Leather is one of the highest quality and most valued materials available. Versatile and plentiful, you can find a large variety of leather types with different aesthetics and qualities. Two types of leather tanning processes—chrome and veg tan leather—are often confused or seen as equivalent. Allow us to show some of the differences between chrome and veg tanned leather.
Chrome Tanned Leather
Chrome leather tanning is one of the most common tanning processes you’ll see or use. This tanning process is named after the chromium used in a process that takes less time than veg tanning and typically creates a softer, thinner, and more pliable type of leather. Chrome tanned leather is ideal for products like shoes, boots, gloves, and car seats. Furthermore, you’ll find that chrome tanned leather generally repels water better than veg tanned leather, although this is not always the case.
Veg Tanned Leather
Veg tanned leather refers to the tanning method to turn cowhide into leather using plant-based tannins. Contrary to what the name implies, no vegetables are involved. Instead, “vegetable” refers to the natural materials used in the process, such as tree bark. By no means is veg tanning the most common method in today’s era. Still, veg tanning is one of the oldest tanning methods to exist!
This process takes up to six weeks, but it has its advantages. With this method, leather can be thicker and have more body than chrome tanned leather. This makes veg tanned leather great for creating products like belts, knife sheaths, saddles, and bags that maintain their shape. Veg tanned leather ages better than chrome tanned leather and develops a rich character and patina with time.
Which Is Better?
Now that you know the differences between chrome and veg tanned leather, you may wonder which is better. Technically, neither is better than the other. It all depends on intended use and the characteristics you desire in your leather. As we established, chrome tanned leather is preferable for gloves, boots, and other clothing items that are soft and malleable so that they’re comfortable and unrestrictive. Veg tanned leather is best for hardy designs that seek a rustic and rich appearance, thanks to the natural tanning process. If you’re ever unsure which type of process to use, you can always contact our experts at Montana Leather Company!