We only work with premium materials sourced from some of the best tanneries in the world. Below is a guide to the main characteristics of each material and how these leathers are used across all of our footwear collections.
We searched long and hard before deciding to upgrade our core leather from calf to box calf. We wanted a consistent material that held its colour, didn’t crease too much, was durable yet softened over time. Box calf is seen as a higher grade of calf due to its firm, initial handle and fine grain. For this reason it is the material of choice for most high end shoemakers and gets better with wear. We source from a very well respected European tannery that graze their livestock in thoughtful conditions so as to improve the overall quality of the end products. Box Calf leather is a very popular choice when ordering from our Classic Sneaker Collection.
Colours - White, Black, Brown, Navy
VEGETABLE TANNED CALF
Premium grade leather that is firm and even whilst offering a consistent finish across the hide, our veg tan calf is smooth with a soft surface. The hides are sourced and collected from Alpine grazed cattle to ensure the raw material is handled in the best possible conditions. Vegetable tanned calf has a soft and supple feel which makes it ideal for footwear as it is lightweight and can move and flex with the wearer. Although quite delicate due to the unique tanning methods used throughout veg tan process, the signature fine grain delivers a premium look and finish that will gradually darken through patina over time.
Colours - Off White, Black, Grey
Collections - Hand Stitch
JANUS CALF SUEDE
Thought to be one of the best if not the best quality suedes available. This is mainly due to Janus calf suede originating from some of the very best raw material in the world. The hides benefit from a secret combination of ingredients used in the subsequent tanning processes - all carried out by C F Stead in Leeds, England. The end product has a soft, luxurious look and feel, whilst offering reassuring strength and durability. Janus suede may feel delicate to the touch but it contains strong fibres that make it tough, flexible and resilient.
Colours - Black, Brown, Sand, Snuff, Grey
SCOTTISH DEER SUEDE
We source Scottish Deer suede that is fully traceable from within the UK. Tanned and finished in the Barrhead region of Scotland, our deer suede is luxuriously soft to the touch with a plush nap, yet manages to retain high levels of strength and durability. Comfortable and forgiving, deer suede is ideal for everyday wear. The deep, thorough dyeing techniques utilised throughout the Barrhead range ensure rich, silky finishes of the highest quality. With carefully managed preparation and high levels of detail throughout the entire process, deer suede is the perfect choice for our premium Hand Stitch Collection. Fully sourced, tanned, and finished in Scotland, UK.
Colours - Black, Brown, Navy
Collections - Hand Stitch
Due to the unique finishing processes involved, Horween Chromexcel leather can display inconsistent finishes that are unique from hide to hide. Quite firm on first wear, Chromexcel breaks in gradually with each subsequent wear, then softens and moulds to the wearer's foot to create the perfect fit. Founded in 1905 in Chicago, USA - The Horween Company uses tanning processes combined with secret blends of natural oils and greases that have been passed down through the generations. Horween leathers have a soft and smooth handle with the surface restoring itself when marked. Blessed with extreme longevity, Chromexcel will naturally darken with wear whilst creating a unique custom patina. The ultimate 'pull up' leather that changes when the surface is rubbed or your finger is pulled along the underside of the leather. A beautifully rugged leather. Also very similar to the Chromexcel leathers that we carry are skins from the Horween Cavalier range. For this reason, we offer both Chromexcel and Cavalier leathers alongside each other in the same category due to the same characteristics and finish that they display.
Colours - Black, Natural, No 8, Brown, Forest Green, Ink, Sunflower
Horween buffalo leather is tanned in the US in a similar way to Chromexcel with a combination of both vegetable and chrome tanning. Through these processes the buffalo is naturally shrunken down from around 30ft to 20ft when finished. This skilled process pulls the fibres tight to produce an end product that is tough and durable. Each hide retains its own personal ruggedness which results in a pronounced grain that can vary in size across the surface. As the skins are purposely left natural straight out of the tanning drum and not embossed for a uniform finish, the true character of each skin shines through - Making each pair of sneakers or shoes made from buffalo completely unique. The Horween Company is hugely respected and continues to deliver the very best leather available in the world through complex tanning processes and secret family methods.
Colours - Tan, Brown, Black, No 8, Grey, Green
HORWEEN SHELL CORDOVAN
Shell Cordovan is the jewel in the Horween Company's Crown and is seen by many as the very best leather in the world. Each shell is oval in shape and made from a specific area to the hind of the horse that forms a membrane rather than actual leather. It is then expertly tanned, stuffed, shaved and polished by hand to reveal the distinctive glossy signature finish that Shell Cordovan displays. These highly skilled processes take at least six months to complete. Shell Cordovan is also known for its unique characteristic of rippling not creasing due to its tight firmness and genetic make up. Each shell is relatively small in comparison with regular hides and production is carried out in small batches. This ensures that Shell Cordovan is continuously in high demand across the world, with supply from Horween always limited, and distribution to shoemakers very selective. Quite simply, there's no other material that it can be compared to and if cared for correctly, it can last a lifetime.
Colours - No 8, Bourbon, Black, Dark Cognac
Collections - Hand Stitch
The final Horween leather that we carry is Essex and this currently sits on its own in Crown Northampton's selection with just one colour. Very light brown and natural in appearance, this rather unassuming material receives the same tanning formulas as Cordovan. It is drum tanned and heavily tumbled throughout the preparation processes making it softer than many other leathers throughout Horween's collection. As a purely vegetable-tanned leather, Essex starts off light in colour but will gradually darken as the leather patinas and over time the change can be quite dramatic depending on wear and use - Essex is a material that’s heavily used in footwear production but is also used widely in the manufacture of premium bags and small leather goods. Fun fact, the very UK and Irish sounding names of Essex, Derby, and Dublin came about when some time ago Horween representatives visited the UK and were shown around various cities by representatives from CF Stead and AA Crack Leather Merchants. A distribution relationship was formed and the respective Horween collections were named after places they visited on their overseas trip to the UK - Not the full story but there or thereabouts.
Colours - Natural
Collections - Classic Sneaker
The Jazz Collection is often adopted as a summer wardrobe style that can be worn sockless. Their lightweight balance and supreme comfort also makes them the perfect traveling companion. For these reasons, Jazz styles need a softer, slimmer calf leather that is supple, fits close, and naturally flexes with the wearers feet. Specially selected and offered in our traditional black and white colour palette, further adding to the clean, minimal finish across the entire Jazz Collection.
Colours - White, Black
Collections - Jazz