Materials - Leather Tanning | Think! Shoes USA
Leather is the most important material in shoe production for us at Think!. To meet our quality standards, we use only the highest-quality materials and produce exclusively in Europe. To make leather soft and supple and to be able to process it well, it must be tanned.
Leather tanning can be carried out with natural or synthetic substances. We tan all interior leather chrome-free. In the case of chrome-hypersensitivity, we recommend designs that are manufactured using entirely vegetable tanned leather. These are marked with a green flower on the inner lining.
We source water- and dirt-repellent so-called hydrophobic leather from the German Heinen leather factory, which processes leather exclusively from Germany and Central Europe. In contrast to synthetic membranes, hydrophobic leathers are much more breathable, but still always keep your feet dry.
Our partner, Heinen, regularly places in the top positions of the Leather Working Group’s (LWG) review of environmental responsibility and quality. The company’s own label “Terracare” has already received the highest possible status – the LWG gold medal. But Heinen also uses trivalent chromium salt, the most used tanning agent in the world, because in order to guarantee long durability of the external leather, pure vegetable tanning is not always possible.
The use of trivalent chromium (chromium 3) is only problematic when tanneries do not operate cleanly. Due to oxidization, hexavalent chromium (chromium 6) can be formed from inherently harmless trivalent chromium salts. Strict testing for harmful substances and adherence to EU directives are therefore imperative. The leathers from our tanneries in Germany and Italy may only contain a fraction of the limits for harmful substances set by the EU. In this way we reduce the use of chemicals to a minimum and make sure that only harmless substances are used.
Because the production process of leathers that come from Asian countries, for example, is not always completely traceable and often fails to implement environmental and social standards, we exclusively rely on our dependable European partners.