Discovering Ettinger

Our Leathers

Ettinger's luxury leathers explained.

The use of animal skins by man goes back thousands of years. It is undoubtedly true to say that the leather industry is one of - if not the oldest - industries known to man. As man developed his intelligence he made use of skins to protect his body.

No one can be pointed to as a particular genius in the history of the industry and it is not a history of spectacular inventions or of outstanding contributions by great names, but a steady progress stemming from the experience, integrity and skill of innumerable craftsmen tanners over literally thousands of years.

Leather is made from the skins of any animal, reptile, bird or fish, by a process called tanning. This process preserves the skin, which would otherwise quickly decay or putrefy.

From the primitive methods of early man, the industry today is highly scientifically based and constant research is applied towards improving leathers to fit in with modern living.

With a few exceptions, hides or skins are by-products. Animals are reared for meat, milk and wool and not for the value of their skins. As a consequence, the tanner is not able to control the supply of raw hides and skins, which he purchases in open markets all over the world and is in competition with tanners on a global basis. Many attempts have been made to create artificial leather however nothing can compare to the real article for durability, look and feel.

Ettinger commissions and selects the best tanned skins from a number of tanneries, all of whom are based in the E.U. Having developed special relationships with these tanneries over many years ensures we can maintain our leather supply standards and offer an extensive range of leathers, many of which are exclusive to Ettinger.

Discover our full ranges here.

Ettinger's Fine Bridle Hide

Ettinger's fine bridle leather is different to traditional bridle hide. Made especially for us, this fine bridle hide is dyed through and much finer in all respects, meaning it is much better for making small leather goods in the refined way that characterises Ettinger.

Panel Hide

Ettinger’s iconic London Tan panel leather is a vegetable tanned full grain cowhide that is made especially for us to our strict specifications. Unique in many ways, this leather is a true marker of the Ettinger style, copied elsewhere but never matched.

Traditional English Bridle Hide

The most English of all leathers, traditional bridle hide is made using a lengthy and natural process involving centuries old tanning pits and painstaking hand-finishing. It is only in this way that we can achieve the thickness, durability and especially the distinctive look and feel of this traditional equestrian leather.


Skiver is a term commonly used to describe a dressed goat or sheep skin with a patterned embossing. Traditionally it is used as a lining and for book binding because it is very thin, supple and can have many effects applied onto it. We have ours glazed and embossed with a cross grain (also called paste grain) pattern and use this to line our attaché cases.

Fine Grain Calf

This calfskin has a very fine grain, selected from the very best full grain skins is has then been chrome tanned with a classic aniline finish. This means we have retained the natural aspect of the full grain leather whilst ensuring its has a great depth of colour and its general aspect should not change much over the course of its lifetime.

Soft Dressed Calf

This leather is made with top quality Italian calf sides, which have been chrome tanned, dyed through and then drum rolled to give the leather a buttery soft touch and a slightly more pronounced grain. It is wonderful to handle and will not wear out easily.

Dressed Calf

Taking the sides only from full grain calf skins, this leather is chrome tanned to perfection then dyed through with a more pigmented finish to obtain an array of colourful tones. This leather is firm and will sustain a good amount of wear.


This superb crocodile print leather is made with Italian cowhide, which is chrome tanned, then has an aniline glazed finish and finally is embossed with a crocodile skin pattern. This croc’ print is exquisitely done and once the leather is made into a product it becomes difficult to know it isn’t real crocodile. Truly, this is the most realistic croco print leather we have ever seen!

Shadow Hide

Also called a waxy hide, this full grain leather is made with vegetable tanned yearling hides followed by an aniline treatment. It is then hand-finished with many layers of waxes and oils to give it a deep, rich aspect and the natural tones have a slightly smoky aspect, giving this leather its name.

Smooth Vegetable Tanned Calfskin

This very fine full grain calfskin has a smooth, waxy surface giving a lightly glazed impression. The smooth, natural aspect is obtained thanks to the vegetable tanning process and the classic aniline finish.

Saint Crispin

Possibly the finest calf leather we use, this aniline leather is vegetable tanned to preserve the natural beauty of the skins and is finished in a very subtle way to give it an exceptionally silky touch and allow it to burnish naturally. While this burnishable calf is delicate and will mark easily, it will also polish up beautifully to smooth over the marks. This burnishing ability means it will darken over time and acquire a unique patina.

Pig Suede

Pig suede has a silky touch and is instantly recognisable, it is naturally thin and supple and is enhanced further by several mechanical processes to massage and soften the leather. Suede is the underside of the leather, which has been finely trimmed and brushed. It is a beautiful leather for lining any accessories and bags.

Goat Leather

Goat leather, traditionally called Morocco leather, is often considered one of the finest leathers in the world. Used for bookbinding since Shakespearean times; it is known for its softness, flexibility and strength. It is one of the most resilient leathers, with a visible natural grain, that absorbs colour better than any other hide.


Ettinger Pursuits Collection bags are made using strong cotton drill, that gives the bags that distinctive English look. The navy, olive, sand and black canvases are 100% cotton drill, giving them a strong and soft feel. The ivory canvas is a blend of linen and cotton, making the fabric slightly more textured and rigid.