As people’s environmental awareness increases, we have also seen a demand for vegetable tanned upper leathers to a greater extent than before. The shoes above are an example of such, with veg-tanned grain leather from the Swedish tannery Tärnsjö, on the Shoegazing boot Sarek that I did with Hungarian Vass a few years ago.

 

As with most veg-tanned leather, it ages a bit “more powerful” than good chrome-tanned leathers, both in terms of creasing and in how the patina develops, whether you like it or not is a matter of taste. Now, as I written before, you should be aware that the chrome-tanned leathers used for finer quality shoes almost exclusively comes from European tanneries with very high environmental requirements and closed systems that do not emit any waste, so as long as you sort your shoes as environmentally hazardous waste on the day they are thrown away (because the trivalent chromium used in tanning becomes more dangerous hexavalent chromium if burnt) no chromium will end up in nature. That being said, it’s excellent that tanneries continue to develop vegetable tanned alternatives (go more than 200 years back in history, and before that all leathers were vegetable tanned), which are not least great to replace skins from worse chrome tanneries, and which continue to push the tanning industry to improve its work with sustainability.