This is an old thread but the current body of posts already spans three years, so what the hell...
The majority of my shoes are actually Balmoral boots with single leather soles, although I have several with Dainite and Commando. Some fit very well, some not quite so well, and others poorly.
The well-fitting pairs are comfortable irrespective of sole composition; I have spent whole days in them without any obvious acute harmful effects. But it's certainly not something I do every day. With a shortage of good cobblers in Australia, I cannot afford to wear them out too quickly. Even Dainite can wear out at an alarming rate, particularly on the heel, and I suspect it is worse where the fit is slightly too roomy - something which tends to happen for those who don’t fill their wardrobes with bespoke. Rubber also tends to be heavier, which can't help.
I've had a nasty fall overseas on easy rocky terrain (it was basically one great big rock) while wearing double leather soled boots with Topy and toe tap. Fortunately, no injuries were sustained except for a gouge to the calf upper. But if I were 30-40 years older (as I suspect some SF members are), I could easily have broken bones - something best avoided overseas with the complications of international health insurance etc.
One pair of Barker purple suede brogue Oxfords are a close fit but have extremely thin leather soles and are simply not comfortable for walking on hard surfaces. Another pair, Barker semi-brogues in hideous plastic polished cobbler (my mistake) have a seemingly comfortable insole and lining but a similar super-thin leather sole. With both pairs, they feel OK while walking apart from the hammerblow transmitted through my joints with every step - the real pain begins after I sit down, with hours of aches in my feet and lower legs.
So, despite what the traditionalists say, I have a lot of sympathy for your position, which arises from my own experience. The long-term health of my feet and joints is of some concern. Notwithstanding that, I have not stopped buying leather-soled footwear.
It's probably true that while we evolved to have natural shock absorption and can live for >80 years under ideal conditions, we did not evolve to thrive for that long in harsh, untamed environments, let alone to walk for that long on hard concrete surfaces. Moreover, many natural surfaces are actually quite soft. Many of us are also probably heavier than our ancestors in terms of fat and muscle. Two thousand years ago, Roman soldiers wore leather sandals with leather soles and hob nails, but how long did those sandals last and what was the life expectancy of those men? I'd say a few months and about 40 years, respectively. Apparently, slips and falls on those soles were not unheard of, too.
Where extended walking, rough or slippery surfaces and heavy impacts are expected, I now wear rubber. Wherever running is deemed a possibility, I wear rubber, if not sneakers. If I'm on carpeted office floors all day, can put my feet up and show off, I wear leather. The fashion-aware bosses love it as do hypergamous women who know that such shoes = £sd $c 😂
Contrary to some opinion regarding rubber's being hotter: with some single leather soles I can clearly feel the heat of sun-baked pavements in Australian summers, whereas Dainite provides insulation. However, I concede that if the heat is originating from inside it might find its way out more easily with leather.
Edited by nh10222 - 8/31/16 at 4:56am