Zonkey Boot hand welted toe-cap derby boots from elephant and calf leather

When Calf Meets Elephant

Elephant leather is soft like suede and has a wrinkled grain pattern whose design varies significantly at different body parts. This robust leather is insensitive to scratches and highly resistant to abrasion. An adult African elephant, the largest living terrestrial animal, might reach a skin surface of up to 20 sqm. What a waste it would be not to make beautiful good leather out of it…

Each pair of shoes cut from elephant leather looks slightly different and gives the shoe an individual character. Yet, this material is not too flashy and matches perfectly with a classic derby boot like Charcoal (pictured above), its matte texture  contrasting with the high-gloss polished toe caps and counters in Bavarian Calf.

Pachyderms are believed to have thick skin, but actually it doesn’t differ much in thickness from bovine leathers. Since elephants are considered to be an endangered species their skins can only be traded under the control of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – called CITES. The rules of CITES guarantee that each and every skin’s origin has to be fully documented and approved by national authorities at each step of the manufacturing process and its trading.

When we buy a skin of elephant leather we obtain a CITES certificate from our supplier. When we ship the made up shoes to our customers outside EU, we have to apply at our local CITES authority (Ministry of Agriculture in Vienna) for approval of the CITES conformity of the material used for this particular shoe. All this ensures that no illegally killed elephant leather is used and traded. For more information, it is worthwile to visit the website.

February 2015

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