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The story of our leather is the story of Coach. It began in 1941, when Coach was founded as a small, family-run workshop in a New York City loft. There, six artisans set out with a simple goal:
 to make beautiful, functional items in modern shapes and
 the finest leathers.

Click to learn how our leathers are made
Step One

Raw hides

All leathers begin as raw hides. We buy ours from 10 core tanneries we’ve chosen for their quality, consistency, and capability to make the range of colors and finishes we want. They must also meet our environmental standards—the highest in the industry.

Step Two


The next step is tanning, which preserves the leather. Chrome tanning creates a more supple leather that can take a broad range of Coach colors. Vegetable tanning produces a brown-colored leather that cannot become a pastel or take clear, bright hues.

We sometimes use vegetable tanning after chrome tanning to add character to our leathers, including our legendary glovetanned.

Step Three


After the leather has been tanned, it’s graded and split. Only top-grade leathers are selected for Coach. They are then thinned to a desired thickness for drape and a lighter weight.

The top layer of the leather has the highest value, as it preserves the natural grain. This is what Coach uses for our leatherware. Many of our competitors do not.

Step Four


Retanning is where the Coach magic begins. The leather is transformed with a unique “recipe” to develop a particular character.

During this stage, retanning agents determine the “body” and allow deep dye penetration. A custom mix of dyes is added to create a specific Coach color while ensuring complete saturation. Oils are also added to lubricate the leather fibers and impart softness.

Step Five


The way leather is dried determines how supple it will be. It can be “toggle-dried” for a loose, open grain and a soft textured feel, or flattened with a hot plate to create a smoother, firmer leather.

Step Six


The final look and feel of a Coach leather is created through several stages of finishing, including spray finishing for color and surface feel, ironing for sheen, embossing for texture, and tumbling—also known as “milling”—to slightly soften or thoroughly pebble the leather.

Step Seven

Final inspection

Finished leathers are inspected according to extremely rigorous Coach standards for quality and durability. After a final grading, they’re sent to us to be made into Coach products.

Our innovation in leather started in that loft with a worn baseball glove. Intrigued by its wonderfully soft feel and handsome patina, the founder of Coach was inspired to create a new leather with a buttery hand.
This was our original, nearly indestructible Glove Tanned Cowhide: a remarkable leather as strong as a mitt made to withstand a 90-mile-an-hour pitch, and almost impossible to tear. It was introduced in 1958 with a baseball-shaped swatch urging customers to “Feel It!”—they did, and sales soared. One American icon had inspired another.
Today at Coach, you’ll find modern glovetanned leathers as smooth and mellow as the original—you could say we have a soft spot for it. Like the original, they will burnish with use and acquire more character with time.
You’ll also find a marvelous range of new, unique Coach leathers, all made with the spirit of innovation that once led us from an old baseball glove to a legendary leather.

Leather Library

Get to know the stars of our assortment.

  • Haircalf
  • Crossgrain
  • Glovetanned
  • Pebble
  • Suede
  • Croc-Embossed
  • Shearling
  • Metallic
  • Stamped Snakeskin
  • Printed
  • Smooth Calf
  • Soft Calf
  • Exotic Embossed