Latigo Leather – Everything You Need to Know!

I'm sure you've seen this hide used in plenty of bags, wallets, or belts before, and perhaps you've even wondered what it was. In this article, we'll break down everything you need to know about latigo leather, from its definition to how it affects the price of goods made with it and where it's most commonly used. But first things first, what exactly is latigo leather?

Cowhide is most frequently used to make latigo leather. Prior to further processing, the hide must first be chrome tanned, which entails immersing it in an acidic salt solution and drying it after that. After that, it is vegetable-tanned by soaking in a series of vats filled with tanning solutions with gradually higher concentrations.

The skins are tumbled in big drums after the tanning procedure is finished to absorb different oils and waxes. They become more flexible and supple while yet being strong as a result. It is distinct from other types of leather due to the combined tanning process.

What is latigo leather?

Latigo leather is a cowhide that has been tanned with a mixture of oil and wax. Latigo is one of the most durable types of cowhide, making it ideal for heavy-duty items like saddles and harnesses. It also has a deep, rich patina, making it an excellent choice for vintage-style furniture.

Some people refer to this type of cowhide as oil-tanned or waxed. The two substances combine in the tanning process, which creates a supple material with a beautiful finish. These days, many latigo hides are painted or finished with dyes before being sold to give them an even more distinctive look.

The history of latigo leather

Latigo leather is a form of vegetable-tanned, drum dyed and finished leather. It is a type of full-grain leather typically very durable and soft. Its name comes from the Spanish word for a leather strap. Latigo has been used extensively in the production of saddles, harnesses, holsters and other tacks since the 1840s, when it became popularized in California by saddle makers who had emigrated from Mexico. Due to its durability, latigo was also used during World War II to make belts for soldiers.

An early leather tannery known as Poetsch & Peterson (established in California in 1883) was renowned for generating a golden latigo. Latigo leather, which Horween Leather Co. manufactured the most in the 1970s, was purchased in huge numbers by G. H. Bass for inclusion in their sandals. Latigo is now sold at several tanneries, including The Hide & Leather House and Maverick Leather Company, to mention a couple.

Latigo leather was initially an alum-tanned leather, which implies that it was tanned by combining aluminum salts with binders with protein sources, such as wheat or egg yolks. It would later turn into chrome-tanned, which means the skins would be coloured with chemicals like chromium sulfate, salt, and acid.

This was mostly due to the fact that chromium tanning cannot be reversed, but alum tanning can. Modern latigo leather would be first chrome-tanned and then vegetable-tanned; this shift in tannage makes the leather more durable and suitable for various uses.

Latigo is the Spanish word for "whip," which was what the leather was first used for, according to its historical usage. The leather was also employed to make horse cinches; in saddlery, the cinch is known as the "latigo." Latigo leather was a favorite among boot manufacturers who specialized in making boots for cowboys; they frequently crumpled the leather before dyeing it to give each pair of boots a distinctive pattern.

How latigo leather is made

The first step in making latigo is splitting the hide into two layers. The outer, rough layer is called the 'crown,' and the inner layer is called the 'suede.' The rough side of the crown is shaved or sanded off, and then it can be used for shoe soles, belts or other purposes where a rougher surface might be desired. The suede side of the hide can be left as is for use in high-quality clothing, saddles and other items that require a softer surface. Next, if needed, seams are sewn closed with heavy thread and a needle on either end of the strap so that it will lie flat when wetted out.

A cow's skin is first chrome-tanned and then vegetable-tanned to create latigo leather. While vegetable tanning uses nutrients and products from plants, chrome tanning uses chromium salts and sulfates to tan the leather. Latigo leather is a wonderful choice for bags and cases because it has the strength that comes from chrome tanning and the hardness and durability that comes from vegetable tanning.

Following the tanning procedure, the leather is treated with an assortment of oils and waxes, with each tannery using a distinct combination. By doing this, the leather gains some suppleness while also becoming more durable.

Even though both latigo leather and chromexcel are chrome tanned, they pointed out that they differ from one another. To produce darker, earthier hues of chromexcel, a considerably darker, naturally pigmented pre-tannage is utilized. Another distinction is that latigo leather is made with a fatliquor, whereas chromexcel is hot-stuffed.

Is latigo leather real leather?

No, Latigo Leather is not a real type of leather. It is instead manufactured from synthetic materials such as polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride. Latigo Leather was created in the 1960s by DuPont Chemical Company, and its name comes from the Spanish word latiguillo, which means little strap. DuPont originally created it for use in belts, but it has since become popular for use in upholstery, shoes, handbags, and jackets.

Latigo leather is strong and flexible, making it appropriate for demanding tasks and applications with heavy use. Due to the substantial amounts of oil that are incorporated into it during manufacturing, it is moisture resistant and perspiration. Latigo is stiffer than fully chrome-tanned leather but far less rigid than vegetable-tanned leather as a consequence of this oil infusion and the partly chromium dying but also partial vegetable tanning processes. Latigo is more expensive than the majority of other cow leathers due to the higher weight and tanning process. It is not elastic and quickly transforms from stiff to flexible and soft.

How long does latigo leather last

Latigo Leather is a soft, supple and strong leather that has become very popular in the past few years. It is a full-grain cowhide that gives it durability and a natural look and feel. Latigos natural oils make it resistant to water and can be treated with oil or conditioners to extend its life even further. Latigos natural oils also give it an odor-resistant quality, so your shoes will not smell as quickly after being worn for long periods of time. All of these qualities combined make latigo one of the best types of leather for shoes, handbags, belts, holsters, chaps, vests and many other items that require natural durability without losing their good looks over time.

Advantages of latigo leather

One of the best advantages of Latigo leather is that it's an economical material and can be found in many colors, so you have many options. It also has a beautiful natural texture and is easy to care for. You can buy this type of leather at your local craft store or online.

Another advantage is that it's durable and strong, which means it will last a long time if cared for properly. Latigo is also resistant to water, which makes it perfect for people who live in humid climates or who tend to get sweaty easily when they're wearing their shoes.

If you want your shoes to look as good as new year after year, using latigo leather might be the best option for you!

Project versatility: It is a practical solution for lighter-weight products like saddle cinches and heavier-duty ones like wallets because they are available in weights from 3 to 12 ounces.

Water-Resistance: Due to its water resistance, it is quite simple to maintain.

Overall Robustness - Enables it to acquire that desired leather patina. With use, it rapidly becomes malleable after being initially more hard.

Disadvantages of latigo leather

Latigo leather is a type of natural, vegetable-tanned cowhide that has been traditionally used in the United States for saddles and another horse tack. It comes from the latigo tree, which produces oil used as a tanning agent. Latigo leather is not as strong or durable as other types of leather, but it is softer and more pliable. It also has a distinctive grain pattern. There are four main disadvantages to using latigo leather durability, color, cost and availability.

The durability of latigo leather makes it one of the weaker types of naturally tanned cowhide available on the market today.

Cost: Because it goes through both tanning procedures, its price per square foot is slightly more than that of other types of leather.

Potential Color Transfer - Some latigo leather tanning techniques, particularly alum tanning techniques, might result in color bleeding into other materials.

Where to buy this leather variety

What is Latigo Leather Latigo leather is a type of vegetable-tanned leather that can be either rough or smooth. It typically has a strong smell and requires oiling before use. The wordlatigo originates from the Spanish word for saddle, which is what this type of leather was traditionally used for.

What are the Benefits of Latigo Leather? One of the most important benefits of latigo leather is its durability and strength. It's very resistant to tearing, cutting, and ripping because it's made from thicker hides and is often heavier than other types of the hide. If your skin doesn't like contact with materials that have been treated with harsh chemicals, then this may be a good option for you as it doesn't require any treatment.

How much does it cost

Latigo leather is a type of leather that is made from the hide of cattle. It is often used in high-quality saddles and other similar types of items that require tough, durable materials. The process for creating latigo leather involves removing the hair off the animal's hide, soaking it in lime water, treating it with tannin, and then treating it with oils. For many years now, this has been considered one of the best types of leather available on the market.

The cost for latigo can vary depending on what type you're looking for and where you purchase it.

Does latigo leather scratch easily

Latigo leather is a type of cowhide, which means that it scratches easily. However, this does not mean that latigo will scratch quickly. In fact, this type of leather has great durability and can withstand the test of time. To ensure longevity, it is important to properly maintain your product and store it in an area with little exposure to water or other liquids.

Top brands that offer this type of leather

Some of the best-known brands that offer Latigo leather products are Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, MaxMara, Victoria's Secret and many others. There are some excellent offerings out there. Latigo is a very long-lasting type of material with a distinctive finish that lends itself to a variety of different designs. Be warned that buying fake or imitation leather will not look good for very long. If you want to find out what is latigo leather? Then it's always worth having a conversation with an expert retailer about their specific products on offer and getting some advice as well as feedback on what has been tried and tested in the real world before committing too deeply.

What is latigo leather used for?

Latigo is a type of unprocessed cowhide that has a medium-tight grain and features an attractive, pebbly surface. It is the durable choice for horse tack and other products subject to rugged usage. Latigo leather's natural oils repel water and provide some protection against weathering or environmental damage. Latigo has been used in the manufacture of saddles, bridles, reins, chaps, boots, belts and other products for more than 100 years.

Latigo leather gets its name from the Spanish word latiguillo, meaning little strap. It is derived from the word látigo, which means whip or lash.

Latigo leather boots combine the best of both worlds. With a pull-up leather boot or shoe, you receive the pull-up leather's simplicity of care in addition to the durability and patina typically developed with vegetable-tanned leather.

Latigo just has to be oiled or gently greased every so often weeks to stay in peak shape because it is a finely oiled leather. Given that the leather is impregnated with oils and waxes, waterproofing is simple and effectively withstands moisture. In all except the wettest situations, adding leather oil and otherwise, leather grease will greatly increase its resistance to the weather.

The leather is simple to shine. Buff the toe and indeed the heel to obtain a dull sheen after oiling or greasin' it. Even if you don't get polished shoes' high gloss mirror finish, your boots will nonetheless look fantastic.

But unlike softer leathers, they won't lose their structure as quickly. Quality Latigo leather boots are what you need if you're looking for a pair of shoes that can be worn in the workplace and the wilderness. 

The best ways to take care of this type of leather

Latigo leather is a type of vegetable-tanned leather that is generally thicker and stiffer than other types of leather. It's most often used for high-end products because it requires a lot of care. Here are some tips on how to take care of this type of leather

  • Clean with a moist sponge or towel and some soap and water. Cleaning products, solvents, polishes, oils, detergents, and waterless hand cleansers should not be used.
  • Condition the latigo at least once every six months with an appropriate conditioner specific for latigo. This will help prevent drying and cracking by keeping the pores open and flexible.
  • Store in a cool, dry place if possible.

Latigo leather cleaning is a reasonably easy process. Simply use a soft cloth and warm water mixed with moderate saddle soap, such as Fiebing's, to gently wipe the leather in tiny circular motions. It will be ready for usage or conditioning once it has been cleaned. Latigo leather often improves in appearance with time, necessitating less regular conditioning. A single application of leather conditioner over approximately six to twelve months is adequate for maintaining the leather's proper hydration.

It could be necessary to condition leather more frequently if it is susceptible to a drier environment. Latigo leather doesn't require any specific storage techniques. However, storing it indoors and distant from a humid climate would be the absolute minimum. Latigo leather may decay if exposed to moisture for an extended period of time. 


Latigo leather is a durable yet flexible material that is typically used for belts, handbags, and other types of accessories. It's made from cowhide that has been wet-milled, which allows the hide to be cut into two layers of fabric. These two layers are separated by a middle layer of suede, which gives Latigo its look. Latigo is soft but thick enough not to tear easily and strong enough to last through years of use. Latoiga can be dyed any color as well, so it's an excellent choice for a custom project. If you're looking for a durable yet versatile material for your project, then latigo leather may just be the right choice!

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