Cheaney kudu leather shoes and boots: origins and benefits

Cheaney kudu leather shoes and boots: origins and benefits

Kudu leather is one of the most characteristically beautiful leathers we use at Cheaney, so much so that its unique marks, origins, strength, and suppleness warrant a spot in the limelight. 

Here, we celebrate this magnificent leather, where it comes and how it makes our boots and shoes fit and feel different. Discover everything there is to know about kudu leather and why you need to own a pair of Cheaney kudu leather shoes or boots. 

Table of contents

Where does kudu leather come from?

Kudu leather comes from a species of antelope native to Eastern and Southern Africa, from countries such as Botswana, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

The kudu is one of the largest mammals in the antelope family, with the greater kudu being the more sizable species. You can recognise the kudu by their corkscrew horns, grey or brown short-haired coat and 6-8 distinctive white back stripes and nose markings.

We only source the best leathers to make our shoes and boots at Cheaney. That’s why we purchase all our kudu leather from one of the most prestigious tanneries in the UK, C. F. Stead, Leeds, England.

What is kudu leather?: The properties of kudu leather

Kudu leather is the hide that comes from the kudu antelope, providing many unique characteristics.

Dark brown hues

The natural colour of kudu leather is dark brown or grey, which injects a bespoke beauty into any shoe design.

Here at Cheaney, we want to preserve the naturally beautiful hues of kudus in our shoes and boots, which is why our kudu leather boots and shoes come in jet black, whiskey brown and a greyish-khaki called “mole”, reflecting the natural beauty of this leather. 

Unique scars and scratches

The kudu’s natural habitat is on the eastern and southern African savannah. They typically graze amongst native to thorny bushes and sharp thickets, resulting in the most unique and compelling natural scars and scratches on their hide. These unique characteristics get preserved in the tanning process, making every hide, and therefore shoe or boot, distinctive. 

Tough and durable, yet supple

Due to the harsh environment, they live in, kudu hides are naturally strong and durable. However, they remain as soft and supple. This property makes them light and flexible around the ankle, perfect for boots. The higher tensile strength also means that shoes and boots made with kudu will withstand regular wear. 

Responsive patina

One of the defining positive features of kudu leather shoes and boots is that they age exceptionally. Due to the suppleness of the leather, the patina is highly responsive. The leather forms grooves and creases almost instantly, making them unique to you and due to the buttery softness, boots and shoes made from kudu leather require little breaking in.

Pebbled, glossy finish

Kudu leather is naturally waxy with a vintage appearance, giving it a premium glossy finish which contrasts beautifully with the rugged pebble texture. Furthermore, the hardy, waxy leather paired with our Goodyear welted soles gives these shoes and boots water-resistant properties, so you can be ready for anything, whatever the weather.

Is Kudu leather sustainable?

Kudu possesses the conservation status of “least concern”, meaning they are not an endangered species. As they are extremely populous, the South African government regulates their population.

This industry benefits local communities without hugely impacting the environmental ecosystem. So, by using kudu leather, we are helping to use materials that might otherwise have gone to waste. Kudu leather is a sustainable by-product of the local meat industry and, therefore, is a sustainable source of leather for shoe making.

Our kudu leather care guide

Kudu leather is naturally waxy, so it requires little maintenance. Moreover, because they have a rough-and-ready look, there is little need to maintain their out-of-the-box standard. We think daily wear and tear and the odd scuff adds to the distressed, idiosyncratic nature of these shoes and boots. 

However, if you don’t wear them in your regular shoe rotation, kudu boots can become hardened and dry. If you find this occurring, it’s time to give your kudu shoes or boots some TLC.

First, we recommend cleaning any dirt from your boots with a wet cotton cloth and leaving it to dry. Then, to clean the welt, use our welt-cleaning brush. Next, to replenish the moisture, add a small amount of Saphire Medaille D’or Renovateur Cream to a cotton cloth, and rub it into the leather. Then leave to dry for three minutes before using a soft-bristled brush to polish.

This neutral cream gently cleans the leather while adding nourishment and protection without compromising the natural colour. We recommend not using dark colour polish as this will alter the beautiful colour of your kudu shoes.

Always store them in a cotton shoe or boot bag and use shoe trees to maintain their shape between wears.

Kudu leather in Cheaney shoes and boots

Naturally, kudu leather was the perfect option for us to use to refresh our military-style boots and rugged country shoe styles for men and women. We took full advantage of this captivating material to reinvent some of our archived shoe designs. The highly-textured kudu hide pairs perfectly with our military-style boots and shoes, originally part of the 2015 Aviator collection, adding to their rugged charm.

Our military-style boots

Kudu is the perfect option to refresh our military-style derby boots. The hardwearing leather adds to the “heavy” look of our men’s and women’s military-style kudu boots. Paired with a Goodyear welted double commando or Vibram Vi-Lite rubber sole and heel, these boots look rough and ready for anything. Yet, the super soft leather allows these boots to remain comfortable and flexible around the ankle. 

Military-style derby shoes

We also offer a range of military-style derby shoes for men and women finished in kudu leather. These heritage shoes are a nod to history while emerging as a modern classic.

In conclusion, how good is kudu leather?

The real benefit of kudu leather is that you have everything you require in one hardy shoe or boot; suppleness, strength and a distinctive, distressed grain pattern that you won’t get with any other leather.

You will ultimately get comfort married with inherent durability; what more could you want from your footwear?