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18 · 06 · 2021

What is Pull-Up Leather?

Written by Tigre Haller

There are many different types of leather you can choose from. Low-quality leathers include corrected grain leather, bonded leather, bicast leather, faux leathers and pleather. High-quality leathers include full-grain leather, top-grain leather, suede, nubuck, Vachetta and pull-up leather.

If you are already familiar with this last type of leather then you know it is one of the most durable and hard wearing leathers. If you are unfamiliar with it, you are about to learn what you need to know to decide if pull-up leather is right for you.

Stay with me and discover something new about this amazing material.

What is Pull-Up Leather? 

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“A rose by any other name…” while we aren’t talking about roses here, we are talking about something which is known by different names.

Pull-up leather, a natural, breathable leather, is also known as “waxed leather,” “wax pull-up leather,” “pull-up effect leather,” “oil pull-up leather,” or “oiled leather.”

By whatever name you call it, this full-grain leather is created in a very particular way in order to achieve its robust finish:

Hot oil emulsions and natural waxes are infused into the hide during the tanning process. Each cycle can take up to 6 weeks to complete, and produces a rugged yet beautifully smooth leather that can withstand most conditions.

NOTE: On a surface level, it is easy to confuse natural pull-up leather with artificially treated PU leather which is usually a cheap split leather that has been coated with paints, polyurethane foil or a plastic film. It has no breathability or mobility.

What are the characteristics of pull-up leather?

Durability and longevity

The waxes and oils combine with the leather’s fibers to create a strong bond that makes pull-up leather extremely durable. It won’t tear, flake or warp and will age beautifully over time. Actually, the more stress it’s subjected to the more attractive it will look. This is due to the...

Lightening of different areas

When pull-up leather is pulled, folded or stretched you will see lighter-hued lines, shading and color variations develop in those areas as the waxes and oils shift or are “pulled-up.”

This is one of the most desirable characteristics of aniline dyed pull-up leather as it adds an almost 3D element to your garment.

It’s also possible that scars, scratches, wrinkles and other marks natural to the hide also show through the finish which helps to create an attractive appearance.

Development of the patina on pull-up leather

Like most other natural leathers, pull-up will develop a rich patina over time - which adds so much character and depth. However, with pull-up, the patina is likely to develop quicker due to the nature of the material - as discussed above.

How does pull-up leather handle scratches?

Although pull-up leather scratches easily, it can recover quickly. Simply rub your thumb across the scratch and your natural oils and your body heat and will help the waxes to shift and the scrape will diminish. Deeper scratches might not completely disappear, but they will become part of the overall appearance. Given its inherent toughness, pull-up leather takes on scuffs and scrapes better than any other type of leather, which actually enhances its character over time.

What is made from pull-up leather? 

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Many goods are made out of pull-up leather, including furniture, bands for wrist watches, saddles and belts. But, a pair of pull-up leather boots or shoes is my absolute favorite.

The sturdiness of pull-up leather lends itself well to the rigors of footwear. Even though it is hearty, the leather is still highly malleable and becomes more supple with age. Although many styles can be made with pull-up leather, it works particularly well with workwear inspired looks like our Dowler Boots, Lopez Boots and Gallagher Boots. It looks even more amazing when fashioned into shoe ornamentation like broguing, as you can see in the Nolan Brogue Boots.

Pull-up leather shoes, like the straightforward Dunham Derbies, intricate Kent Wingtips and classic Roy Loafers make a bold statement. You can also up your sneaker game with pull-up leather Reids and Morgen Trainers.

Not to be left out, the Larsen and Jones Slippers in pull-up are great for at home comfort. And the Nieto Dopp Kit can really stand up under pressure.

What to wear with pull-up leather

You can wear pull-up leather boots and shoes with no problem in most weather. No worries about the rain as the waxes will repel the water.

Since it is naturally rugged, pull-up leather wouldn’t be the best choice to wear with suits or formal clothes. It is, however, killer to pair with jeans, corduroy and relaxed chinos. It follows that t-shirts, flannel shirts, casual jackets and sweaters will look fantastic on top.

How do you care for pull-up leather?

Caring for and cleaning pull-up leather is actually quite easy. Be careful to avoid using strong degreasing detergents as they will damage the leather.

Light abrasions can either be rubbed away by your finger or with a soft, dry cloth. For heavier cleaning, dampen the cloth and rub the blemishes away. Don’t rub too aggressively though.

If you like the different hues that are endemic to pull-up leather, this works out well. If not, you will need to treat the entire surface the same way in order to achieve a continuity of coloring. It is also important to treat both shoes the same way for uniformity.

You can keep dust and lint away by storing your pull-up leather footwear in cotton shoe bags, or lightly passing a feather duster or clean, soft cloth over the surface.

Even though the surface is highly water-resistant, you might still want to apply a waterproofing spray.


Now that you know the basics about pull-up leather, go ahead, browse our collection of shoes, boots, sneakers and try it on for yourself. You are sure to love it.

Please let me know what you think of this incredible material by leaving a comment below.


calvin e beatty Jan 12, 2023

class personified

DAVID MACY Aug 26, 2021

I agree totally with you, pull up leather is my favorite.
My Dowler boots in the pull up leather are my favorite boots that I own and the leather just keeps looking better the more I wear them.
I’m honestly looking at ordering a pair of Reid sneakers in pull up leather sometime this winter for next spring and summer…they look amazing as a sneakers.

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