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chromexcel?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by kraftar, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. kraftar

    kraftar Senior member

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    What is the difference among shoes made from chromexcel vs regular calf or cordovan? I understand that the chromexcel process is more involved than for regular calf but how does that translate into the appearance and/or durability of the final product?
     
  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Chromexcel is specific to Horween. It is calf leather, but it is chrome tanned first then vegetable retanned (like cordovan). It creates a very durable, beautiful pull-up leather due to the vegetable retanning. Vegetable tanning also is more resistant to bacteria, and fungus and creates a more durable process, whereas chrome tanning creates a much more flexible, and stretchy kind of leather. Chromexcel you get the best of both worlds. All of the oils used in the vegetable retanning process for chromexcel is what creates the pull-up effect.
     
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  3. kraftar

    kraftar Senior member

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    Thanks patrick! What do you mean by "pull-up" leather and the "pull-up" effect? Also, is the texture more like cordovan (kind of waxy) or regular calf?
     
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The thing is...and make no mistake I think it is a fine leather...is that chromexel is an "oil stuffed" leather. What does that mean? Abandon all hope of a high shine...or even more than a gleam.
     
  5. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    What are your thoughts on "cavalier" chromexcel, DW? Have you handled any? The pics on Horween's blog make it look a lot like shell cordovan, not really shiny but pretty glossy. Nick also mentions in the Q&A on that page that cavalier chromexel is not as shiny as shell.
     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    What are your thoughts on "cavalier" chromexcel, DW? Have you handled any? The pics on Horween's blog make it look a lot like shell cordovan, not really shiny but pretty glossy. Nick also mentions in the Q&A on that page that cavalier chromexel is not as shiny as shell.
    It's a nice enough looking leather but it is better suited to "casual" shoes, IMO. Also just a little...but significant...correction to Patrick's post. Chromexel is not calf, it is cow. Calf is the superior leather--the younger the animal the tighter and denser the fiber mat. And the corium (the grain surface) will be tighter and cleaner as well.
     
  7. daruma

    daruma Senior member

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    when it comes to shoes, is there a situation where cowhide is better than calfskin? maybe more durable? can people easily distinguish the difference between cowhide and calfskin?
     
  8. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    It's a nice enough looking leather but it is better suited to "casual" shoes, IMO.

    Also just a little...but significant...correction to Patrick's post. Chromexel is not calf, it is cow. Calf is the superior leather--the younger the animal the tighter and denser the fiber mat. And the corium (the grain surface) will be tighter and cleaner as well.

    Interesting. Thank you.
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    when it comes to shoes, is there a situation where cowhide is better than calfskin? maybe more durable? can people easily distinguish the difference between cowhide and calfskin?
    What is "durable?" What is "better?" Cowhide can be, usually is, thicker than calf. Is that more durable? In some situations, such as when a person is wearing the shoe in a hostile environment and every day, thicker might be better. Cow would also be cheaper. Is that better? Ounce for ounce the younger animal is always the superior leather due to density and closeness of the fibers. But then kangaroo, regardless of age is one of the toughest leathers known to man--ounce for ounce the most tear resistant, and it is usually pretty thin compared to cow or even calf. As a general rule the denser the leather, the longer it will resist cracking and the better it will resist tearing or puncture. Can people tell the difference? Sometimes. Some people. It depends a lot on how the leather is finished. Except for the weight (thickness), I doubt anyone except an expert could tell the difference between calf or cow if both were finished as chromexel.
     
  10. kraftar

    kraftar Senior member

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    That helps alot... thanks for the information.
     
  11. razl

    razl Senior member

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    Ounce for ounce the younger animal is always the superior leather due to density and closeness of the fibers. But then kangaroo, regardless of age is one of the toughest leathers known to man--ounce for ounce the most tear resistant, and it is usually pretty thin compared to cow or even calf.

    So why don't we (or at least I) see leather goods, especially shoes, from kangaroos? Is it that it doesn't finish/present as well? I'm just curious.
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    So why don't we (or at least I) see leather goods, especially shoes, from kangaroos? Is it that it doesn't finish/present as well? I'm just curious.
    I don't know. I think it has more to do with public perception than anything else. For instance (and this may have changed in recent years) kangaroo was on the banned list in California for some time despite the "environmental impact" statements presented by the government of Australia certifying that 'roos were nearly a pest animal. For the layman, kangaroo is nearly indistinguishable from a fine grade of calf skin. It would, however, probably be at least a half ounce or even a full ounce thinner than the calf. That said kangaroo is used in more leather goods than you might think. Some years back Wolverine(?) boot company was manufacturing a work boot that used kangaroo. Some athletic shoes use roo. And roo is very popular in Western (cowboy) bootmaking. All that said, cutting economies are perhaps not as good with roo. It is expensive because it is not ordinarily farmed, and it can be heavily scarred because 'roos fight for dominance.
     
  13. LynahFaithful

    LynahFaithful Senior member

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    DW - Thanks for your insights on Chromexel. I have a pair on order and it is nice to know now, before I get them, that I won't be spending future hours trying get a high shine on them.
     
  14. razl

    razl Senior member

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    I don't know. I think it has more to do with public perception than anything else. ...

    Thanks much for taking the time to share - I wouldn't have known what to think if I came across a 'roo piece, now I've got some idea!
     
  15. DoTheGrownup

    DoTheGrownup Senior member

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    So why don't we (or at least I) see leather goods, especially shoes, from kangaroos? Is it that it doesn't finish/present as well? I'm just curious.

    FWIW, many high end football (soccer) boots use kangaroo leather. Before the advent of synthetics, it was usually considered the best leather for soccer shoes because it is supple, durable, and relatively water resistant.

    The Adidas Copa Mundial, maybe the most iconic football boot ever, is made of kangaroo leather, as are many high end leather boots from Nike, Puma, Diadora, etc.
     
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  16. NHorween

    NHorween Active Member

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    The thing is...and make no mistake I think it is a fine leather...is that chromexel is an "oil stuffed" leather. What does that mean? Abandon all hope of a high shine...or even more than a gleam.

    Chromexcel won't take a shine like shell, but it shines up pretty well.
    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  17. razl

    razl Senior member

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    Chromexcel won't take a shine like shell, but it shines up pretty well.

    Boy, that table demonstrates a big commitment to the love of craft. I'm envious [​IMG]
     
  18. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Chromexcel won't take a shine like shell, but it shines up pretty well.
    Nick, Well, I'll be! That is indeed a respectable shine. The swatches you fellers have sent me over the years were all oil stuffed and did not have that hard a finish on the grainside. So I take it all back...you heard it from the source. Thanks Nick.
     
  19. bbhewee

    bbhewee Senior member

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    So why don't we (or at least I) see leather goods, especially shoes, from kangaroos? Is it that it doesn't finish/present as well? I'm just curious.

    Kangaroo leather is used mostly in high-end football and rugby boots. Used to have a pair of Canterbury cleats when I was playing, and they were the best boots I'd ever owned... A quick clean would do the job, they wouldn't get scuffed too badly compared to my Adidas, incredibly soft.
    But it isn't the prettiest leather in my opinion: very irregular, marked creasing... Probably some of the reasons why it isn't used in day-to-day shoes.
     
  20. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Kangaroo leather is used mostly in high-end football and rugby boots. Used to have a pair of Canterbury cleats when I was playing, and they were the best boots I'd ever owned... A quick clean would do the job, they wouldn't get scuffed too badly compared to my Adidas, incredibly soft. But it isn't the prettiest leather in my opinion: very irregular, marked creasing... Probably some of the reasons why it isn't used in day-to-day shoes.
    I don't think that's necessarily true. I suspect it depends on how it is tanned and, more importantly, finished. Some kangaroo is as fine grained and clear as the best calf. It will crease no more nor less than calf in similar weights. At least, that's been my experience with what I have access to.
     

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