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Footwear Materials and Components


The role of good quality fastening systems, from traditional laces through to elastics and touch and close fasteners should not be underestimated. As well as maintaining good fit they keep the shoe on the foot and also play a big role in the footwear’s appearance. SATRA has a range of tests to ensure fastenings are functional, durable and safe.

Toe cap strength

Toe cap strength, both under impact and compression is the key feature of most protective footwear. Not only does SATRA carry out tests to a number of protective footwear standards but can also advise on results and how to improve designs to ensure conformity.

Heel strength

Badly designed heels can crack or break as a result of impact or fatigue during everyday walking and general use. Heel failures can result in serious injury to the wearer. SATRA can test heels for both fatigue and impact resistance and also assess the plastic quality and tension pin dimensions, to ensure the heel will not fail in wear.


SATRA’s experience and expertise in the technical aspects of leather can be traced back to our origins in 1919 when the organisation was formed to serve the footwear sector and whose predominant material at the time was leather. Over the years, SATRA has built up considerable knowledge on the production and use of leather in various product sectors worldwide including footwear, leathergoods and furniture. SATRA was the first company to create a leather grading system accepted by Chinese tanneries and Western international brands. We called it ‘leather one language’ and it is still used today alongside SATRA’s leather cutting and production efficiency systems that save manufacturers millions of dollars each year. SATRA laboratories can undertake a comprehensive range of physical testing on leather material and whole product made from leather including chemicals analysis to European and US standards. And our research team constantly works with SATRA member companies to help develop the next generation of leather products that are better performing, more comfortable and safer for the wearer.

Materials research

Materials research is essential for successful product design and manufacture as performance, comfort and safety are increasingly important in determining consumer purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. SATRA’s research team is often at the forefront of product development, for example investigating and helping to improve features such as breathability and thermal rating, and water, slip and impact resistance.


After leather, rubber in its various guises is another important footwear material especially for soles. Rubber is based on both natural and man-made polymers and is compounded with other essential ingredients in numerous ways to suit the end-purpose and cost. SATRA can verify capability against often stringent specifications and help customers develop new products. We offer both material testing and testing dependent upon moulded shape, for example sole tread pattern.