The legendary Tannery Horween

Even if you’re not familiar with Chicago-based Horween Leather, there’s a good chance you’ve come into contact with their products. Many iconic leather products are made of Horween leather.

Hoeven, founded in 1905, is now in the hands of the fifth generation of the family.

Nick Horween

The biggest feature of Horween is the use of old-school process. These processes have vanished along with most tanneries due to efficiency problems, but Horween still believes that such processes produce the best effect of aging leather, and it sustains.

The most famous leathers are shell cordovan and Chromexcel, both of which are produced using a process that has been used for more than 100 years. The tanning technology of shell cordovan is completely original by the founder.

Horween Shell Cordovan

The materials of tanning liquid are still natural raw materials such as beeswax, tallow and lanolin.

Dyeing or finishing of leather is recognized as Horween’s forte. Horween applies dye by hand in a similar way to wood dyeing, and in thin layers.

The equipment is also very old, and only some electronic controls were added to increase the stability of production.

There are several well-known products: Chromexcel, Shell Cordovan, Essex and Dublin.

Essex is the most original veg-tan leather for the best aging effect.


Dublin is characterized by a copper color produced by aging.


Dearborn is the latest product launched, looking and touching like deerskin, but in fact cowhide.