Primitive people have long used animal hides as a means of protecting themselves from the elements. After consuming the meat of the animal, the pelt would be stretched and sun dried before being fashioned into clothing. As time passed and more technological advances were made, it was discovered that animal pelts could be conditioned with assorted oils in order to lengthen their shelf life. Later, tannins from tree barks served as a way to turn raw hides into the natural leather we see today. Leather, in short, is a byproduct of the animal; without the existence of the leather industry, the accumulation of waste from meat/wool/dairy products would create an unimaginable disposal problem. Here at Noah Marion, we work exclusively with vegetable and chrome tanning methods, ensuring that our customers receive a highly durable, ethically conscious and overall unique product.
Chouara traditional leather tannery in Fez, Morocco. Image via Shutterstock.

Get to Know Your Hide

The Bend
Thickest and firmest part of the hide, it is 2-4 ounces thicker than the remaining hide.  Don't stretch this piece of leather too much, because it's not going to happen.  The bend molds best when tempered in warm water before any serious stretching happens
The Neck and The Middle
Most of the blemishes are found here, we call those nature-made characteristics! You may even end up seeing some of the fat wrinkles left even after the tanner finishes up with these pieces.  The Middle stands alone in having the most tensile strength.  It is can do almost anything The Bend can, especially when products require more length
The Belly
This particular piece is softer and looser.  Many refer to is as "The Waste", but usually it is added to other types of leather in the production process.
via Horween Leather

Tanning Methods

Vegetable Tanning
Tannins are a chemical that occur naturally in bark and plant leaves. As they attach themselves to the collagen present in the hide, the leather eventually becomes less water-soluble, more pliant and more resistant to bacteria. Vegetable tanning utilizes tannins quite heavily. It is the oldest and most distinct method of tanning leather.
The vegetable tanning is still nowadays the most traditional, the most recognisable, the only one able to give leather unique characteristics.


Chromexcel is the original pull-up leather; using time honored techniques and formulas that were developed nearly 100 years ago.  Chromexcel is still produced in the United States using a bark retannage from a proprietary recipe, and then genuine hot stuffed with our secret blend of natural oils and greases.

via Horween Leather Company