We have given a modern application to an ancient process

At the heart of a Slack pair of shoes is an insole made from leather tanned by the classic oak bark process. Although almost invisible this inconspicuous component is the key to the comfort of our collection.

So why include a very expensive material that you cannot see ?

The answer lies in oak bark leather’s unique ability to both mould to the shape of the foot whilst having a very high tensile strength. It loves a little warmth as the shoe is first worn and soon becomes your second skin.

Normally this type of leather appears only in the highest echelons of traditional bespoke footwear but we have invented new ways of including it in both insoles and soles of modern shoe constructions as well as the classic ones which it is normally associated with. It features throughout the collection in conjunction with micro rubber and high density rubber to give a feeling of mellow support to these modernist profile soles.

All our Oak leather comes from a tannery in Colyton, Devon which occupies a site which has been making leather since Roman times. Little has changed in the process since it was invented and it still takes a complete year of moving the skins from pit to pit of water with subtly different tannage strengths. There are absolutely no modern chemicals involved and most of the hides used are sourced locally in the west country.

The first methods of tanning in early history all involved stripping the bark off trees and grinding it into a coarse powder to release the tannins into water. The type of tree used in each country tended to be one that was very plentiful, so France used chestnut but Britain used the abundant oak.

If you would like to know more about this very sustainable process got to the website of our tannery where they have a good video of their very atmospheric work www.jfjbaker.co.uk

Tim Slack