WHICH LEATHER (GLOVES) ARE THE BEST?
A GUIDE TO LEATHER
The earliest evidence of our ancestors using leather to protect their hands from tools, rocks and the natural environment was 2 million years ago. Back in those days, folks needed to protect their hands as a way of survival.
A cut on your most important tool (your hands) could mean death as they did not have many urgent cares back then. Today we use gloves for a litany of reasons; some for survival but some for comfort and others as a fashion statement. Because there are five types of leather, we thought we would provide you with this guide.
FIVE TYPES OF LEATHER
FULL GRAIN LEATHER
The entirety of the grain is used. It is the strongest and most durable as well as the most unique looking. All of our Water Buffalo use this style.
TOP GRAIN LEATHER
This is when the top layer of the hide is solely used. It is the strongest part of the hide but because it is sanded it loses strength and is prone to staining and tearing.
This style of leather is sanded and stretched so it appears to be higher end. The blemishes and impurities are taken out and with it strength. This is a more inexpensive leather and we do not use it.
Patent leather was developed in the 18th century. It is usually a polyurethane coating applied to give a high end look. The strength will depend on the actual leather but can actually protect the product over time.
The underside of the hide is used for this style. Usually from goats, sheep and cows, this high end, soft, fuzzy appearance gives way to tearing, staining and dirt. Often times used in luxury goods.
Where does the best leather come from?
Does this really surprise you?? These beasts were holdovers from the dinosaur days, so their hides are like tank armor. While reasonable for boots and bags, the rigidity and weight do not make them ideal for other products like gloves.
Under a microscope these fibers have a unique rope like weave that maintain tensile strength even when torn. The country of Australia culls a certain number each year which is where a lot of these hides come from. We will come out with a glove soon using this textile because of the positive ecological impact. (Coming Soon)
We are obviously biased when talking about Water Buffalo but we haven't always been that way. When we started Maroon Bell Outdoor our goal was to find the absolute best materials possible. Every river lead to the same place. The Water Buffalo. So, now we are biased because we love high quality.
This hide is usually used as full grain and shockingly strong (which is why we use it). The fibers are randomly woven in a densely packed manner leaving the strongest, one of most durable leather available. We love this hide because it reminds us of a baseball mitt. When you first put it on its stiff and tight. Over time the glove molds uniquely to your hand in a customized way. It will last most people forever.
This hide also has a unique fiber structure as well as a myriad of positive characteristics creating an ideal textile for some use cases. It is however; not as strong or durable as Water Buffalo or Kangaroo (or dinosaurs).
Mooo! Everyone has probably used cow hide gloves at some point. They are the most common type of leather used for goods but it lacks in strength. We do not use this for any products right now.
You know what, this is probably a Dinosaur holdout as well. Maybe a Velociraptor? Regardless, it is not at the top of the list. The hide has a distinctive pattern and is used for luxury handbags and products. It is not as strong as the other hides.
This hide is not as strong as the others, but it is softer, lighter and a better choice when looking at various use cases. We are coming out with a deer hide glove that has Water Buffalo palms. This mixture of textiles will result in soft strength.