The choice of materials has forever been one of our core competences. For more than a century we pay special attention to the details of the manufacturing process. But we could not design quality shoes without a careful prior selection of our materials : a know-how acquired and transmitted through the years, guided by the bootmakers’ passion.
The leather’s requirement
The leather has been used for thousands of years for its unique properties. Full grain leathers, velvet and goat of Tuscany, we select carefully the noblest materials according to their features and their final use. Suppleness, thickness, grain, touch, patina are all elements to take into account to produce a resistant and aesthetic shoe.
The leathers we choose mainly come from Italy and Spain. They are analyzed in a laboratory by the Lyon’s CTC (Leather’s Technical Center) to control the compliance with REACH norms : a regulation adopted by the European Union to preserve human health and environment.
Contrary to what we might sometimes think, the leather’s sector is essentially a recycling activity because animals are not reared for their skin, this one being an unused resource of the food industry.
Tanning: vegetable or mineral.
Tanning Is the process of transforming raw skin into soft, impotent and resistant leather. For the skin to turn into leather, it is pre-prepared and then immersed in tanning agents, or tannins. There are two large families of tanning, mineral or plant, depending on the tanning agents used.
Vegetable Tanning Is the first method of tanning used by men. The skin is transformed with the help of a natural substance, tannin, found in the bark, leaves, roots or sap of plants. Depending on the flexibility and hue to be obtained, certain species such as oak, chestnut, mimosa or pine will be used.
Vegetable tanning is not the only technique used to obtain leather. The most common method is mineral tanning, which uses mineral tanning agents such as chromium sulphate or aluminum salt. This accounts for more than 85 % of world leather production. This process makes it possible to obtain properties and characteristics that it is not possible to reproduce with vegetable tanned. The leather obtained is more resistant, the possibilities of dyes and finishes are almost infinite and the color will not change over time.
Over the years, led by restrictive environmental guidelines and standards, the mineral tanning industry has significantly improved its methods. The tanneries with which we work are equipped with their own circuit of management and treatment of water and comply with strict working conditions corresponding to the REACH standards. Most of them are members of the Leather Working Group, whose objective is to provide greater transparency and accountability: removal of potentially hazardous substances, reduction of water consumption and energy and control of safety at work.
The « vegetable » Leather ?
The term « vegetable leather » is a misuse of language to refer to the vegetable tanning. The appellation « leather » is protected and must necessarily come from animal skin. The recent technological innovations have enabled to develop new materials coming from natural products, serious alternatives to the leather.
We are concerned to go further in our approach of sustainable development. In this context, we have developed, after severals years of research, our first responsible lines. Our will was to propose models without animal materials, in respect of the environment, while maintaining the quality of our products. Today, the plastic and its derivates substitute too often the leather when we think vegan. This only displace the problem.
Among these new materials, we conceive some of our models using an ecological microfiber made with corn, material coming from the R&D, which approximate the leather’s performances. Derived from an environmentally friendly manufacturing process and a minimum of CO2 emissions, this fabric is also certified by the Oeko Tex 100 label which guarantees that it does not contain health-threatening agents. Since 2020, we offer a line of models entirely manufactured from « vegan » microfiber, while maintaining the essential technical characteristics for a quality shoe.
Our plans for the future ? Continue during the next seasons to integrate the material made from apples’ wastes, recovery of the food industry wastes. Another alternative which allows not only to reduce the waste but to continue to limit our environmental impact.
To go further ...
Beyond leather, we pay particular attention to all the elements that make up our shoes.
We mainly use natural rubber soles, whose resistance to abrasion and thermal variations are superior to synthetic materials. Our footings also correspond to the REACH standards, since they contain no phthalates.
Our loops and carnations are unoxidizable and nickel-free, the only metal elements that return to the manufacture of our products. For several seasons, we have gradually replaced colles with water-free, solvent-free colles.
Finally, our shoe boxes are now all made from recycled cardboard, to go even further in our sustainable development approach.