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Suede Vs Canvas Shoes: Differences in Material and Performance (2023)

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suede vs canvas differencesCoincidence has it that you’re considering your next pair of skate shoes and can’t decide between suede and canvas. We’ve all been there – paralyzed by indecision when the options seem equally good. But don’t sweat it, we’ll walk you through the key differences so you can pick the material that’s right for your style and skill level.

With the right intel, you’ll be rolling away confident you made the perfect choice for grip, durability, and maintaining that flawless look. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare suede and canvas on the factors most critical for skaters – from weight and water-resistance to longevity and trick performance.

With the inside scoop on what sets these fabrics apart, you’ll effortlessly narrow it down to the ideal pair to keep you riding in comfort and looking fresh.

Key Takeaways

  • Suede is more durable and has higher longevity compared to canvas.
  • Canvas raises ethical concerns and has a lower environmental impact.
  • Suede provides better grip and protection, making it suitable for activities like skating.
  • Canvas is lighter and more breathable, making it better for warm weather conditions.

Suede Vs Canvas: What’s the Difference?

Suede Vs Canvas: What
When choosing shoes, you’d be wise to pick suede over canvas if skateboarding’s your thing. Suede can take a beating that’d shred canvas in two sessions. Suede’s durability comes from being made of sturdier animal hides versus canvas’ weaker cotton fibers.

Skaters need tough shoes that can withstand the abrasion of gripping tape, ollies, and slams.

Canvas compromises durability for light weight appeal, making it unsuitable for hardcore tricks. Suede provides the protection skater feet need while maintaining board feel. Canvas is fine for casual cruising but can’t withstand the hardcore skater lifestyle for long.

Ultimately, if you want shoes that will actually last through sessions at the skatepark, always go with time-tested durable suede over trendy but transient canvas.

Properties of Suede and Canvas

Properties of Suede and Canvas
As a shoe material, suede and canvas have distinct properties to consider. Suede is made from animal hides, while canvas comes from plant-based cotton fibers, making suede more fragile yet generally more durable than lighter canvas.

Though canvas costs less, suede’s superior toughness makes it better suited for demanding activities like skateboarding, despite requiring more care.

Material Composition

Instead of ‘when,’ let’s dive right in. You’ll find that suede comes from animal hides, while canvas originates from cotton fibers. The protein-based suede and cellulose-based canvas have different material compositions.

This impacts their durability, water resistance, cleaning methods, and environmental footprint. Knowing the material types helps determine the right uses, like skateboard tricks.

Fragility and Durability

You’ll find that suede withstands daily wear better than canvas. Being made from animal hide, suede is naturally more durable than canvas’ plant fibers. Over time and use, canvas loses its shape and tears while suede ages gracefully.

With proper care, suede outlasts canvas for skating and casual wear. Still, suede requires more maintenance to stay pristine.

Weight and Cost

Wanna ditch that heavy canvas and go lightweight with breezy suede that’ll last you longer for less cash?

  1. Canvas weighs more from padding and materials.
  2. Suede is made from existing hide, not new materials.
  3. Suede costs less in production and materials.
  4. Canvas has a lower upfront cost but no resale value.
  5. Suede costs more initially but retains value over time.

Suede’s lower production costs and retained value over time make it lighter on the wallet long-term than canvas.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Suede and Canvas

Cleaning and Maintenance of Suede and Canvas
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining suede versus canvas shoes, there are some key differences you need to keep in mind. First, canvas is much easier to clean and can even be tossed in the washing machine, while suede requires special care and products.

Also, canvas holds up well to water and rain, but suede can be easily damaged and stained if it gets wet. Finally, canvas tends to rip faster than sturdier suede when worn for skateboarding or other rough activities, so suede will maintain its structure and last longer over time.

Cleaning Methods

Scrub that canvas down ’til it sparkles like new and you’ll be cruising easy, but go gentle on the suede or it’ll end up roughed up. For canvas shoes, scrub with soap, water, and a brush to remove stains and dirt.

Let them air dry. Suede needs a suede brush, cloth, and leather cleaner for gentle surface cleaning. Avoid excessive water and harsh scrubbing that can damage the delicate material. Support suede with shoe trees when wet to retain shape. With care, both can keep you rolling in style and comfort.

Water Resistance

Let’s not ruin your suede shoes in the rain.

  1. Consider waterproofing sprays to protect suede from water damage.
  2. Blot spills immediately to prevent deep stains.
  3. Stuff with paper towels to maintain shape if fully soaked.

Canvas withstands moisture better than suede. It dries quicker and resists mold buildup. Waterproofing treatments work for short-term protection, but canvas is inherently more water-friendly than delicate suede.

Choose wisely depending on your lifestyle and weather conditions. Knowledge and preparation prevent heartache.


You’ll find suede lasts longer than canvas for skateboarding. The sturdy suede surface develops character with skating grooves rather than surface cracks from the abuse. With proper weather care and cleaning solvents, quality suede can endure years of hardcore skating before showing signs of wear.

Suede and Canvas for Skateboarding

Suede and Canvas for Skateboarding
When choosing between suede and canvas skate shoes, you’ll need to weigh durability against ease of care. For skating tricks and cruising, suede is generally better and longer-lasting due to its sturdy leather construction, while canvas can rip more easily under stress.

However, canvas requires less maintenance and is simpler to clean than delicate suede after a day at the skatepark.

Durability and Performance

Racing over cracked concrete, hands gripped tight, heart pounding for one more day in the sun.

  • Longer lasting
  • Withstands abuse
  • Doesn’t rip as easily

Skating beats up your shoes. Sturdy suede holds up better and handles the impacts of tricks, while flimsy canvas can’t take the punishment.

Suitability for Tricks and Cruising

For real tricks and flip tricks, you’d be better off with suede shoes that can handle the wear and tear. With a grippy suede surface, your feet can hold onto the board for better control, positioning, timing, and impact cushioning when you’re doing ollies, kickflips, heelflips, and other street maneuvers.

Canvas can work for cruising but lacks the durability to last through serious skating.

Suede Canvas
Grip Excellent Poor
Durability High Low
Board Feel Great Ok
Ideal Use Tricks Cruising
Foot Support Sturdy Minimal

Cleaning and Longevity

When skating, suede shoes tend to outlast canvas ones by many sessions, as the tougher leather lasts significantly longer before fraying. With suede’s texture and tighter weave, it naturally resists absorption of water, stains, and debris better than canvas.

However, a proper care routine for suede is required after each use to maintain its durability and longevity.

Suede Vs Leather Vs Canvas: Ranking Factors

Suede Vs Leather Vs Canvas: Ranking Factors
Since you’re looking to compare suede, leather, and canvas shoes, consider maintenance and care, durability, break-in period, experience required, and price. Canvas is the easiest to clean while suede requires the most care. Leather and suede tend to be more durable than canvas.

Canvas doesn’t need much break-in time, but leather and suede shoes take some wearing to soften up and conform to your feet. Also, leather and suede require more care, so you’ll need some experience with those materials.

Maintenance and Care

You’ll find that keeping canvas shoes clean is much easier than suede. With canvas, a quick wash removes dirt, while suede needs special cleaners and brushes to avoid damage. Use a protective spray to add rain resistance to canvas and suede. For best results, add removable inserts and clean regularly with a kit.


You’d pick suede over canvas for skateboarding since it withstands wear better.

  1. Suede is more durable than canvas.
  2. Suede is made from leather, while canvas is made from plant fibers.
  3. Suede withstands scuffs and tears better.
  4. Suede lasts longer through abuse.

Suede’s leather construction makes it more durable for the demands of skateboarding. Its sturdy fibers resist tearing and hold up to abrasions better than canvas shoe materials.

Break-in Period

You get a break-in faster with canvas shoes than suede ones. Here’s a comparison of break-in times:

Material Break-In Time Why?
Canvas 1-2 weeks Softer, flexible
Suede 1-2 months Tougher, stiffer
Leather 2-4 weeks More durable than canvas

Canvas forms to your feet quicker thanks to its softness and flexibility. Suede’s toughness makes it stiff at first.

Experience Required

Life’s bumps and tricks shape how you tie your laces. Testing shoes on the board reveals fabric advantages. Select materials matching your experience level. Novices opt for canvas’ grip and affordability.

Veterans cherish suede’s durability through grinds. Ultimately, the right shoe supports your style.


You’ll find canvas costs way less than premium suede. The cellulose fibers in canvas are cheap to produce, resulting in a lower price tag. Suede’s finer qualities like its warmth, comfort, softness, and flexibility require more expensive leather processing, driving up the cost.

But suede breathes better and absorbs moisture better than more affordable canvas. So consider how much those qualities are worth to you when choosing between budget-friendly canvas and luxurious suede.

Suede Vs Leather Vs Canvas: Subjective Factors

Suede Vs Leather Vs Canvas: Subjective Factors
You’ll want to consider a few subjective factors when deciding between suede, leather, and canvas shoes. Leather is generally seen as the most formal option, with suede being moderately formal as business casual wear, and canvas on the casual end of the spectrum.

Canvas is the lightest material, while leather can be quite heavy. For weather, canvas works best in warm summer months, whereas leather and suede are preferable for colder seasons due to their durability.


Oh snapping turtle, your feet aren’t ready to parade in canvas sneakers to that high-class shindig!

Material Formality
Leather Most Formal
Suede Business Casual
Canvas Casual

Leather dress shoes exemplify formality, while canvas sneakers keep it casual, cat.


When shifting your priorities for casual comfort, canvas sneakers lift and support your feet lighter and cooler than leather or suede could. The natural breathability of cotton canvas keeps your feet drier than animal hides would in summer’s heat.

And with less environmental impact or ethical concerns in production, quality canvas lets you walk lighter in mind and body.

Weather Resistance

Canvas works better for shoes worn in warm summer days, while suede stands up to cold winter weather like a boxer in the ring. The breathable coating and loose shoe pocket liners of canvas let your feet breathe in hot temps.

Suede’s durable insole and sturdy material take on winter’s tricks, board control, and gravel scraping no problem.

Suede Vs Canvas Shoes: Head-to-Head Comparison

Suede Vs Canvas Shoes: Head-to-Head Comparison
When choosing between suede and canvas shoes, the winner depends on your specific needs and preferences. Comfort and breathability, style and versatility, longevity and value—all crucial factors for determining if supple suede or durable canvas is best for you.

While canvas feels lighter and allows more airflow than rugged suede, the latter offers a more upscale look that works in both casual and business casual settings; and despite requiring more care, suede’s durability ultimately provides better bang for your buck in the long run.

Comfort and Breathability

Because suede breathes better, it keeps your feet comfier when skating all day. Suede’s open fibers absorb sweat and ventilate your feet, while canvas stays damp. Suede’s flexibility moves with the contours of your foot for arch support without bulk.

Canvas offers flat, minimal cushioning that gets smelly without suede’s natural deodorizing. Suede’s breathability and contour beat canvas’ cleanability for true skate comfort.

Style and Versatility

You could choose canvas shoes for a more laid-back, casual style, while suede offers greater versatility from casual to business casual settings. With their relaxed, laid-back vibe, canvas shoes suit casual settings like jeans and a t-shirt well.

Suede’s richness and subtle sheen make it more versatile for dressing up or down, transitioning from weekend casual to weekday business casual seamlessly.

Longevity and Value

Though fleeting as the light wind, suede withstands the rough tricks of time while the canvas tears. With ethical buying in mind, the casual style of canvas raises sweatshop concerns and lacks sustainability.

Suede offers unmatched longevity despite costing more, so base the choice on personal preference.

Pros and Cons of Suede and Canvas Skate Shoes

Pros and Cons of Suede and Canvas Skate Shoes
When choosing between suede and canvas skate shoes, consider the pros and cons of each material. Suede skate shoes are extremely durable and long-lasting, ideal for tricks and technical skating. However, suede requires more care and maintenance and doesn’t handle water or cleaning as well as canvas.

Canvas skate shoes are lightweight and breathable, great for casual cruising, but the material tears easily when doing tricks. For hardcore skaters, suede’s strength and durability make it the top choice despite the extra care required.

Suede Skate Shoes

Choose suede over canvas for skateboarding since it’s made tougher to take the abuse of tricks and lasts way longer than canvas before it rips up.

  • Breathability from its porous and soft skin structure
  • Longevity from sturdier leather it’s derived from
  • Weather resistance from natural oils
  • Functionality for technical skateboarding maneuvers

Suede’s durability and grip make it the ideal choice for the demands of hardcore skating.

Canvas Skate Shoes

Taking stock, canvas skate shoes will tear and rip more easily than suede, though they are lighter and easier to clean. Colored laces, breathable shirts, and insoles provide comfort in canvas shoes that lack durability.

Focus on board grip design and shoe sole flex for ollies, flips, and tricks. Canvas compromises sturdiness for weight but rides smooth just cruising with a casual, colorful style.

Comparison of Prices: Suede and Canvas Shoes

Comparison of Prices: Suede and Canvas Shoes
When it comes to skate shoes, you gotta weigh more than just durability and performance.

See, canvas kicks are way cheaper than suede. We’re talking sometimes half the cost. That’s because canvas is made of common cotton, while suede comes from animal hides.

So if you’re on a budget or just need a casual pair, canvas is the move. You can find basic Vans or Converse canvas shoes for around 40-50 bucks. Meanwhile, suede skate shoes from brands like DC and ÉS start at 70-80 dollars.

The price difference makes sense given suede’s advantages for skating. But if you just need a pair for cruising or want options for your wardrobe, cheap canvas kicks get the job done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How breathable are suede and canvas shoes?

You’ll find canvas shoes more breathable than suede. The cotton fabric allows for more airflow, keeping your feet cool and dry. Suede’s dense nap doesn’t breathe as well, so it tends to get hotter and sweatier inside.

Which material provides better traction – suede or canvas?

For skateboarding, suede gives better traction than canvas. The leather fibers grip your board better. Canvas is too smooth for tricks. Overall, suede’s durability and grip make it the superior skate shoe material.

Do suede or canvas shoes stretch over time?

You’re better off with canvas if you need your shoes to stretch. Suede has very little give and won’t loosen up much. Canvas, being cloth, will relax and mold to your feet over time. Just wear them to break them in.

How do suede and canvas compare in terms of environmental impact?

You’ll find that canvas has less impact since it uses plant-based cotton. Suede relies on animal agriculture, which strains resources more.

What are some good ways to repair small scuffs or holes in suede vs canvas shoes?

To repair scuffs or holes in your shoes, follow these tips. For suede, use a suede brush or eraser to buff out scuffs. Dab clear glue on small holes in suede and let it dry. For canvas, spot clean scuffs with soap and water.

Use fabric glue or iron-on patches to patch holes in canvas. With care, you can revive both suede and canvas shoes.


At the end of the day, the choice between suede and canvas comes down to your individual needs and preferences. Consider how you plan to wear the shoes and what kind of care and maintenance you’re willing to provide.

While suede offers unparalleled durability and style, it requires more meticulous care.

Weigh the pros and cons of suede vs canvas differences to determine the best shoe material that aligns with your lifestyle, budget, and intended use.

Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with either of these timeless options. Leverage their unique strengths and make an informed decision to get the most mileage out of your footwear.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.