Baby shoes are one of the most important clothing items that can be purchased for infants and toddlers. It is extremely important to pick a baby shoe that is both comfortable and functional enough to allow for successful development of walking and movement skills while protecting the delicate feet of the infant from damage from the environment. Leather baby shoes can range from soft booties that can be used by the baby prior to learning to walk all the way to leather shoes that are useful for toddlers capable of running.
Whether or not leather shoes are the right choice for a baby depends on a lot of factors. Leather is capable of keeping the feet warm. It is a strong and flexible material. It does not allow much air flow. Certainly not as well as something like mesh or a thinner fabric would allow. With that being said, it is much stronger and more durable than most synthetic materials and, thus, the tradeoff is worth it most of the time. Leather bottoms are slippery and are only good for protecting the feet in most cases and are not useful for things like walking, where grip becomes one of the most important factors to consider.
Prior to walking, shoes are primarily used for comfort and warmth. They need to be flexible and they need to allow the feet and ankles to breathe. Leather is a good choice insofar as it is flexible and allows warmth to remain within the shoes. The issue with leather baby shoes is that they do not allow much air circulation. This has been solved through things like hand stitching and including areas in the shoes where air can enter and exit.
Leather baby shoes meant for babies that are already walking and/or running are often leather on the sides and on the top and feature rubber soles. Leather is generally not a good material to use for grip and, thus, it is not useful or even a good idea to put it on the bottom of shoes. This is because it is, at heard, sort of slippery. It is very flexible and makes a good side for the baby shoes but rubber soles have the grip that is more useful for things like walking or running. The rubber soles will also provide more support than leather bottom will.
Leather baby shoes will definitely last a long time. Prior to walking, leather will make a good material for the entire shoe. This will, obviously, include the sole of the shoes. Shoes are primarily for comfort and warmth at this point. Once a baby begins to learn to walk it is better to transition from leather soles to rubber soles. The rest of the shoe, however, can still be made of leather. Leather shoes are a good choice because they are sturdy, flexible, and strong enough to last through the wear and tear of normal use. Leather baby shoes are durable enough to be worth trying in most cases.