June 29, 2020

Hand Finishing of Leather

Introduction

Leather is a material created by treating animal skins in a process called tanning. It is most commonly created from cattle skins. Leather has high tensile strength and good heat insulation (stays warm in winter and cool in summer). It is also partially waterproof, abrasion resistant and fire resistant, if treated accordingly. This incredible material only gets better with age and is one of the most versatile materials ever created. 

At Markhor studio, craftsman measuring the gauge of leather

History of Leather Tanning

Tanning is a centuries old technique that dates back to prehistoric times. Starting from basic tanning procedures, to vegetable tanning (tree bark gum applied on skins) to advanced tanning techniques, the process has evolved tremendously over the years. Vegetable tanning is still considered as an important tanning technique and used in many parts of the world, including Pakistan. 

Leather tanning in Morocco

Leather Used in Markhor Footwear

At Markhor, only the highest quality leather is used which is handpicked from some of the top leather tanneries in Lahore. 

For the dress shoes and boots categories, which require some firmness to retain the shoe shape, cow crust leather is used. For the footwear that needs to be flexible and relatively softer (like loafers and chappals), semi-aniline leather is used.

Burnishable Cow Crust Leather

Burnishable leather is the type of leather which, when rubbed or buffed, becomes a shade darker. The oils of the leather surface, adding more depth and shine to the material. Burnishable leather is considered more valuable and expensive amongst other leather types.

Applying finishing waxes and creams on burnishable leather is a very enjoyable process as the gradient of hues that appear boost the overall appeal of the footwear and give it a very high end look, that’s why it is preferred leather of choice in most of Markhor’s formalwear category like Oxfords and in some chappals as well.

Burnishable cow crust leather used in Markhor footwear

Finishing Process

The finishing process of leather footwear is really important as it enhances the shine and grain of the material, taking the footwear to another level. 

At Markhor, the finishing of the shoes and chappals is done with the help of creams and waxes. The important characteristic of finishing cream is that it does not cover up any flaws, scratches or wrinkles. Hence, it can only be applied on top quality leather with a high grain. Creams and waxes is a popular choice amongst the craftsmen as it enhances the beauty of the footwear. 

Depending on the final colour that needs to be achieved, the process of mixing the dye with the cream and applying it to the leather is repeated 4-5 times until the desired final result is achieved. This method is difficult to apply in mass production and is mostly used in custom made hand patina footwear.

    

(Hand finishing process being performed by Markhor craftsman)

Markhor Cynosure Wingtip

  

(Closeup details of the Cynosure Wingtip in tan)

 

The Cynosure Wingtip is one of Markhor’s earliest creations and one of the brand’s best selling formalwear. As mentioned earlier, these Wingtips are made using burnishable cow crust leather, which is finished using dyes and creams. 

The finishing material is applied on the toe and back counter to form a graceful gradient of colour on the footwear, a hand technique that has been highly appreciated by the Markhor community since the beginning. 

The craftsmen have been trained to treat this burnishable leather with great precision and accuracy and now excel at this hand finishing technique.

 

(Markhor Cynosure Wingtips in tan, burgundy and black)

 

Shop these impeccably handcrafted pairs at markhor.com


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Find your fit

 Men’s Shoe Size Conversions


6 38.5 5.5 9.25" 23.5
6.5 39 6 9.5" 24.1
7 40 6.5 9.625" 24.4
7.5 40.5 7 9.75" 24.8
8 41 7.5 9.9375" 25.4
8.5 41.5 8 10.125" 25.7
9 42 8.5 10.25" 26
9.5 42.5 9 10.4375" 26.7
10 43 9.5 10.5625" 27
10.5 43.5 10 10.75" 27.3
11 44 10.5 10.9375" 27.9
11.5 44.5 11 11.125" 28.3
12 45 11.5 11.25" 28.6
12.5 45.5 12 11.375" 28.9
13 46 12.5 11.5625" 29.4
13.5 46.5 13 11.625" 29.5
14 47 13.5 11.875" 30.2

 

 

Women’s Shoe Size Conversions

5 35.5 3 8.5" 21.6
5.5 36 3.5 8.75" 22
6 36.5 4 8.87" 22.5
6.5 37 4.5 9" 23
7 37.5 5 9.25" 23.5
7.5 38 5.5 9.37" 23.5
8 38.5 6 9.5" 23.8
8.5 39 6.5 9.68" 24.6
9 39.5 7 9.78" 25.1
9.5 40 7.5 10" 25.4
10 40.5 8 10.1" 25.9
10.5 41 8.5 10.3" 26.2
11 41.5 9 10.5" 26.7
11.5 42 9.5 10.6" 27.1
12 42.5 10 10.8" 27.6
12.5 43 10.5 11" 28
13 43.5 11 11.2" 28.4