The name of this elegant, high gloss calf leather refers to the pre-Alpine area of Bavaria where the animals are raised and where the raw hides are coming from. Technically speaking, it is a chrome tanned crust leather with a 4% vegetable re-tanning and a thickness of 1.3 to 1.5 millimetres. The smooth but springy touch makes the Bavarian Calf a typical classic men’s shoe leather.
We dye and dress the leather ourselves using alcohol based aniline colours and a bee wax / carnauba wax composition and plenty of time and patience.Pictured above from left to right: top row - Mahogany, Toscani; middle row - Sienna Brown, Burnt Umber, Havana Ochre, Raw Sienna; bottom row - Black, Perique, Natural Umber, Warm Umber.

Pictured above from left to right: top row - Red Snuff, Port, Orange, Rusty Brown; bottom row - Yellow Ochre, Racing Green, Midnight Blue, Ice Blue.


With its 4% vegetable re-tanning, the Bavarian Calf is the ideal raw material for hot embossing. We have this process executed by a specialist company in Tuscany, where imprinting leather has a long tradition. We stain the cut shoe upper pieces in Bavarian Grain Calf by hand, with aniline dyes, as we do also the plain version.
In order to reach the smooth touch desired, each piece is also milled by hand. All other characteristics regarding maintenance and high shining are the same as with our signature Bavarian Calf.Zonkey Boot made-to-order Bavarian Grain Calf leatherPictured above from left to right: Black, Zinco. Olive Green, Verde, Purple, Midnight Blue, Perique, Natural Umber, Warm Umber, Sienna Brown, Burnt Umber, Havana Ochre, Raw Sienna, Bordeaux, Port, Rosso, Orange, Yellow Ochre, Natural.


Based on full-grown bull necks this material receives its strong grain pattern by an intentional change in PH value of the tanning solvent during the tanning process. The fibres under the grain of the leather are curling up like a woollen pullover which has been washed too hot. This shrinking process gives the leather a unique elasticity and makes outstandingly comfortable shoes. Our Shrunken Bull is hand dyed, as the Bavarian Calf.

Pictured above from left to right: Perique, Natural Umber, Warm Umber, Sienna Brown, Burnt Umber, Havana Ochre, Raw Sienna, Mahogany, Toscani.

Pictured above from left to right: Black, White, Midnight Blue, Ice Blue, Racing Green, Yellow Ochre, Orange, Red Snuff, Port, Rusty Brown.


Very light colours are especially difficult to dye by hand. That is why we keep a limited colour range of pre-dyed calf leather in stock. The tanning and origin of the skins is similar to our Bavarian Calf, but the leathers are dyed in the tannery, after the tanning process.
Since the leather has no casein coating like classic box calf does, also the burnishing is following the same laborious procedure like the Bavarian Calf.

Pictured above from left to right: top row - Black, Blue, Cuoio; second row - Natural, Cuir de Russia, Testa di Morothird row - Tan, Ambra, Rubybottom row - Castagna, Zinco, Espresso.


Resistant and tough, but still smooth and soft haired is what we expect from a good suede to be and the best of the kind come from young bulls. Full-grain suede means that its sanded flesh side is used on the outside of the shoe, while the grain on the inside remains intact and is not split off. The grain layer of the skin is mainly responsible for its elasticity and tear resistance and it makes the full-grain calf suede ideal for shoes and boots with entirely hand sewn uppers.Zonkey Boot full grain calf suedes

Pictured above from left to right: top row - Polo Brown, Trapper, Black, Gianduia; second top row from left to right - Bitter Chocolate, Snuff, Brown (920), Loden; second bottom row from left to right - Mole, New Mocca, Espresso, Mid-Brown (796); bottom row from left to right - Testa di Moro, Tobacco, Light Grey, Midnight.


We resource the Russian Calf from the American tannery Horween, which is specialised in shell cordovan and heavily oiled and waxed leathers. This treatment in combination with chrome tanning makes the leather sturdy and tough, but the embossing of the grain makes it unfortunately also hard.
To temper this effect we soften the skins with a method we have developed for the re-dressing process of the shell cordovan. Russian Calf is an all-purpose leather, which ages nicely but we wouldn’t recommend it if a soft touch is desired. Since the raw hides are mainly resourced from unsheltered cattle, the skins may show small grain marks and irregularities.
Russian Reindeer comes from the same tannery and it is based on the same raw hides from unsheltered cattle as the Russian Calf. The difference between the two leathers is that the Russian Calf has a higher oil and fat content than the Reindeer. The Russian Reindeer is therefore less hard, which also makes shoes more comfortable. Otherwise, they are both going through the same tanning process and they have the same hatch grain pattern.

Pictured above from left to right: Reindeer Black, Reindeer Dark Brown, Reindeer Walnut, Reindeer Cognac, Russian Calf Walnut, Russian Calf Long Grain Cognac.


This semi-vegetable tanned calf leather is soft and smooth and has a rich, full touch. Who likes suedes and the Shrunken Bull for their comfort will appreciate the Overdrum for the same pleasant effect on sensitive feet.  We resource the material pre-dyed in a very light tan (natural) and depart from there with the same dyeing and finishing process as with the Bavarian Calf and Shrunken Bull. With a high shine, the leather appears similar to our Bavarian Calf, but it can also be kept semi-mate for a more casual look.Overdrum Calf leather stained by hand

Pictured above from left to right: top row - Toscani, Mahogany; middle row - Sienna Brown, Burnt Umber, Havana Ochre, Raw Sienna; bottom row - Warm Umber, Natural Umber, Perique, Black.Overdrum Calf leather stained by handPictured above from left to right: top row - Natural, Red Snuff, Midnight Blue; bottom row - Rusty Brown, Port, Orange, Racing Green.


The Tuscany region in Italy has a long tradition in vegetable tanning. Often, the butt bends are used for soles and the remaining shoulder raw hides get sold to tanneries which process them into various kinds of “Vacchetta”. The tanning of the vacchetta is best done in slowly rotating huge drums with 600 skins at a time. By dyeing, dressing, glazing, embossing and many other refining treatments, the raw Vacchetta is upgraded to a sophisticated and very versatile material.
All vegetable tanned leathers become darker with age and shiny when rubbed. The high plasticity of vegetable tanned leather makes them predestined for all kinds of decorative embossing and printing.

PLAIN VACCHETTA. This is the basic Vacchetta version, only rolled and not glazed by the tannery and only dressed with the technically necessary amount of fat. We iron and polish it with shoe wax to natural antique finish. The tip of the shoe will be slightly darker. The Plain Vacchetta makes an elegant shoe that shows a touch of vintage.

Pictured above: left hand column from top to bottom - Bruciato, Zinco, Testa di Moro; middle left column from top to bottom - Crema, Camello, Cuoio; middle right column from top to bottom - Ambra, Fieno, Lampone; right hand column from top to bottom - Marine, Graphite, Black.

WAXY VACCHETTA. The waxy Vacchetta is very similar to the plain version, but contains more fat deeply embedded in the skin. The water resistance is therefore higher than with the plain Vacchetta and it shows a slight pull up effect. Though the leather can be high shined easily, its character remains rather casual compared to the plain Vacchetta.Zonkey Boot Waxy Vacchetta - vegetable tanned bovine leather

Top row (from left to right): Fiesta, Lampone; middle row (from left to right): Testa di Moro, Lattuga, Giungla, Bruciato; bottom row (from left to right): Arancio, Piombo, Cuoio, Black.

HATCH GRAIN EMBOSSED VACCHETTA. The two tone effect of the pattern design results from the hot embossing plate and the high pressure which is applied. This classic print can also be combined with the same colours of the plain Vacchetta.

Pictured above (from left to right): Black, Graphite, Testa di Moro, Bruciato, Cuoio.

TUSCAN GRAIN EMBOSSED VACCHETTA. Since less heat and pressure is applied and the embossing is less deep and not as equally distributed as the hatch grain, the look of the Tuscan grain Vacchetta is more natural. As a side effect, the leather remains also smoother and softer. The all over impression is rather casual.

Pictured above from left to right: Black, Bruciato, Graphite, Cuoio, Testa di Moro.

VACCHETTA ROVESCIO (TURNED). The suede version of the waxy Vacchetta was often used for hiking and skiing boots. With a bit of an antique finishing boots from these cheerful colours are a real eye catcher - and indestructible. Zonkey Boot Vacchetta rovescio - Vegetable tanned leather flesh side up

Pictured above from left to right: Giallo, Viola, Mogano, Bruciato, Fieno.


These horse butts are vegetable tanned and originate from Tuscany, where the use of horse leather for various purposes is still customary. Since the fibre structure of the horse skin is very different from bovine skin, also the feel of horse leather is different. The leather is almost untearable but at the same time parts of it can be very soft.
Unlike the American type Shell Cordovan, the Tuscan style horse butts contain not only the shell parts, but more material from the back part of the animal.
This horse leather has its own casual charm and touch and makes beautiful penny loafers and boots. Since the animals are not kept in stables but spend most of their life span on the paddock, small defects and irregularities on the leather are unavoidable.

Pictured above (from left to right): Horse Leather in Black & Cognac.


SHARK LEATHER is a coarse leather with a distinct natural rough texture, but feels softer than a classic box calf leather. It's easy to maintain and to shine and it is very hard wearing. The shark leather comes from non-endangered shark species and shoes made from this leather don't need CITES permit for international trade.

The ELEPHANT LEATHER trade is under strict control of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, WA). The traded units are pieces of one to two square metres and show sometimes very different grain patterns.
Unexpectedly, elephant leather has a thickness of only 1.4 to 1.6 millimetres and, as a purely chrome tanned leather, it is soft but tearproof and resistant to abrasion. Elephant leather needs no maintenance at all and by wearing the shoes, the grain will burnish by itself. One might like to enhance this effect by applying shoe wax and polishing with a brush.

Zonkey Boot Shark leather and Elephant leather

Pictured above, from left to right: Shark leather in Black, Shark Leather in Brown, Elephant leather in Grey, Elephant leather in Black and Elephant leather in Dark Brown. 


UTAH CALF comes from the Alsatian Tannerie Haas and is an embossed, dyed-through calf leather, soft and comfortable but with excellent wearing properties. Despite the embossing, this leather remains supple and is therefore very well suited for all our styles, from classic shoes to boots.

TUSCAN BOOT LEATHER. This vegetable tanned bovine leather is, unlike the Vacchetta, not solid-coloured in the drum but receives its dark brown casein colour coat only on the surface. It was originally applied with a spatula. The material is traditionally used for all kinds of saddlery and riding boots in the Maremma area of Tuscany. We have a few bundles in stock.

BARENIL. This well known waxed calf leather from an Alsatian Tannery is highly appreciated for leather goods and soft boot leathers as well. The skins are from fairly full-grown calfs and of excellent quality. We only offer the leather as long as stock lasts.

BOARDED BOX CALF. This soft calf with a fine hatch grain pattern and a casein finish is very rare because it has been hand boarded in the traditional manner.

Zonkey Boot Utah Calf, Tuscan Boot Leather and other specials

Pictured above (from left to right): Utah Calf col. Black, Utah Calf col. Dark Brown, Tuscan Boot Leather col. Dark Brown, Barenil col. Dark Brown, and Boarded Box Calf col. Black.


The brown, beige and grey wool is woven in a tight rectangular binding, whereas the blue Herringbone is a classic tweed from the Outer Hebrides, from Harris Tweed. In order to make the textiles suitable for shoes, we laminate a cotton interlining on it. Since wool contains a relatively high amount of fat, the material is sufficiently water resistant and dries very quickly.
The Loden is milled from raw sheep wool which has a high content of lanolin. By shrinking in hot water and affiliated lumbering, the fabric acquires a texture similar to felt but with high durability and water resistance, which allows us to set aside any chemical coating for waterproofing. The material has a very long tradition in the Alpine regions of Austria, Germany and Italy. We resource it from a family establishment in Tirol.Wool, Harris Tweed and Loden

Pictured above: left column from top to bottom - Wool Bordeaux and Blue Checks, Wool Brown Checks, Wool Black and Grey Checks; middle column - Loden Grey Salt & Pepper, Harris Tweed Blue/Black Herringbone, Loden Black; right column from top to bottom - Wool Mid-Brown (337), Wool Grey (068).



SHEEP FUR is by far the best suitable lining for winter boots, especially in cold climates. When ordering shoes with fur lining please let us know whether or not you want the insole socks cut from fur as well. Unless you plan to wear the boots in very harsh conditions, we recommend regular leather insole socks for shoes with fur lining and rubber soles.

CALF FUR. The skins are from small calf hides of about 0.7 to 0.9 sqm and spray dyed. Calf fur looks best on shoe patterns with uninterrupted surfaces which show the beauty of the material. It makes very comfortable shoes and in terms of softness is on par with calf suede. We recommend it on Jodhpurs, Chelsea boots and plain slip-ons. The latter are also a great choice for home-office shoes.

Sheep fur lining and Calf Fur

Pictured above: left hand column from top to bottom - Sheep Fur lining in Dark Brown, Beige, Natural and Medium Brown. Right hand column - Calf Fur in Beige, Dark Brown, Beige and Brown Zebra Print, Black.


Our calf linings are chrome tanned and resistant to bleeding. Nevertheless, since our linings have no casein coating to keep them sweat absorbing, we would not recommend to wear white cotton socks with dark lined shoes. On request we offer purely vegetable tanned lining for customers who are chromate allergic.

Pictured above from left to right: Tan (vegetable tanned calf leather), Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Gold, Grey.


Zonkey Boot elastic gussets options for Chelsea bootsPictured above from left to right: Brown with multicolour stripes, Brown with white and black stripes, Bordeaux, Off-White, Black, Medium Brown, Dark Brown and Dark Blue with multicolour stripes.