Vegetable Tanned Leather Shoes

Vegetable Tanned Leather Shoes-Leafy Souls Vegan Blog Post

What is leather?

Leather is a flexible and palpable material with a history spanning thousands of years back in time. It is made from the skin of a dead animal, keeping our ancestors warm during hard times without a home or heating. The most standard type of leather used today is that from a cow hide. Instead of this skin becoming a waste product of the dead animal, the biodegradable material makes for a great alternative to environmentally harmful products. But as we shall see, it all depends on how the leather is treated.

Why is it called Vegetable Tanning?

Moving on from high heels, we explore one of our favorites - gladiator sandals for women. Vegetable tanning is one of the most ancient methods of tanning leather. The name has nothing to do with it being vegan. It refers to a method of tanning cowhide into leather that has been around for centuries. The reason for it being called vegetable has to do with the fact that the tanning process uses natural materials like tree bark.

For shoe connoisseurs, there is nothing better than vegetable-tanned leather. Its superior quality finishes the leather in a natural way, leaving it with an earthy texture and scent. Vegetable tanned leather is a process that requires more time and money than modern-day techniques. This results in the shoe costing more for the consumer. But it is worth it.

Some Disadvantages

The disadvantages in using vegetable-tanned leather includes a production time of two months as well as the high consumption of water, although this may be seen as a pro when we compare the risks taken when using other, chemical-based processed. The method of vegetable tanning must be executed by experienced which are hard to find workers. And in the end, vegetable tanning is more expensive, but at least the product can then be set at a higher price and seen as a luxury item.

Big Advantages 

Vegetable-tanned leather makes use of its high quality. The colors and textures have a more natural and organic look, it is irregular and handmade which can be leveraged for a unique and genuine aesthetic. It is high in durability and strength, being even far more efficient than the majority of the synthetic materials. There are no negative effects on our or the environment’s health - it is chemical free and biodegradable - and it can last an entire lifetime!

The more it ages the more it turns in colour - a sort of caramelization appears making it a unique patina the more it gets used. If the final product is slightly damaged, it can be taken apart and the leather can be reused. And finally, it can only be obtained from cattle that lived a good life - which in turn gives ta good, strong leather. It is always a sub-product of the meat industry that values a slower life and an eco-sustainable industry

Eco-Friendly for Our Planet

Tanning leather with this process means that the leather will have different tones and shades in colour. The lack of consistency is actually how you know that the leather is of high quality. It cannot be compared to other methods of tanning such as chrome or chemically dyed leather which are cheaper to make and produce, but they are not as durable. On top of all those reasons the process is environmentally-friendly and you reduce your carbon footprint while making carefully, crafted shoes.


Chrome Tanning - Popular but Dangerous

According to PAP, chrome-tanning is the most popular. It is the method used regularly in the fashion industry. It is effective and producing a soft and uniform leather is fast - taking only a few days. Before being dyed and painted, the leather is pale blue in color and with a strong industrial smell that frequently remains in the final product.

It is controversial because the process uses chromium salts which are harmful to the environment and our health. It is not biodegradable. However, despite all the debate and arguments against this method of tanning, it is still the most used in the industry.  

Aldehyde-tanning - Another Toxic Process 

This process is advertised as the "chromium-free". It is a popular method used in the automotive, clothing and footwear industry, and its raw appearance is very pale - basically white. But the statement is misleading as the  formaldehyde, the base chemical used in this method, is dangerous. This means that the toxicity of producing the leather must be monitored.

Ethical Shopping

Next time you find yourself buying leather, do some research. Check that the leather has been vegetable-tanned and that your leather is coming from a local meat-industry and not a farm specifically for leather. Although we may not want to kill animals for food or clothing, we can use organic materials taken from animals after they have lived a long and happy life. Alternatively, you could choose a vegan option like with these vintage style vegan leather peep toe sandals.

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Sizing Guide

In this guide you can see the detailed sizing charts to all our products

Unisex Tshirts

Width, in 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33
Length, in 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36
Sleeve length, in 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11


Width, cm 47 52.1 57.2 62.2 67.3 72.4 77.5 82.6
Length, cm 72.4 74.9 77.5 80 82.6 85.1 87.6 90.2
Sleeve length, cm 18.4 19.7 20.9 22.2 23.5 24.8 26 27.3


Women's Tees:

Width, in 17 18 19 20 22
Length, in 26 26 27 28 28
Sleeve length, in 7 8 8 8 8



Width, cm 41.2 43.8 46.3 50.2 54
Length, cm 64.4 66 67.6 69.2 70.8
Sleeve length, cm 17.3 17.9 18.5 19.1 19.7




Sleeve length, in 25 25 25 25 25 25 27 27
Length, in 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width, in 20 23 24 26 28 30 33 34


Sleeve length, cm 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 67.9 67.9
Length, cm 68.5 71.1 73.6 76.2 78.7 81.2 83.8 86.3
Width, cm 50.8 55.9 60.9 66 71.1 76.2 81.3 86.3