Think about the boots you own. Do you know where the leather came from? You may know what kind of leather they’re made of, but there’s a good chance you don’t know which tannery it came out of.
That’s understandable–most boot brands don’t go out of their way to advertise which tanneries they source their leather from. After all, there are over a hundred leather tanning facilities in the U.S. alone. And almost none of them are considered “household names”.
So if you see a tannery being name-dropped in an effort to sell a leather product, that tannery must be something special. Wickett & Craig is one of those names. So who is Wickett & Craig and what makes their leather special?
History of Wickett & Craig
Wickett & Craig was founded in 1867 and is a world renowned vegetable tannery. They produce lightweight leather (used to make boots, bags and belts) and heavyweight leather (used to make saddles, bridles, and straps). They supply to brands like Nicks Handmade Boots, White’s Boots and Filson.
Originally based in Toronto, Canada, in 1990 they moved their operation to Curwensville, Pennsylvania (or as they lovingly refer to it, “the middle of nowhere”). Today Wickett & Craig is one of only two vegetable tanneries in the United States, the other being Hermann Oak.
What Is Vegetable Tanning?
Well, it’s the oldest form of tanning leather. Vegetable tanned (or “veg tan”) leather is leather that has been tanned with natural materials like tree bark and other vegetable matter (leaves, fruits, nuts, etc.). It is full grain leather, so the top side hasn’t been sanded or buffed to remove the natural grain or imperfections.
Because of the process, veg tan leather starts out light in color. If left undyed, over time it will darken to a rich caramel brown when exposed to direct sunlight. It also develops a beautiful patina with use and age.
In a way, vegetable tanned leather is kind of like raw denim (the two pair nicely, too). Because of how it wears in, each piece becomes unique and special to its wearer–with every use or wear you make it yours. And just like denim heads love getting those sick fades that can’t be bought in a store, leather connoisseurs love the way a veg tan leather wears in a way that is very personalized.
One of the biggest benefits of vegetable tanning is that it is more sustainable than other methods. By using no chemicals, there is a significant reduction in environmental impact. That makes veg tan leather the most responsible kind of leather you can buy.
4 Most Popular Wickett & Craig Leathers
- English Bridle–a traditional leather that is drum dyed and hot stuffed, it is used for equestrian gear and high-end leather goods; it has an evenly colored surface.
- Traditional Harness–made using a process called jack glazing in which oils are brought to the surface to create a glossy finish that shows the leather’s natural grain; it is mostly used for equestrian gear (as the name implies) but can also be used for leather goods.
- Oiled Latigo–hot dipped in a proprietary blend of oils, waxes, and tallows, this leather is strong and pliable with a high concentration of oil that highlights its grain and character; it is commonly used for boots and leather goods.
- Double Stuffed–hot stuffed with waxes, oils, and tallows, like the Oiled Latigo but even more waxy, if you can imagine; it creates a beautiful pull-up effect that is perfect for boots and leather goods.
My Top 3 Wickett & Craig Leather Boots
1. Nicks Handmade Boots LL64
These limited run boots feature a natural finish that will develop a beautiful patina over time. They’re like the raw denim of boots.
2. Wickett & Craig x White’s Boots Custom MP Service Boot
White’s MP Service Boot is already a fantastic boot, but this special collab using W&C Latigo leather developed exclusively for White’s is really something special.
3. Isidro Chelsea in Black
This Columbian brand Chelsea boot is a great value for a stitchdown boot of this caliber. The leather is gorgeous and it can be dressy or rugged with a choice of studded or commando soles.
Wickett & Craig is a name you may come across if you’re buying boots online. When that happens you can be assured, at the very least, that the leather is good. They’ve been tanning leather the all-natural way since 1867. They are masters of their craft and they’ve got the clients to prove it–W&C supplies leather to some of the very best names in bootmaking.
So if you’ve seen a pair of sweet looking boots like the Nicks LL64s that boasts the Wickett & Craig name and you’ve wondered why they were more expensive, it’s because the leather is just that good.
Is Wickett and Craig good leather?
Yes. Wickett & Craig has more than 150 years of experience and is one of two vegetable tanneries in the United States. They tan leather using only natural materials. They make some of the best and most sustainable leather you can buy.
Where is Wickett and Craig from?
Wickett & Craig is originally from Toronto, Canada but relocated to Curwensville, Pennsylvania in 1990.
Is Wickett and Craig leather full grain?
Yes. No sanding or buffing is done to the top side of the hide, so the natural grain and characteristics remain intact.