Our materials

Everything about leather

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What makes our Black Forest® leather so special?
The special thing is that the leather was collected by us from small farms in the Freiburg region and the surrounding area with precise farm certificates of origin and dates from the autumn/winter 2021/22 period. The amount of leather is therefore very limited and only lasts for a few sandals and shoes. A lot of effort, manual work and craftsmanship goes into this. The leather is tanned purely vegetable-based in a very laborious process over many weeks, after which it is tumbled softly for hours and finished again with wax. This gives it a special feel and a great softness, it is the most sustainable and understandable thing we can currently offer.
What exactly is the Hydro Calfsuede® water-repellent for a leather?
The Hydro calf suede is a thinner split leather, which is purely vegetable tanned. It is subjected to a complex water-repellent treatment. Water simply rolls off and nothing penetrates the shoe or sandal. In short, it's waterproof, easy-care, quick-drying & breathable, water just rolls off, dirt doesn't get stuck and color abrasion is minimal. The fine suede leather is produced and processed in Germany and is purely vegetable tanned
Small introduction to the plant tannins
The production of leather with vegetable tanning agents was already known in antiquity, as numerous finds from the time of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans prove. There is a great deal of plant tannins, one distinguishes here in the tannin class, tanning agents with condensed tannins and tanning agents with local importance. Known vegetable tannins are, the oak bark, the spruce bark, the willow bark, the hemlock bark, the mimosa bark, the mangrove bark, the maletto bark, the oak wood and chestnut wood, although these are no longer used today due to their low tannin content. The most well-known tannin today comes from the South American Quebracho tree, here the tannin content is very high, the Quebracho is a renewable resource and is today imported throughout the world.
What kind of leather is processed by us?
Our leather belongs to the best there is. We would always be able to buy leather, which is much cheaper than ours. However, we want to offer by far the best quality leather. Also because we believe that our customers reward and remember this value in the longer term. Our leathers come from the region of Baden-Württemberg and are from a small tanner, which in old handcrafted his leather only vegetable tanned. A small part is still from the Allgäu, but especially the organic leather is lonely top and comes exclusively from certified farms. We process different types of leather, depending on the model and the desired strength and quality. For our Classic Thin models we use fine nubuck leather, which comes exclusively from Southern German cows, it is vegetable tanned and is grade 1a. For our Classic Dick, a special skin is used, which is slightly thicker, comes from the shoulder-neck area (not split), it is a very fine leather and comes from a small tannery (tradition for over 150 years). Our models Antique & EVO 4.0 XRD, have a very sturdy thick saddle leather, we often use it for bags or high quality furniture upholstery, tanned with the tannin from the Quebracho tree, feels almost like nubuck leather, as it has a fine strike direction , Among the highest quality and most expensive types of leather is our (Old Germany) organic leather, here the animals are allowed to age accordingly and are brought to slaughter after a good cow life, the skins come exclusively from organic certified farms.

All materials we use

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What is cactus leather exactly?
It is the world's first highly sustainable and environmentally friendly vegan organic material made from nopal cactus, also known as prickly pear. Produced in a wide variety of colors, thicknesses and textures. Cactus Leather can exceed the demands of an ever evolving industry. It is grown on a ranch in Mexico, in the state of Zacatecas. The cacti are selected and cut on the ranch. Only the mature leaves of the plant are used here, without damaging the cactus itself. The harvest rhythm takes place every 6-8 months. In addition, no irrigation system is used for the cactus, it only grows with the little rainwater and the available earth minerals. They are very rich in the Zacatecas region and great for the variety of cacti that are planted there. The selected cactus is very resilient and strong, it endures low temperatures in winter without dying, and its thorns are very small, making it easier and safer for the local farming team to harvest. We have known the material for a long time and have tested and tried different thicknesses, structures and material compositions. The most important thing for us is of course the durability. Initial tests show that it is significantly more robust than Piñatex, for example, and can keep up quite well with leather in scratch, tear and abrasion tests.
What is Piñatex?
Piñatex is the first vegan material made from natural plant fibers (pineapple leaves, a residue and waste product), which is equal to real leather in almost all properties. It's almost as tough, it's exceptional, highly sustainably sourced and completely animal-free, it's strong, versatile, breathable, soft, lightweight, flexible and easily printable, and very easy to sew and cut. It is almost 100% percent biodegradable. Attention, Piñatex is much more sensitive and needs a lot and very regular natural wax care. In the long-term durability test for comparison with the other very robust outer fabrics, e.g. OnDura® or the leather they perform significantly worse. They just aren't as strong and durable in the long run, but you get a naturally vegan material, which is extremely soft and comfortable and ideal for everyday city life.
Where does our sewing thread come from?
Often the paths are only very short, our high-quality sewing thread we get from a well-known manufacturer from Freiburg. The company Madeira yarns, she is practically a neighbor of us ;-). Here we also get, special yarn, but also special requests are considered. Our system buckles are sewn with Extra-Strong yarns, so the risk of tearing is a lot less.
What exactly is Poron XRD?
Poron XRD is a fine and special material that is only known to experts. There´s a lot to tell about this amazing material and its properties but we´re going to keep it short and simple. Poron XRD is a higher quality version of the cheap EVA that is being used as cushioning in all regular sports shoes. EVA is lighter but loses its shock absorbing properties after only a few months of wear and its structure collapses into itself. Also contrary to how EVA is being marketed it is not a shock absorbing material and doesn´t have shock absorbing properties quiet the contrary to be exact, it reflects the shock back to its origin which is your body. Poron XRD is way different it is more durable and robust so that you wouldn´t be able to damage it even when beating it with a hammer. Under load it gets compressed, takes up all the energy and reverts back into its original shape, only after 2-3 seconds it is restored back to its original shape. Because of the slow regeneration process it doesn´t reflect the shock back into your body and you walk much more comfortably. Additionally the quality is better and it is more robust. It doesn´t lose its shock absorbing properties as quickly as EVA but keeps its shock absorbing properties for years of daily use. Poron XRD is already very popular in the world of motocross sports and gets more and more popular in the shoe industry even though it is too expensive for many manufacturers. Its higher price is another reason why EVA is being used almost anywhere, but not in our products. We use the Poron XRD in 2 of our models the EVO 4.0 leather and vegan. If you want to see a live demonstration of the differences between our durable and long-lasting Poron XRD and the cheap EVA you can always come and visit us in one of our stores and see it with your own eyes.
Our anti-slip synthetic leather
Our non-slip synthetic leather is a heavy-duty textile fabric, but is industrially manufactured. It is antistatic and particularly tear-resistant, the rubber coating consists of synthetic and natural rubber mixture. It is pollutant-free and complies with the Oeko-Tex standard.
What is OnSteam® exactly?
A slightly perforated high-tech fabric that offers the highest level of comfort and a very dry foot feeling during physical exertion. It works like a blotting sheet, immediately draws moisture away in seconds, the foot always stays dry because the sweat is wicked away to the outside. We process the material, mostly indoors, wherever there is direct foot or skin contact. For example with our Único, the chalets or with the new Alpini.
What is OnDura® exactly?
This outer fabric meets the highest breaking standards. The vegan OnDura® is a highly technical fabric with high-strength fibers that offer the highest abrasion resistance and maximum breathability. It is rarely used in the shoe sector because it is too expensive and these high breaking standards are not needed, and much cheaper 3D mesh uppers are often used. The material is very light and can be water-repellent. This fabric can successfully withstand friction and fracture tests that would be unusual and unthinkable for other types of fabrics or natural fibers. In this way, the most demanding standards are met, and the fabric is certified according to ÖKO-Tex 100. The advantages: Maximum abrasion and breakage resistance. Maximum breathability. Lightweight. Possibility of applying a water-repellent treatment. Meets the most demanding durability regulations.
What is EtaDry ECO 100% Recycled Cotton Water Repellent exactly?
EtaDry is a functional cotton fabric. Extra long staple fibers are spun and twisted with a special softness and then woven in the highest possible density. The result is a dense all-weather fabric with natural properties and maximum comfort. EtaDry is rainproof, absolutely windproof and equipped with a breathability that can only be achieved with natural materials. EtaDry is 100% PFC-free and incredibly robust thanks to long-fibre organic cotton. The secret of the amazing weather resistance lies in the production of the fabric with the highest quality organic cotton. All advantages & features are listed here. EtaDry protects against rain and snow, is very windproof and protects against both cold and warm winds. The permanent hydrophobic impregnation makes the fabric highly water-repellent. The fabric has a breathability that can only be achieved with natural fibers. EtaDry products are made from renewable raw materials. The fabric is so soft and comfortable it can even be worn next to the skin. There are no disturbing noises when walking (rustling). EtaDry retains its properties for many years. It does not become brittle like synthetic materials can. EtaDry is made from only the finest and longest cotton fibers (> 36.5 mm). Only 2% of global cotton production corresponds to this fineness class.

You can find out everything about our soles here

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Which sole manufacturers do we use?
With many sandal models, Vibram® from Italy clearly comes first. The world market leader works very innovatively (as do we) and in our own endurance tests in terms of slip resistance, abrasion and durability, Vibram® is clearly number 1. For special items that require a lot of stretching and natural rubber, we are happy to use our suppliers nora® (quality from Germany), this manufacturer is used for our Run 3.0 and the high-quality sole edge of our Único. The Italian manufacturer ILGA GOMMA, among others, is used for pure natural rubber crepe soles for Chalette or Piñatex Premium. With our Único Light we work together with the German rubber and sole manufacturer Schomburg & Graf.
What exactly is the Newflex sole and what makes it special?
The total sole thickness is 5.0mm here. It's an expanded compound, so it's not vulcanized so tightly that makes it particularly light and yet it's relatively abrasion-resistant. It has a 2mm deep zigzag wave profile and has a total thickness of 5mm, which is ideal for many activities, casual or everyday use. It shows its strengths especially off-road and in the wet, even on snow it is very good. The Newflex sole is, so to speak, the "jack of all trades" and is the master sole on all EVO models, the Black Forest Premium and our Único shoe. Durability with this sole about 1.5-2.5 years depending on the mileage.
What exactly is the ECO Casual sole and what makes it special?
The total sole thickness is 3.8mm here. It is a compact compound, the density is quite high, so it has more weight and high abrasion resistance. The Vibram® ECO Crepe is recycled from old rubber residue and re-vulcanized with fresh natural rubber. It's a mix of everything, so to speak, with a minimal crepe profile of around 0.8mm. It is ideal for everyday use, whether at work, at work or in city life. Despite the low profile, the slip resistance in the wet is great. It is used in the sandal models, Antique, BIOlogy, Piñatex Premium, Chalette and in the Único shoe. Durability with this sole about 2.5-3.5 years depending on the mileage.
What exactly is the Megagrip sole and what makes it special?
The total sole thickness is 5.2mm here. Now brand new in our range Vibram® Megalug, it is a very compact mixture, the density is extremely high, so it has a very high weight and the best abrasion resistance. It comes from the Vibram® Megagrip series and is one of the best soles that Vibram® can currently produce, more is not possible. The price is also almost double that of all other soles. It was specially developed for alpine lead climbing and for rough terrain in the approach area and sport hiking. It only begins to react to friction, e.g. on the rock, and literally sticks to the stone, like the sole of a climbing shoe. The profile is extremely extreme with deep triangular self-cleaning tines 2.8mm deep. So far it has only been used in our new Alpini model. We give the sole about 2.5-4 years of durability, depending on the mileage.
What is so special about the Artic Grip sole and why not use it to slide on ice?
The total sole thickness is 5.3mm here. It is a compact mixture with a profile depth of 2.5mm, which is equipped with the outstanding sole technology, the Artic Grip Effect, specially developed by Vibram®. Usually only small corners and surfaces are worked into the sole of the Artic Grip, because these surfaces are like a kind of "sandpaper" and that's how they behave on smooth snow or ice. If you are out and about with this sole, you can, for example, walk or run on a frozen lake without any problems and without slipping. The Vibram® Artic Grip sole is therefore a very innovative technology that was specially developed for performance on wet ice. The unique polymer mixture paired with an advanced filler system and new processing technology make the sole so unique. The Vibram® Arctic Grip offers the highest performance, excellent quality and durability that is impressive. The Artic Grip sole has so far only been installed and refurbished on our new OverShoe Pro Artic Grip.
What exactly is the Berlin Edition sole and what makes it special?
The total sole thickness is 2.0mm here. It is a more compact compound and a very thin sole, with very little profile. The sole thickness here is just 1.6mm, making it the thinnest sole we offer, but it lasts surprisingly long, there are empirical values ​​of up to three strong summers (March - October). It is ideal for everyday use, whether at work, at work or in city life. Despite the very little tread, wet skid resistance is good. It is used in the sandals model, Berlin Edition and in the Único shoe. Durability with this sole about 1.5 - 2.5 years depending on the mileage.
Which natural rubber crepe is the best and do we use?
The total sole thickness of the crepe soles is 1.8mm here. We use two different crepe materials, one from the manufacturer Vibram® and one from the manufacturer nora®. Both differ in the mixture as well as in the natural rubber content. The Vibram® is overall with the lower proportion of natural rubber and more synthetic polymers, making it a bit stiffer. We need this above all with almost all thin Classic models, because otherwise the soles would fold forward and it would also make "flabby" noises when walking. Despite the synthetic polymer, the durability is pretty good, so the crepe usually lasts longer than the leather, but at least two strong summers. The crepe from nora® is significantly quicker and can be stretched very well, it is also very flexible and has excellent recovery, mainly because of the high proportion of natural rubber. However, it is unsuitable for our very thin Classic sandals, as the sandals would hardly hold on to the foot and could constantly flap down. It is only used in one model, the classic black smooth leather, since the leather here has a certain stiffness and in the Único as a sole edge impact protection. The durability is excellent for up to three summers, the sole material makes up for it.
The fine sine wave on the RUN?
The total sole thickness is 4.5mm here. It is a more compact compound, with a self-cleaning single-sided wave profile. This makes it one of the thicker soles that we offer, it lasts particularly long, there are empirical values ​​of up to four strong summers (March - October). It is ideal for off-road use, on trails, when hiking, but also for everyday use. The wave profile depth is about 1.7mm. It is only used in one sandal model, the RUN 3.0 XRD. Durability with this sole about 2.5 - 3.5 years depending on the mileage.
Can you resole sandals?
In some cases we have already done this, but the effort is very high, so that the repair costs are almost as high as the new price. It is usually the case that the cover materials that are processed on top of the sole have run through or worn away in front of the sole. It doesn't matter whether it's leather, Piñatex or synthetic covers. That's why resoling is usually not worthwhile here, since the entire punched sole would have to be replaced. However, sometimes we can still use the system buckles and that saves you up to 30% in costs. Definitely worth asking...
Can shoes be resoled and how much does it cost?
We would like to clarify a little bit here. Conventional (barefoot) shoes, regardless of the brand, usually cannot be resoled. This is due to the fact that almost all manufacturers use so-called molded soles. This means that every shoe manufacturer has its own mixture, its last and sole shape, individual colors and sole thicknesses. In itself, that would be feasible, but no shoemaker has the appropriate molded soles from every manufacturer in stock, let alone order them. These are usually well-kept secrets that are not sold on individually, the manufacturers usually do not have them in stock themselves, since they have them produced in the Far East or in Portugal and the logistical effort would be immense. In addition, the effort is also very high for the shoemaker, because almost every manufacturer now sews the molded sole with the shoe upper at the edge. Theoretically, separating and removing is only possible with the manufacturer himself, but this is not offered by almost all of them due to the cost reasons mentioned. That's not the case with us. We don't have molded soles. But an elaborate built-up sole, with a crepe protective edge, bulging with Poron XRD or cork and an individual end sole fitted according to the customer's wishes. We also sew the edge of the sole, but this is separate from the lower end sole, i.e. the seam does not have to be untied. We only pull down the last end sole and sometimes the balling and resole it. The effort is therefore significantly lower and we can do this at any time with our Único within a fair budget. It is therefore really a durable and very sustainable product, manufactured in our manufactory by our shoemakers in Freiburg, who spend many hours working on it until it is finished. All customer feedback so far has been extremely good, with many telling us "Best shoe I've ever had!" The cost of a resoling is between 45-60€, depending on which sole you want to have on it. Here not only the bottom sole is replaced, but also the fine bulging with the Poron XRD or cork, which is renewed at the same time during this process. After resoling, the shoes usually look like new again and can be worn for many more years;-)
What is the difference between Compact and Expanded Mixtures?
There is no absolutely best mixture, but only an optimal mixture for the respective area of ​​application. It's just a question of where you want to use the sandal or shoe mainly? The soles made of expanded mixtures tend to be very good all-rounders and offer sufficient traction for every occasion, even spontaneously off-road. The compact soles are significantly heavier and in some cases specially developed for certain areas of use, but certainly offer the longest durability. The manufacturer Vibram® in particular offers mixtures with the same strength but different degrees of hardness. Some Vibram® & nora® blends can be stretched up to 6 times their original length before breaking. The difference is certainly also in the production, especially in the selection of the elastomers and their mixtures. In addition, the compact soles are vulcanized with significantly higher pressure and more mass, which is why they are heavier.