How Is Leather Made?

The leather used in making shoes, handbags, belts, gloves wallets, and many kinds of clothing, furniture, and sports equipment is really the skin of animals. Usually it is taken from the hide of cattle, but pigs, sheep, goats, and calves are also used.

This skin goes through several processes before it is ready to be made into products people use. First, all the hair and flesh are removed from the skins. Then the skins are cured, or treated with chemicals, to make them soft and flexible, and keep them from rotting. This is done by tanning the leather either by the mineral tanning process or the vegetable tanning process, depending on the final use for the leather.

Mineral tanning, which uses acid and salt, is used on leather which will be used for handbags, clothing, wallets, belts, and the top parts of shoes. Vegetable tanning, which uses tannic acid from leaves and wood of trees, is used on heavy leather which will be made into the soles of shoes, cases, harnesses, and industrial belts.

The ancient Egyptians were so skilled at making leather that pieces have been preserved for 3,000 years!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “How Is Leather Made?”

  1. oha, they skin alot of animals alive not just dogs. in fact, they got a lot of animal torture goin on there besides the live skinning to get the leather. im not even gunna say it all cuz im a huge animal luvr & its extremely hard for me to know that any kind of abuse exists. but if anyone is interested in learning more about it, then check out animalsaviors.org. check under the ‘about our campaign’ section to read all about it. i recommend sticking to reading rather than watching the vid., cuz it was extremely hard for me just reading about it……… unless ur (whoever reads this is decides to check) one of those demented freaks who also likes to mistreat animals… then u could probably have the guts to watch it instead/as well.

    personally, ever since i found out the truth about leather & furs etc., i try to avoid them. i cant stand them anymore. unfortunately theres such a disgusting amount of leather here, its about impossible for me to shoe shop for some style that i actually like… all the stuff i like is of leather :(((((.

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