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See also: shoe leather


A pair of black leather shoes

Alternative forms[edit]


shoe +‎ leather.



shoe-leather ‎(countable and uncountable, plural shoe-leathers)

  1. (countable and uncountable) Leather that is used to make shoes.
    • 1922, Boot and Shoe Recorder: The Magazine of Fashion Footwear, volume 81, Philadelphia, Pa.: King Publications (a subsidiary of Chilton Company), OCLC 1536821, page 86:
      Outside of patent leathers and specialties, I know of no other types of shoe leathers which are commanding replacement costs today.
    • 1942 October 12, “Is there a Bagpipe Player in the Audience? [Regal Shoes advertisement]”, in LIFE, volume 13, number 15, Chicago, Ill.: Time Inc., OCLC 705656053, page 136:
      Naturally, this aristocrat of shoe leathers costs more than ordinary leather – and, for the past two years, it has been all but unobtainable in this country.
    • 1948, R. Turner Wilcox, “Twentieth-century Footwear”, in The Mode in Footwear, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribners' Sons, OCLC 1356620; republished as The Mode in Footwear: A Historical Survey with 53 Plates, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2008, ISBN 978-0-486-46761-0, page 154:
      Notable in feminine footgear of the first two decades was the increasing number of different shoe leathers consisting of box calf, white calf, colored kids, buck and antelope.
    • 1952, F. P. Veitch; R. W. Frey; H. P. Holman, Leather Shoes: Selection and Care (U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers' Bulletin; 1523), rev. edition, Washington, D.C.: United States Department of Agriculture, OCLC 15475410, page 1:
      Shoe Leathers. Leather used in making shoes is of two kinds – bottom, or sole, leather and upper leather.
    • 2008, Robert L. Reitschel; Joseph F. Fowler; Alexander A. Fisher, Fisher's Contact Dermatitis, 6th edition, Hamilton, Ont.: B. C. Decker, ISBN 978-1-55009-378-0, page 359:
      British authors have long suspected and documented that vegetable-tanned leather was responsible for many of their unexplained shoe leather-positive patients.
  2. (uncountable) Leather from which shoes are made that is worn out through walking.
    • 1874, John Ruskin, “Letter xliv”, in Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain, Orpington, Kent: George Allen, volume IV, OCLC 3852549, page 166; quoted in “Varieties. Mr. Ruskin on Railway Travelling.”, in W. H. Bidwell, editor, The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art (New Series), New York, N.Y.: E. R. Pelton, publisher, 108 Fulton Street, October 1874, volume XX, issue 4, OCLC 261231920, page 510:
      In old times, if a Coniston peasant had any business at Ulverstone, he walked to Ulverstone; spent nothing but shoe-leather on the road, drank at the streams, and if he spent a couple of batz when he got to Ulverstone, "it was the end of the world." But now, he would never think of doing such a thing! He first walks three miles in a contrary direction, to a railroad station, and then travels by railroad twenty-four miles to Ulverstone, paying two shillings fare.
    • 2011 August 13, Peter Atkinson, “Save on shoe leather [letter]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Travel)[1], archived from the original on 17 September 2011, page T13:
      Save on shoe leather [letter title] [] Pounding the sidewalks can seriously wear you out.
    • 2015 March 28, Jake Kerridge, “Solved! The greatest art theft in history”, in The Daily Telegraph (Review)[2], archived from the original on 30 August 2015, page R12:
      Many sleuths, both professional and amateur, have devoted years to unravelling the circumstances of the heist, but one man who has worn out more shoe leather than most in pursuit of this mystery is Stephen Kurkjian, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter now retired after 40 years at The Boston Globe.

Related terms[edit]


shoe-leather ‎(not comparable)

  1. Basic, old-fashioned or traditional; specifically (journalism) shoe-leather journalism or shoe-leather reporting: journalism involving walking from place to place observing things and speaking to people, rather than sitting indoors at a desk.
    • 2008 April 23, Mark Glaser, “Public Documents + Shoe Leather Reporting = The Smoking Gun's Staying Power”, in Mediashift, Public Broadcasting Service[3], archived from the original on 13 November 2012:
      When we set out to produce the site full time, everything we did went on the site, but the reporting for the site hasn't changed. I don't think it ever will. It's basic shoe leather reporting, hunting down sources and documents and confirming authenticity.
    • 2009 July 5, Walter Kirn, “Wasted Land”, in The New York Times[4], archived from the original on 15 November 2014:
      The book, wrought from old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting of a type that's disappearing faster than nonfranchised lunch counters on Main Street, isn't chiefly a tale of drugs and crime, of dysfunction and despair, but a recession-era tragedy scaled for an "Our Town," Thornton Wilder stage and seemingly based on a script by William S. Burroughs.
    • 2009 September 23, Erica Noonan, “Reporting on the threat posed when reliable reporting fades away”, in (The Boston Globe)[5], archived from the original on 26 October 2012:
      Yes, old school, shoe-leather reporting uncovered the Watergate and Pentagon Papers scandals. But it was disturbingly ineffective during the McCarthy witch hunts and the US invasion of Iraq.
    • 2011 July 28, Michael Wines; Sharon LaFraniere, “In baring facts of train crash, blogs erode China censorship [print version: In China, tweets shake the hold of state media: Microbloggers’ reaction to train crash shows new influence on government, International Herald Tribune, 29 July 2011]”, in The New York Times[6], archived from the original on 28 December 2014:
      Since then, China's two major Twitter-like microblogs have posted an astounding 26 million messages on the tragedy, a potent amalgam of contempt for railway authorities, suspicion of official explanations and shoe-leather journalism by citizens and professionals alike.


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