The English shoe industry, based in Northamptonshire, is famous for its goodyear welted type of shoe construction. Traditionally of course soles were made of leather however these days the shoe industry has embraced rubber soles as well, the most well know brand of which is Dainite. Rubber as well as leather can be used in goodyear welted construction. There are advantages of both.
As one would expect there are many different grades of sole leather but the best has a tight grain which will allow the longest wear. A leather sole certainly looks very fine on a quality pair of shoes although they can be a little slippery until roughed up a bit. It is important to allow leather soles to dry out between outings since wet leather will wear relatively quick on a hard, dry surface. Leather soles are easy to re-sole and stick-on rubber soles can be added. The advantage of doing this is that you don’t need to find a skilled shoe repairer, a heel bar can replace stick-on rubber soles at fairly minimal cost.
The Dainite factory is famous for its stud rubber soles. These can be the same thickness as leather soles and so long as they have a leather welt look exactly the same as leather soled shoes from above. Rubber is considerably harder wearing than even the best quality leather soles. Also rubber remains impermeable to water ingress even when the rubber has worn very then. Leather conversely can begin to let water through at this stage. You will find that all the best English shoe makers have embraced Dainite rubber soles.
When they do eventually wear out there are two repair options for both leather and Dainite rubber soles: Either a long sole which replaces the entire sole unit or half sole which replaces just the sole material which hits the ground. Done properly a half sole is quicker, cheaper and can be done be a reputable local shoe repairer. A long sole should be returned to the manufacturer.