might be better but they don’t exactly do better in all situations.

Leather Insoles are advised in some cases and they even do better than you expect for your Cork shoes. That still doesn’t change the fact that Cork insoles are better insoles. Know your insoles and know what you need before you make a choice.


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