Which Leather to Choose?

All of the standard leathers I use are among the finest examples of vegetable tanned leather on the market and any of them will make an excellent choice for made-to-order items.
Read on to learn more about the characteristics of each.

For more general information about leather, please check out this blog post.

Chèvre Crispé

This is a beautifully dyed semi-aniline goatskin from century-old French tannery, Relma. Goatskin is softer, more resistant to water and scratches, and somewhat tougher than cowhide. The leather is supple with a luxurious texture and firm grain.

Chèvre Crispé from Relma in France


Pueblo is a vegetable tanned leather produced by Badalassi Carlo in Italy that’s characterized by its rough finish, which gives it a really interesting and vintage look. It has a medium temper without a protective finish, so it feels fantastic and will develop a lot of character with use.

Dakota & Buttero

Dakota and Buttero are the two smooth matte leathers I use. Both are full grain vegetable tanned leathers from Italy and are among the highest regarded of their kind. Dakota is produced by Conceria La Perla Azzurra and Buttero is from Conceria Walpier. They are firmer and denser than the other leathers (except shell cordovan). They will also develop plenty of character with use.

Dakota from the La Perla Azzurra tannery in Italy

Shell Cordovan

I stock shell cordovan from Shinki-Hikaku and Leder Ogawa, both based in Japan. I find Japanese cordovan to be clearly the most refined and beautiful there is, and especially suitable for small leather goods.

Shinki’s shells have both brilliant color and gloss, as well as subtle marbling that’s typical in vegetable tanned leathers.

Ogawa’s shells have more uniform color and are less glossy than those from Shinki. They also have absolutely fantastic depth of color, thanks to the makers’ aniline dyeing expertise.

Shell wears extremely well over time and develops a lot of character with use. For a smooth vegetable tanned leather, there isn’t a better choice.

Note: While shell is an exceptionally durable material, it is not a resistant material. It has a waxy surface that will scratch fairly easily. But, scratches will become less apparent and blend into the character of the leather as it ages. Another bright point is that it also may be reconditioned (i.e. scratches, etc. buffed out) when desired.

Shinki Shell Cordovan
Shinki-Hikaku Shell Cordovan
Leder Ogawa Cordovan
Shell Cordovan from Leder Ogawa


Wax is also produced by Badalassi Carlo (maker of Pueblo). This is a pull-up leather and the most attractive one I’ve come across. The finish gives the leather a striking web of color variation. Pull-up leather changes color when pressure is applied, or the leather is folded or stretched. This is a vegetable tanned leather that will develop lots of character with use.

Pull-up leather from famous Italian tannery, Badalassi Carlo


By popular request, Saffiano is now available as a main option. This is the only main leather that isn’t fully vegetable tanned, which means it will have better resistance to water and scratching. It’s the most resistant leather in the lineup, but also the least natural feeling.

Saffiano refers to the print, not the material. I currently stock Saffiano printed on goatskin produced by famed French tannery, Alran SAS, as well as calfskin from Italian tannery, Conceria Superior. If you prefer little to no patina, this is a great choice.

Saffiano from French tannery, Alran SAS


Rugato is beautiful glossy veg tan from Tannerie Masure in Belgium. The dark green and purple are especially striking.

Rugato from Tannerie Masure in Belgium.


This is a milled veg tan that gives it its wonderful texture. It also has a subtle gloss from the glazing process. It makes an excellent choice for wallet exteriors. The three colors below are in stock. Feel free to substitute for them in the order notes (exterior only, please).

La Bretagna Art. Deco
Milled Leather from Italian Tannery, La Bretagna