The most important part of the shoe – high-quality shoe leather
Choosing the leather is very easy when it comes to Sioux shoes: we only settle for the best.
Genuine leather is a fascinating natural product. You are able to discover traces of a life when looking at layers of leather. The animal’s origin, farming methods – animals who were able to graze freely have fewer scars – and even the food that the animal used to eat over the course of its life plays a huge role. You can also estimate how old an animal was by examining the leather. Every piece of leather is therefore ultimately an extraordinary, unique creation. And beautiful leather can reveal its unique character in our high-quality shoes.
What’s special about leather?
Leather has a number of very special, natural properties: It is breathable, heat-insulating, stretchy, tearproof and abrasion-resistant and acts a barrier against moisture evaporation. It is also robust, making the shoe more stable and functional. From a stylistic point of view, it gives the shoe its very unique look. In order to achieve this, the raw animal hides are carefully selected, and only the best are prepared for the tanning process. What’s more: The leather gets its typical smell and exquisite look during the last step of processing – the preparation.
The best feature of leather and what makes it so great for shoe-making is its ability to naturally absorb a relatively large amount of moisture and release it as well. No other comparable material is capable of this. When the shoe is worn, it absorbs moisture produced by the feet and thus ensures a pleasant shoe climate. When it is taken off again, the leather regenerates and becomes dry and returns to its original state after 12 to 24 hours. We would particularly recommend using a wooden shoe tree.
Leather is a very traditional material to use. Just as the classic shoe models have hardly changed in terms of their construction and style since the 19th century, only leather of the finest quality has been used to produce high-quality shoes for longer than can be remembered. It’s the same now as it was back then: meticulous care needs to be taken in order to maintain its appearance and make it durable in the long run. The person wearing the shoe is rewarded with a perfect fit that keeps the foot nice and healthy too.
How do leathers differ?
When it comes to footwear, a distinction is made between the leather used for the top, lining and bottom, as well as the leather of the insole. These types of leather differ as a result of the different demands placed on them. Uppers need to be supple, breathable and robust at the same time. Due to the fact that it is in direct contact with the wearer’s foot, lining leather must be especially breathable, soft and cosy, but at the same time abrasion-resistant and colour-fast. The leather used for the outer sole, on the other hand, needs to resist absorbing any water and, most importantly, be abrasion-resistant. These different requirements are ensured by the correct selection of the raw animal hide (which kind of leather and which body part of the animal) as well using the correct processing methods to turn the raw hide into ready-to-use leather.
It is with this in mind that, at Sioux, we use only the best, tested quality of leather. This is primarily the upper layer of leather, i.e. the grain side or split leather, which is found directly underneath the grain side. We make the parts that become particularly worn down when wearing from the best part of the back. The most dense and even fibre structure can be found here. A pair of Sioux shoes are always cut from the same hide so that they look the same.
How is the correct leather selected?
Each leather hide is thoroughly inspected by Sioux’s leather buyers: perfect workmanship and a flawless grain pattern is of the utmost importance to them. The more natural the leather is, the more beautiful it is – and the more likely that it will be brought to life once more on the feet of a Sioux wearer.
The special quality of the leather is reflected in the tanning process. Sioux selects leather exclusively from tanneries that we know personally, since the leather can be followed from the source, right through to the end product at these tanneries. The high-quality leathers are mainly dyed in barrels, hence the dye penetrates the entire leather. This is guaranteed by regular checks conducted by Sioux staff in the Quality Assurance department and by independent testing institutes. Sioux has developed comprehensive compliance guidelines; each supplier is audited and approved as part of a complex process. There are only a few selected suppliers with whom we have built up a long-term business relationship. Indeed, quality is based on this level of trust. Compliance with all relevant thresholds is verified by German testing laboratories.
Whether a shoe is of high quality and long-lasting depends on the most important process involved in leather production: tanning. This is the chemical process used to transform raw animal hides into durable, supple and high-quality leather hides.
Leather only becomes the material we appreciate so much in shoes during the final step. The process carried out in the finishing shop is responsible for this change, as it receives its elegant appearance and typical smell.
Leather has been manufactured since the early history of humankind, as this high-quality and durable raw material can be used to make shoes. Native Americans developed the first-known type of shoe – the moccasin. Tanned buffalo skin was used to make these shoes. The buffalo was hunted primarily as a source of meat, but the hides, tendons and bones were processed and used for many different purposes.
At Sioux we place value on offering premium quality and comfort as well as a modern look. As a result of the various types of leather, tanning processes and colours, Sioux incorporates over 200 different varieties of leather into its collections to ensure that the highest standards are met. From non-slip, smooth leather and colourful suede and nubuck leathers, to reptile, metallic and glossy looks, everything has the same inimitable Sioux quality.