So what is Chromexcel leather?

In short, it’s a special type of leather made only in Chicago. This leather is carefully constructed over a relatively long period. While smooth and pleasing to the eye, it can rub off on clothing. That said, it is a preferred material for boat shoes, wallets, and more.

Even leather lovers get stumped sometimes. If you have been hearing about something called Chromexcel leather and are still scratching your head trying to figure out what makes it so unique, you are about to find out!

I know everything about leather. I came into a wealth of knowledge on this topic because I became driven by personal interest and an undying passion for all things leather.

Why care about this material? You should care because it is a popular high-quality material.

Here’s what you can expect to learn about this combination tanned leather material:

You’ll learn all about what Chromexcel leather is and what makes this leather unique.

  • What is it used for?
  • How long it takes to make.
  • What you should not use it for
  • A brief history of Chromexcel leather

What is Chromexcel Leather, and Where Does it Come From?

While many types of leather come from many different places, Chromexcel leather comes from Chicago, Illinois. Chicago is the only place that produces Chromexcel leather making the material somewhat exclusive.

The Horween Leather Co. of Chicago is the only company in the world that produces Chromexcel leather. You should know that Chromexcel leather is not just some boutique fad that someone cooked up recently. This stuff has been around since the early 1900s, when it was first produced.

This leather has a rich history that is evident in every piece. If you care about history, quality, and tradition, you will be able to appreciate the true value of Chromexcel leather.

How Is Chromexcel Leather Made?

While other, more common pieces of leather take a remarkably short time to produce, a single piece of combination tanned Chromexcel leather takes 28 days to make. Although that might seem like a long time to create a single piece of leather, many folks find it worth the wait.

At least 89 separate processes go into the overall process of creating each piece of Chromexcel leather. In that there are 89 separate, individual processes that must be performed to complete a single piece of Chromexcel leather, there is an exceptional amount of detail involved. They traditionally coat the material with neatsfoot oil.

They also treat it with additional oils and waxes in a process called hot stuffing. Whether you want a pair of boots or a wallet, Horween Chromexcel leather takes a while to make.

It has a pleasant tan color that darkens over time. The tan shade that you see is unique and hard to replicate using other processes. If you want the perfect shade of tan leather, you want this material!

What is Chromexcel Leather in Terms of Key Features and Desirability?

Although some people don’t go for the aged look, many others cherish it. When you buy a different type of leather, it could take years or even decades to get an aged look.

There is just something special about a wallet that is laced with the marks of age. 

 One of the best things about this material is that it does not take many years to see the aging effect.

Chromexcel has a fascinating history. It was originally used as an engine and motor seal. They commonly used the material as an engine seal in tanks during WWII.

It was also used on a lot of other equipment during the war before eventually being incorporated into wallets and footwear.

One of the features that made it so incredibly desirable as a material for shoes is its uncanny ability to mold and flex in unison with its contents.

Something to keep in mind is the fact that Chromexcel leather tends to rub off on colored clothing. That is to say; it can cause discoloration on colored clothing that it comes into contact with. 

This material is not typically used to make bags, like handbags, purses, etc., because of its form-fitting nature.


You have never felt true comfort until you have worn a pair of boots made from Chromexcel.


learn more about picking the right size for your comfort

What Is Vegetable Tanned Leather?

Leather is typically tanned in one of two different ways. The first method produces chrome tanned leather. The second method involves vegetable tanning.

Chromexcel leather is not vegetable tanned. Vegetable-tanned leather is stiff compared to chrome-tanned leather.

That said, chrome-tanned leather is significantly softer in texture than vegetable-tanned leather.

If you want something solid and durable, vegetable-tanned leather is the way to go, but if you want something soft, smooth, and delicate, you will want Horween Chromexcel.

By choosing Horween Chromexcel, you are choosing a material that is softer and finer than vegetable-tanned leather.

Horween leather is chrome-tanned leather, making it an ideal choice for anyone looking for soft leather products.


The Horween Leather Company is the only producer of Chromexcel leather products. The point is, if you want soft leather, you don't want vegetable-tanned leather.

Who Is Nick Horween?

Nick Horween is the driving force behind it all. As the Director and Quality Manager at Horween Leather Company, he ensures that all of the Chromexcel products they produce are of the finest quality.

His family has been making products from this material for many years. Over those years, they have perfected it.

If you have any concerns about your new chrome-tanned leather products, talk to Nick Horween. He will be the first to tell you that this material is better than vegetable-tanned leather products.

If you want a high-quality pair of boots, wallet, or boat shoes, chromexcel leather is the way to go. When it comes to items like these, vegetable-tanned leather products just don't hold up.

So what makes vegetable-tanned leather so much different? It's all in the process.

Wear a pair of Chromexcel boots and see the difference!

Why Choose Horween Leather?

Horween creates this type of leather with a higher level of quality. They make it with passion, and it has a history.

Whether you choose to buy a pair of Chromexcel boots or a new wallet, you will be glad to know that you made the right decision!

Feel free to give this leather a try and see why it's so famous! This isn't just any leather; it's leather with character!


The formula has been perfected over the years until it made this leather the perfect thing to wear. When you wear this leather, you will see why it has remained so popular over the years.

Is Chromexcel Leather Right for You?

People around the world appreciate Chromexcel leather. That said, it’s not for everyone. For the most part, this material is a top choice for people that want unique and distinguished-looking wallets and shoes, including boat shoes.

Nick Horween recommends conditioning the material with neatsfoot oil.

Most people who choose to buy items made out of Chromexcel leather are comfortable making a commitment to taking good care of them.

As a material, it is delicate and requires attentive care if you want it to last for a long time without falling apart or being marred by misuse.

If a sofa consisted of this material, it would be very comfortable, but you would need to spray it with a topcoat. Without the topcoat, the sunlight will fade it quite rapidly.

Final Thoughts

Now that this article has given you insight, you can respect the craftsmanship and the history of this unique material. There is something highly special about leather in general; however, the uniqueness of this material stands out.

You just can't beat the feeling of a pair of Chromexcel boots. Chromexcel boots are built for form-fitting comfort. Likewise, Chromexcel wallets and boat shoes are equally enjoyable to own. These products have character and are famous for their quality and the perfect shade of tan.


After reading this article, don't just nod and appreciate. Go to the website and order something for yourself. No leather is free, but Horween's is worth the price! Get something made from Chromexcel today and see why it is so famous for its character!