5 Things You Didn't Know About Leather

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Durable, flexible and intensely beautiful, a fine piece of leather, be it shoes, bags or clothes, could easily make for a show-stopping outfit.

The material itself is sourced from the skin of (sometimes exotic) animals, and is often the center of extremely controversial debate. Opinions divide across the spectrum, with some of angered objection, and others swearing their life by the goods.

You’d think you know a lot about leather, but do you?

Successful Shoes

Given its great durability and exquisite quality, it’s no surprise that the leather industry is a pretty ludicrous one, with annual revenues of over US$53 billion – an amount that still easily surpasses the revenues of the world’s essential products (coffee, tea, rice, rubber, cotton and sugar) combined! Leather footwear takes the cake as the most valuable interpretation of the material, representing almost 60% of the revenue.

Beautiful Books

In addition to the run-of-the-mill clothes and accessories, a leather-bound book also makes for desirable finish to books. In addition to elevating the humble paperback into something fairly majestic looking, leather also provides for extra efficient protection, protecting the papers from nasty factors like humidity, crazy temperatures, pollution, mold and critters.

Feet First

While leather is no newbie, given its thousands of years of heritage, the world’s first ever shoelace was produced only very recently in 1790. Shoes then were pretty symmetrical too, meaning you could wear your left shoe on your right and they would fit the same. It was a good 28 years after the first shoelaces were produced that properly assigned shoes were finally invented.

Great Games

Golf’s a popular sport, but have you ever wondered what exactly lies at the core of those instantly recognizable glossy-finished dimples? Today’s balls are largely filled with a low compression core, surrounded by a polymer blend, but back in the 19th century, wooden golf balls made way for handcrafted ones of cow or horse hide, which were packed to the brim with enough feathers to fill a top hat.

Human leather is a thing…

Human leather isn’t a lighthearted term that was coined with the remotest intention to allude to something. It really does mean actual leather made from the raw and full thickness of human hide. Sourced from ordinary people who have agreed to donate their skin, Human Leather is also the name of the UK-based website dedicated to this bizarre craft. Said to produce the “smoothest, softest leather on Earth” that also bears the “finest grain leather” obtainable, the website also claims to have a “small, discerning clientele”. The best part? It appears to be entirely legal.

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