Demystifying Leather Grades: Sourcing, Production, and Quality Assurance (5-minute read)
Leather, a captivating material utilized by mankind throughout history, holds an undeniable allure. In this article, we explore the production process, diverse leather grades, and the meticulous sourcing practices employed by the skilled artisans at Alexander Noel. Discover the secrets behind this fascinating medium and gain insights into our commitment to craftsmanship and ethical sourcing.
Unraveling the Mystery of Leather Grades
When it comes to shoes, the choice and quality of leather play a crucial role. Like many other things in life, leather comes in different variations or "grades." Let's take a brief look at the most common grades of leather.
Full Grain Leather is the best quality leather sitting at the top of the chain. The majority of our smooth leathers can be categorized as high grade full grain leathers. It refers to the outside part of the animal’s hide just below the hair. The term “Full” means that it has not been buffed or sanded, which is a process that is used to remove imperfections or marks. The tight porous nature of the leather prevents moisture retention but it also means that it is thicker.
Essentially, Top Grain Leather is like full grain but with a twist. It undergoes light, sanding to shave off a few millimeters from the top, removing any imperfections. One of the most prominent kinds of top grain leathers is Nubuck.
Lastly, the most common type of leather comes in many forms and has many names but is best known as Split Leather. It is created from the Corium part of the hide after it is split off the grain layer, hence its name. A prominent kind of split leather is Suede.
Our Production Supply Chain: Ensuring Efficiency and Quality
Acquiring leather may seem like a simple process, but the artisan teams understand that it is a critical step in ensuring the quality of our products. Simply picking up the phone and placing an order is not enough. There are stringent standards that must be met to deliver exceptional results.
Leather procurement serves as the first link in our production supply chain. If we allow subpar or incorrect leather to enter our factory, it can have a detrimental impact on the final product. The quality of our footwear is compromised, our factory faces challenges, and we fail to meet our partners' expectations.
Any issues with the leather, such as color discrepancies or substandard substance, can result in additional costs and complications downstream. If these issues go unnoticed by our experienced Clickers, they can have a ripple effect throughout subsequent stages of production, including closing, lasting, and finishing (In the context of hide assessment, a clicker refers to a person who is responsible for cutting patterns or shapes from hides or leather. The clicker plays a crucial role in ensuring accurate and efficient cutting of leather components for various products).
This is why we place great emphasis on the careful search and acquisition of the most crucial and expensive component of our footwear: leather. By ensuring that only the highest quality materials are used, we maintain the integrity and excellence of our products.
The Significance of Leather Quality
When it comes to sourcing the highest grade full grain box calf leather from top European tanneries, our priority is finding materials with a "fine break." In the industry, there's a saying known as "the break of the leather," which refers to the natural creases that form as the leather flexes with wear. As shoes endure daily use and exposure to the elements, they face significant challenges.
To ensure longevity and resilience, we specifically seek out the finest full grain leather. This type of leather, when properly cared for, has the ability to bounce back and maintain its shape over time. That's why we prioritize finding leathers with a clean break, as it indicates their ability to withstand the rigors of everyday wear.
By choosing leather with a good break, we can guarantee that our products will continue to exhibit their exceptional quality and retain their original form, providing you with enduring style and comfort.
Meet the New Box Calf
In case you missed it, we are thrilled to announce our collaboration with a prestigious Italian tannery renowned for its production of high-grade box calf leather. With a rich history dating back over 100 years, this tannery has been exclusively dedicated to crafting superior quality leather for renowned international brands.
Rest assured that we offer the highest quality leather in the market. We are thrilled to bring you a selection of shoes and boots that will not only meet, but exceed your expectations. Our products are meticulously crafted to create lasting collections that cater to your unique style and preferences.