The leathers used to manufacture NPS made footwear.

We are often asked the difference between the various types of leather and vegan material used to manufacture Solovair footwear. We have presented a brief summary of our finishes and basic care tips suited for each leather type to help you find your ideal shoe or boot.

All Solovair leather footwear is made from bovine leather, specifically cowhide. This is the most abundant leather type that is used by premium leather goods brands. With the exception of Horween Chromexcel leather (which is sourced from the USA), all our leathers are sourced from European tanneries and cattle. Bovine leather offers maximum value for money in terms of durability, elegance and texture. It is also water and abrasion resistant; but is not ‘waterproof’. 

Hi-Shine Leather

The majority of Solovair boots (including our bestselling Black 8 Eye Derby Boots) are made using smooth corrected leather. Corrected leather is created by buffing or sanding the leather grain surface to remove marks or imperfections, and then applying a man-made coating to create a Hi-Shine 'smooth' finish. 

The Hi-Shine coating is a mix of resin and polyurethane. This does contain thermoplastic which is sprayed onto the natural Leather giving multifunctional resistance and assisting with flexibility.

To clean smooth leather, we recommend using a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt. For general maintenance, apply a good quality shoe polish or cream using a dry cloth or soft brush for buffing.

Gaucho Leather

Gaucho leather is identical to Greasy leather with its full-grain and impregnated oil qualities. Gaucho leather, however, utilises a different tanning technique which enables impressions to be seen along creases when worn, to create a unique distressed look. All marks are removed by a new application of Dubbin wax or grease.

Greasy Leather

Greasy leather is full-grain quality but impregnated with an oil to give a supple, water resistant finish. Greasy leather also tends to be easier to break in than Hi-Shine leathers. You cannot achieve a shine on this leathers matte finish, it just needs to be fed with Dubbin wax, oil or grease for nourishment.

Rub-Off Leather

Rub-off is a technique applied to smooth Hi-Shine leather. To start the technique, an initial colour (e.g. Burgundy) is placed on the leather followed by a second colour application over the top in a darker colour (e.g. Black). The topcoat is then ‘rubbed off’ to reveal the initial colour below to complete the rub-off look. With time and general wear, the rub-off finish can become more pronounced.

For general leather care for rub-off leathers, we recommend our Renovating Cream.

In the initial stages of wear we would recommend that you use the Natural Renovating Cream to maintain the look of your rub off footwear.

Over time the "tone" may fade. If you are happy with the evolved colour then continue to use the Natural Renovating Cream.

You can however darken the colour by applying the Black Renovating Cream as the initial colour fades over time.  We would recommend that you test the colour in a inconspicuous part of the footwear initially to ensure you are happy with the overall effect.

Grain Leather

Our grain leather is full-grain and has impregnated oil qualities and can be nurtured, polished and waterproofed by the owner. All marks are removed by a new application of Dubbin wax or grease.

Suede & Nubuck

Our suede is made from the underside of a calf leather hide while Nubuck is made from the outer surface. It is important to note that our suede quality is superior to cheaper and inferior split-leather suede alternatives which are thinner and weaker. Our suede and Nubuck-based products therefore have the same positive characteristics as calf leather in that they are strong and durable. 

The grain of our suede products is also very fine / tight, which allows for easier maintenance and will stay true to its original colour and properties for longer after use. We still however, recommend applying a suede protectant before wearing your footwear for the first time.

Patent Leather

Patent leather is created using the same method as smooth Hi-Shine leather, the difference being that the final coating is a patent. Although glossy in finish, patent leather is not waterproof and should not be worn in extremely wet conditions. It is also important to protect the surface of patent leather from being deeply scratched or broken as the nature of patent finish means any damage cannot be restored.

Horween Leather

Our Horween (Chromexcel) is a 'pull-up' leather which comes from the world famous Horween tannery in the USA. Pull up leather is coloured using aniline dyes, and sealed with natural oils or waxes instead of paints, pigments or coatings. Characteristics of this leather type include the movement of internal greases when footwear is worn or flexed resulting in a rugged aged look, similar to that of the Gaucho finish. Due to a high grease content, any marks or scratches can be easily buffed away with Dubbin wax.