If you’re into leather or high quality goods, you may have heard of Horween’s Chromexcel leather. It’s often touted as the best leather you can buy, the crème de la crème. Horween Leather Company is a great American tannery that’s been around since 1905. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Horween Chromexcel.
But it’s important to put everything in perspective.
First, the obvious point is that Chromexcel is a chrome-tanned leather. Our leather is vegetable tanned. Apples and oranges. For more on the difference, click here.
The temper or stiffness of the Chromexcel leather isn’t really suitable for the type of old school bags we make. Chromexcel makes wonderful boot leather, but it just isn’t possible to make thick, unlined, structured bags out of it.
Horween Chromexcel leather is very expensive, especially for a chrome-tanned leather. But that’s not why we don’t use it. In fact, the leather we use is even more expensive than Chromexcel. We’re probably one of the only companies out there that could actually save money by switching to Horween’s Chromexcel.
One of the other benefits of using the vegetable tanned leather that we use is that it ages wonderfully, developing a rich patina. I think this is really important for an heirloom quality bag that you plan on keeping long term.
So, to sum it up, it’s really impossible to say that one particular leather is the “best”. Horween’s Chromexcel is a great leather. And I wouldn’t hesitate to buy leather boots made of it (the Wolverine 1000 Mile boots pictured above are awesome). But Chromexcel is not the best leather to use for our purpose.