Kudu - The Grey Ghost of Southwestern Africa
Here at Rancourt & Co, Kudu suede is one of the most beautiful and durable leathers we offer. Its soft and supple qualities make the leather instantly comfortable without compromising its durability. This leather is tough as nails and comes from an animal that can withstand the harshest of environments in southern Africa. So what is Kudu?
Kudu is a type of wild African antelope native to the southwestern regions of the continent. Its preferred territory is made up of thick thorn brush and tall vegetation, causing the animal to acquire deep scratches and scrapes throughout its life. Oddly enough, they like to stay put in this habitat, even though it seems like they're taking a beating. The scars that develop are one of the most distinct characteristics of the leather as they are preserved in the hide during the tanning process. The most notable trait of kudu hides is that they are as soft as deerskin but much thicker and more durable, more like cowhide.
So how does the tough skin get to the luxurious suede that we use on our shoes? The grain side gets buffed down to a nubuck, still preserving the distinct scars, and the reverse side (flesh side) is shaved down to reveal the suede. This makes the leather a little thinner, but the natural fibers in Kudu leather are so tight, that it still preserves its durable qualities. This is why we use it for our Byron and Harrison Boot. Kudu is tough and durable while still being soft and supple and the refined look of the suede side preserves the touch of sophistication we aim for in our footwear.
The kudu leather we use is tanned by one of the finest tanneries in the world - Charles F. Stead - in Leeds, England. They are well-known worldwide for the quality leather they produce and somewhat specialize in kudu leather along with a few other tannages from African antelope (more to come on that front). If you've never worn our footwear in kudu suede, we highly recommend it. We're confident they'll become your favorite pair of shoes.
- Matthew Gondek & Kyle Rancourt
Kudu image via Britannica https://www.britannica.com/animal/kudu