Made from young English Ox hides, ‘Russian Grain’ is produced by an old English tannery, who specialise in traditional vegetable tanning. The tannery is believed to have been situated on its current site since Roman times, and although the name of the tannery has changed, the oak bark tanning process remains almost unchanged.
The Russian Leather produced today, is a copy of the leather produced for generations in Russia before 1918. For reasons that are not fully known, the production of this leather stopped at the time of the Russian Revolution.
Prior to 1918, Russian leather was known throughout Europe for being an extremely hardwearing material that resisted insects and the weather. It was very popular for military use and leather goods that were exposed to the elements.
In the 1970’s a diver discovered a wreck off the South West coast of England full of Russian leather, it had been in the sea for nearly 200 years and incredibly, some of the leather was still in good condition. This renewed the interest in it, but the supply of good skins was limited.
The old English Tannery, with the help of an archivist and a Russian translator, researched all known descriptions of the process. Having experimented with this information for over two years, they finally re-produced the leather that is the old Russian leather, although produced in England.
Peebles Russian Grain Last 335 | Rubber Ridgeway Sole RRP: £560 / $940
Radnor 4 Russian Grain Last 228 | Ridgeway Rubber Sole RRP: £650 / $1100
Our Russian Grain leather is made with exactly the same process used for tanning the original Russian leather.
This fascinating material includes some interesting features. The slow vegetable tannage (4 months in pits without chemicals), with an infusion of willow and oak bark liquors, produces a leather with a strong durable fibre structure and good breathability. After tanning, the leather is dressed with birch oil, which acts as a preservative, and provides some water repellency, giving it its distinctive aroma.
Finally, the leather is dyed and embossed with a cross print, based on the print used for the original Russian leather.
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