Leather has been the traditional soling used in footwear. While the consumer likes the aesthetic appeal and price of sole leather, increasing problems are being reported due to lack of wear performance, particularly abrasion resistance and water resistance properties. Until this performance is improved, the market potential for sole leather is limited. Because of its complex interwoven micro fibre structure little is understood about the mechanical and water resistance performance of sole leather in wear. This project aims to develop harder wearing, more water resistant sole leather to meet the needs of a growing market and also realistic tests against which performance in wear can be assessed. A highly innovative approach will be taken to improve sole leather through modification to the leather fibre structure and hydrophobic chemical treatments.