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Category > Sneakers > Page Uploaded: 26/07/16

Pigskin nubuck: do Adidas shoes use this material?

Correct: there are some Adidas shoes that use pigskin nubuck in their design - usually as part of the shoe's upper - and the most famous Adidas shoe that has a pigskin nubuck upper is the Adidas Gazelle. The Gazelle was released in 1968 as a training shoe, and is now sold and marketed as a casual/fashion wear sneaker.

Nubuck Upper (Adidas Gazelle)

Showing a pigskin nubuck upper dyed in green, in a gazelle shoe. Showing the toe area of a gazelle nubuck upper, which is dyed in the colour of red, with white leather overlays.

Suede Upper (Adidas Hamburg)

Suede upper, with a finer grain than with a nubuck upper.

Nubuck and suede have a similar appearance and tactile sensation when touched, however, there is a difference between the two materials: Nubuck is more durable and hardy. Why is nubuck a more durable material? Nubuck is created by sanding the outside of animal hide, whereas suede is created by sanding the inside of animal hide. The outside of animal hide is obviously tougher and more inflexible than the inside; therefore, it should come as no surprise that training shoes - like the Gazelle, that will be treated more roughly than fashionwear shoes like the Hamburg - use nubuck instead of suede. As you can see with the above images - which compare nubuck and suede - the two materials have a similar look: the suede has a 'clean look' whereas the nubuck has a 'rough look'. Present day, modern Adidas shoes tend not to use nubuck or suede: this is because both materials are heavy - when compared to fabrics like mesh - and they also make feet sweat heavily due to a lack of breahability inherent in the material.