Nubuck

Shoes Loints of Holland is made of nubuck leather, which is supplied by the German factory "Lederfabrik Heinen". This factory for 127 years produces excellent leather.

On the website of the plant http://www.heinen-leather.de you can see 6 videos, which describe in detail all the stages of processing the skin. Here we briefly describe the process of producing Nubuck leather. The photos that illustrate our story are taken from these videos.

With its properties, leather is still an unbeatable material and can not be replaced by synthetic materials. The three-dimensional fiber structure of the natural skin, its elasticity, tear resistance and adaptability are so far unique. Leather shoes give way when the foot swells a bit during the day. The human foot releases 30 to 240 grams of sweat per day.  Leather shoes absorb sweat and remove some of it to the outside. So feet stay dry, warm and healthy. After wearing, the leather almost shrinks to the original shoe shape while releasing moisture. With good care, a leather shoe will last forever.

The raw material for the production of Nubuck leather is the skin of bulls, which is a by-product of meat production. The quality of the leather strongly depends on the quality of the raw materials.


The factory "Lederfabrik Heinen" buys cooled animal skins in the slaughterhouse. During life, bulls grazed on the green fields of Central Europe. Immediately after slaughter, bacteria begin to decompose the skin of animals. Since this natural process seriously damages the surface of the skin, it must be suppressed as quickly as possible. So animal skins quickly cool. Although in many countries the traditional way of preserving the skins with the help of salts is still used, cooling is much more environmentally friendly, since it reduces the chlorine load on water.


The cooled raw material is placed in a special barrel and filled with water. The barrel rotates with the raw material, as a result, the skins are cleaned of dirt and soaked in water. The goal is to regain the natural water content of about 65%.

In the same barrel, the liming takes place. A mixture of water and lime flushes out of the skin such substances as natural fat and protein. Further, sodium sulfite will be added to the drum, creating an alkaline medium in order to chemically remove the hair from the skin. Together soaking and liming lasts from 24 to 36 hours.

Then, subcutaneous fat, connective and adipose tissue are mechanically removed.

And  workers with sharp knives cut off all that is superfluous: the base of the tail, the navel, the knee discs and other undesirable skin areas.There is no waste: All superfluous skin parts are used ecologically meaningful. They serve the glue and gelatine industries as valuable raw materials or are used in biogas plants.


Next, the skins are cut into two layers: the upper facial and the lower. The upper face layer is the future natural leather, including the nubuck. When sawing the thickness of the upper face layer is set, so it is obtained the same thickness over the entire area.

The prepared raw materials are again placed in barrel, and at first in an environmentally safe way, with the aid of carbonic acid, lime particles which remain after liming are removed. If you do not, the skin will be stiff. Further enzymes are added in the barrel, and the raw materials is exposed to their effects, etching. This makes the fibers more flexible, and the leather becomes soft, viscous and smooth. By adding acid and salt, the pH of the skin is lowered and thus prepared for the addition of tanning agent. When the skin has reached a PH of about 3 throughout the cross-section, it is ready to add the tanning agent.

The tanning process lasts about 20 hours, is carried out in rotating barrels and is tightly controlled. Thanks to the tanning process, the leather becomes  strong and durable.

Skins can be processed with various tanning agents. The factory "Lederfabrik Heinen" uses chrome, the most widely used in the world and environmentally friendly tanning agent.
Chromium is a natural, non-toxic element that is part of the tissues of plants and animals. For example, reducing the chromium content of food and human blood leads to a decrease in the growth rate and increase in cholesterol in the blood.

Only the trivalent chromium salt is used for the tanning process.

At a low pH, the chromium molecules are very small and can penetrate the skin so well and store in the skin fibers. According to modern concepts, tanning is the process of binding collagen molecules to tanning particles.

The chrome tanning dye the skin bluish, so they are called after the tanning "wet blue".

After tanning, the very wet "wet blue" is dewatered on the wringer. Two felt rollers press a part of the water out of the skin with high pressure. Then the skin is split in half, as it is easier to work with.

On the wet "wet blue", skin defects such as scratches, scarring, or parasitic damage are particularly visible. This is completely normal for a natural product such as leather and has no statement about the quality.


Nevertheless, the skin is sorted by the degree of damage to the surface, separated from each other and sent for production with different levels of quality. At this stage, customers' orders are completed, the skin is selected and sent for further processing.

The skin is again placed in a barrel and dyes are added to achieve the desired color. An experienced master mixes the dyes to obtain the desired color with a large color palette. High quality leather of factory "Lederfabrik Heinen" is recognizable, as the dye stains the skin throughout the cross section, and the cutting edges have a corresponding shade of color.

Good leather can not be without fat! The skin fat removed in the liming is now replaced by a specially selected fat.
This influences the softness, feel and certain technical properties of the leather. The factory "Lederfabrik Heinen" uses only hydrophobic fats. These make the leather water-repellent and prevent it from becoming soaked.


The natural breathability of the leather is retained. This achieves particularly high wearing comfort and a pleasant foot climate. Now the fibers of the leather look  like this.

The fibers of the leather have become hydrophobic, they tend to avoid contact with water.

After painting and processing with hydrophobic fats, the wet leather is placed on the machine shaft and then   wring off using a press.

  Leather is stretched on a special machine and the front side is smoothed.


Now the leather needs to be dried properly. 

In vacuum drying, the leather is placed on a warm plate. 


Under the influence of vacuum, moisture is removed from the leather and the fibers are fixed.


The last drying process is done in a hanging drying. The leather releases the residual moisture to the circulating air.

Chemical reactions in the skin are completed and the moisture spreads evenly. By drying previously added products bind better to the skin fibers. This increases the fastness and gives the leather a more comfortable grip later.
Contrary to the general trend in the leather industry, the factory "Lederfabrik Heinen" gives the hanging drying a lot of time, because high-quality leather has to mature long like a good wine.

As the skin fibers stick together during drying and the leathers harden, they are softened by heavily vibrating metal pins during the staking process. This loosens the fibers and makes the leather smoother.

To give the leathers a smoother surface, they are treated on the so-called Dynasec. The leather surface is ironed in this process at about 90 ° C, pulled slightly apart and thus achieved a nicer smoothness.
The smoother a leather is, the better it can be processed in the following finishing processes.

Soft   leathers are stretched and dried on a metal frame to increase the surface area and smoothness.


Trimming removes fringes and other unwanted parts of the skin.

The leather on the back is sanded with a sandpaper machine. Thus, longer skin fibers are removed, which could adversely affect the quality of the final product in a later bonding of the leather.


The leather on the front is sanded, nubuck is created. Due to the roughened surface, it is particularly robust and durable. As scratches are less noticeable, it is particularly suitable for outdoor use.

This is how the nubuck leather is made. Masters of the company "Loints of Holland" made from this nubuck this comfortable, very high-quality footwear.

The natural product leather is refined by the tanner and equipped with various specific properties. These properties should be preserved as long as possible. This is only possible if the leather is properly maintained.

  • New shoes are prepared by the leather and shoe manufacturer so that the customer does not have to treat or care for the leather before use. Even outdoor shoes do not need special treatment before use. On the contrary: excessive rub-in with grease or similar products can negatively affect the leather quality and wearing properties.
  • Dirty leather should first be brushed off or rubbed dry. If the dirt can not be removed when dry, use a damp cloth or a moistened brush. When cleaning do not use soaps or solvents.
  • After removing the dirt, the leather must dry slowly at room temperature. Wet shoes should never be allowed to dry on the heater or under direct heat. The leather hardens and loses its suppleness.
  • The cleaned and dried nubuck leather should be roughened with a special brush again and then slightly sprayed with a commercially  silicone spray.
  • In shoe care, excessive care is not recommended. A shoe does not need to be given new care on the surface after each use. Too many care products, waxes and greases seal the surface and make it impossible to breathe the leather or the foot.
  • Shoes need a break - so shoes should be changed daily. Absorbed moisture is released back into the circulating air during the resting phase, and the leather returns to its original shape. The  breaks significantly increase the durability of the shoes.