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The Different Types of Horween Leathers We Use To Make Our Custom Shoes & Boots


A favourite and one of most popular leather choices for our footwear.  Chromexcel (CXL) has a glossy sheen with a pull-up effect which means when stretched or creased the tone and colour will change and become lighter.  This leather scratches more easily than others, but small scratches can also be smoothed out.  We recommend this leather for a dressier shoe or boot because of its gloss. 



This is an ideal leather to select for work boots.  In our opinion, it’s a little too tough to use for a derby shoe or a chukka boot (although it can be done).  If you are planning to use your boots for hiking or for the workshop and you want a smooth leather, latigo is a good choice.  It is a little less glossy than CXL and is more resistant to scuffs.  It also does not have the pull-up effect that CXL has and does not stretch as much as CXL. 



Predator was originally created for boots; it holds up well to scratches and is incredibly durable.  It has a drier feeling leather than CXL and is not as glossy or smooth.  We recommend this for a more casual shoe or boot that you plan on using for outdoor trips and long hikes.



It is made from top grain leather that has been sanded or buffed to give it a rough finish.  Nubuck requires less maintenance than CXL, it doesn’t require any polishing or shining – just water and a brush to clean the leather when it gets dirty.  Nubuck is not ideal to use in a dirty or muddy conditions because the porous surface makes cleaning more difficult than a smoother leather.  Because the leather isn't completely smooth, dents and scratches aren't as obvious as a glossy leather like CXL or latigo.


Rough out:

Is the reverse side of full-grain leather.  It looks and feels like suede but is much stronger and more durable.  This is a great choice for work boots because it is easy to maintain and holds up well to scuffs and scratches; we frequently use rough out for a cap-toe on a work boot where scratches are likely to occur.  As opposed to a Chromexcel which requires conditioning and polishing, simply brush off dust or dirt with a brush to maintain rough out leather.


Waxed flesh:

This leather has been heavily waxed and treated on the reverse or rough-out side, as a result it has a grainy look to it. It is a tough leather that is extremely water resistant because of the waxed treatment and is also very durable.  Suitable for formal or casual shoes or boots.


Shell cordovan:

Often described as the Rolls Royce of leather, shell cordovan is made from the butt of a horse.  It extremely durable because it is resistant to creases and has an extremely smooth glossy finish.  It can scratch and dent easily but can be buffed out.  Shell is stiffer and more difficult to work with, it also requires conditioning and polishing to maintain the leather.



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