Many of these exotic leathers are made from animals, snakes, and farmed reptiles, while others are made from animals poached illegally. CP Slippers does not condone or support this illegal activity, especially considering that some animals are nearing extinction. We would be remiss in producing a History of Leather collection that does not include these exotic leathers, unique hides, and glamorous skins and their story.
Just be sure to buy from reputable dealers, and you can get some durable and truly stunning leather products.
Kangaroo leather is one of the best for strong, durable shoes. The leather from a kangaroo’s hide is strong and flexible while lightweight compared to a cow’s or a goat’s. Australian Kangaroo hide is stronger than a cow’s hide of the same weight; it is pound-for-pound the strongest leather in the world. Because of the rough life they live in the outback of Australia, almost all Kangaroos have scars; this is a guarantee of their authenticity.
Elephant, Rhino, & Hippo Hide Leather
Elephant hide is also very strong and durable. Elephant leather is a very exotic thick-grained leather. You can expect it to be 3 – 5 ounces thick and very resistant to the weather, except on the fleshy side. Therefore, it will make a great pair of sturdy, long-lasting work shoes.
Hippo hide has the same rugged, tough grain texture as elephant hide, yet both are very comfortable.
Ostrich leather has one of the finest textures of these rugged leathers. And, since ostrich are farmed nearly worldwide, you shouldn’t have to worry about them being poached for their hide. The skin has a goose-bump texture from the feathers, which makes it durable and flexible yet soft, supple, and comfortable. Its leather does not crack even under extreme weather conditions, so it is long-lasting.
Ostrich leather has a “full quill” area that is the most sought-after of ostrich leathers and, thus, more expensive. Less expensive ostrich leather is the “semi quill” and the “smooth ostrich quill.” The full quill leather is most often taken from the back of the ostrich, where the largest feathers are.
American Alligator & Caiman Crocodile Leather
The American alligator is also widely farmed in the Southeastern USA, where many restaurants serve deep-fried gator morsels with French fries or rice. Alligator or ‘gator skin is a classic skin for making slippers and shoes. Although it is very rugged and durable, it is very soft and pliable. And, because it contains fewer bones, it is quite easy to work with and fold, form, cut, and stitch.
The Caiman Crocodile is farmed throughout South and Central America. Although they are related, the Caiman croc is quite different than the American Alligator in that it is more rigid because of the calcium deposits that form its scales.
Snakeskins: Rattlesnakes, Pythons, Sea Snakes, or Eel Leather
Most rattlesnakes, pythons, and eels are farmed. Some even go to the farm to pick their “snake” and choose how it will be cut to determine its exotic pattern. Depending on whether you cut across the belly (belly cut), which has the smaller scales, or the back (back cut) with very large scales, will dictate the pattern, then the skins are normally bleached to remove the natural color, though some customers may prefer it left as is.
Native American & African Tribal Techniques
Native Americans and some African tribes developed innovative techniques for turning animal hides into shoes and clothing. They soaked the skins in water mixed with hemlock, oak bark, and ashes from their campfires for a few weeks. This process removed the animal hair and any leftover flesh. They then worked the hides by hand to make them soft and pliable. Smoking and salting skins were also popular for tanning.
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