The majority of Yuko Imanishi shoes are made with environmentally friendly Vegetable-Tanned leather. This means that the leather is tanned with natural vegetable tannins including from barks, branches, leaves and fruit versus harmful chemicals that are used in Chrome and Aldehyde Tanning. The finished result of Vegetable-Tanned leathers is natural, with an earthy feel and scent. It develops a natural patina over time with prolonged use and exposure to the environment. It has a distinct appearance and unmatched durability. It is breathable and shoes made with Vegetable-Tanned leather get more comfortable the longer you use them.
There are a few key differences between Vegetable-Tanned leather and Chrome-Tanned leather. The process of Chrome-Tanning is quick, usually 2-3 days, whereas Vegetable Tanning can take up to 3 months. Given that Chrome-Tanning is much quicker to produce it is invariably less costly and is thereby utilized in 85% of global leather production. The use of chromium salts is harmful to human and environmental health, it is a carcinogenic, persistent and indestructible chemical unlike Vegetable-Tanned leather which does not have any harmful chemicals. Furthermore, Chrome-Tanned leather is no longer a natural product but is simply “dead” and not breathable unlike Vegetable-Tanned leather.
Vegetable dying leads to unique and subtle shades in colour. This lack of consistency in colour is actually not defective, as it might appear, and is typically characteristic of this high quality, natural tanning process. Furthermore, due to the more gentle processes the average length of life of vegetable tanned leather is considerably higher than that of chrome-tanned leather.
Vegetable-Tanned leather appears pristine and evenly coloured when purchased but can become uneven and stained with use. Given the use of natural dyes Vegetable-Tanned leather is still “alive” and can stain when weathered. This is natural and over time develops into a broken-in look. It is possible to clean Vegetable-Tanned leather to maintain a uniform finish. Applying oil or cream conditioner directly onto the leather will help maintain a uniform finish. You can occasionally wax your leather products to keep them in top condition. One of the pleasure of owning a pair of Vegetable-Tanned leather shoes comes in caring for and bringing out the uniqueness of your shoes.
Ultimately, Vegetable-Tanning results in a sustainable, natural, durable, artesian, unique, and fashionable hand crafted leather that never goes out of style.