Bovine Leather Hide: Features And Applications

Buyers Guide
Bovine Leather Hide: Features And Applications

What is bovine leather?

Bovine leather is a term that is used to indicate the macro-category of the materials that are obtained from the tanning process of a bovine coat. Bovines (in Latin "Bovinae"), are a subfamily of bovids ("Bovidae") and include many animal species, including cows, buffaloes, bulls and calves, widely used and appreciated in the leather goods industry.

Bovines are very popular animals in the world, as they have great value for humans, both in commercial terms and in terms of livelihood. The main reasons why these animals are raised are without a doubt for their meat and milk, while their skin is considered a secondary and recovery product. As for the skin, it must undergo a chemical and physical transformation process before it can be used in commonly used products that we all know. This process is called "tanning" and can take place in different ways, but what interests us is that it has the main function of making the dermis of animals rot-proof and therefore not subject to alterations due to time or use.

The most common species of bovines are:

  • Cows
  • Bulls
  • Buffaloes
  • Calves
  • Bison

And their leather, once tanned, is used in different productions, among the main ones we find:

  • Furniture, upholstery, automotive
  • Belts, saddlery, bridles
  • Clothing
  • Leather goods and bags
  • Footwear

Finally, as regards the main types of bovine leather, we can make the following distinctions:

Full grain bovine Leather vs Corrected grain bovine leather
Top grain bovine leather vs Bovine split Leather
Finished bovine leather vs Crust bovine leather
    • Full grain bovine Leather: it is a bovine leather with a not covering finish (i.e. Aniline)
    • Corrected grain bovine leather: it is a bovine leather with a coating finish (i.e. Pigmented)
    • Top grain: it is the upper layer of the dermis of the animal 
    • Bovine split leather: it is the lower and cheaper part of the dermis, also called the flesh side
    • Finished bovine leather: it is a bovine leather which surface has been finished with any kind of process
    • Crust bovine Leather: it means a bovine leather which surface is natural and just tanned with no finishing processes

    We can therefore say that by bovine leather we mean a treated leather of the bovine family and that it can have the most varied forms and physical characteristics based on the use that must be made of it and the production process put in place.

    bovine leather

    Bovine leather market and Italian production

    Leather certainly represents an element of quality, not to say of luxury, since ancient times. The most prestigious leather is the one that is obtained from mammals: bovine animals, goats, sheep, lambs, buffaloes, donkeys, horses and so on. The age of the animal, its origin and its weight are all crucial factors concerning the quality of leather that will be obtained from them. Weight is also the unit of measurement in the trade of raw hides. Europe is the largest leather producer in the world and not just for the production volumes, but also for its quality. Despite the international competitors being very determined, Italy is the world leader in the tanning industry. Footwear and leather goods production (like bags and wallets) alone account for the half of the whole market, then we find the industry of other general leather goods, with 20% of market share and finally leather products for upholstery, automotive and furniture with a 20%. The remaining portion represents the leather used in the clothing field and accessories.

    bovine leather

    Calfskin leather: features

    Calf leather is a type of bovine leather hide that accounts for a class of its own: they are the most valuable and favorite ones when producing medium-small quality items. In relation to their width and weight they are endowed with a remarkable fullness: their fibers are very thin but originate a very strong material. Leather that comes from them is soft, elastic, foldable and the grain side is one of the finest. Their use is reserved for the most valuable production.

    Main uses of bovine calf leather

    Calf leather is widely used in the production of bags, wallets, jackets, footwear and garments. Calf leather has proved to be very strong, able to withstand abrasions. For this reason it is used in the manufacturing of gloves and jackets intended for heavy use, while when used for the production of shoes it originates a soft product that maintains unaltered in time its features, even if used daily. Finally, the most famous luxury brands, often choose the calfskin for their expensive leather goods productions.