Dyneema and ECCO Leather Launch Thinnest, Strongest Leather Ever

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While efforts toward advancing the sustainability of leather move forward, the strength of the material is reaching new heights with Dyneema Bonded Leather.

This new material, created in a collaboration between ECCO Leather and DSM Dyneema, is staking a claim as the thinnest, but strongest leather on the market.

Dyneema fiber, long considered the strongest fiber in the world–15 times stronger than steel, yet can float on water–is combining ECCO Leather’s reputation as tanning innovators to co-develop a new leather material bonding Dyneema Composite Fabric with the rich and organic properties of premium leather.

“We effortlessly cooperate with trailblazers and state-of-the-art brands to create fabrics and materials for performance-inspired apparel, footwear and accessories that are stronger, lighter, and more durable and comfortable than anything currently available,” said Noud Steffens, global business director DSM Dyneema Performance Fabrics.

Panos Mytaros, chief executive officer of ECCO Leather, said, “We wanted to make use of extreme tear-resistant strength and superlative lightweight characteristics of Dyneema fabrics without compromising our own standards for delivering on the unique inherent qualities of high quality bovine leather. We don’t release a new leather concept unless we can achieve a balance between genuine innovation and the best attributes of genuine leather making tradition.”

Dyneema Bonded Leather is rooted in a multi-phase development sequence involving pre-tanning, bonding, and a series of interim and final-tanning stages. The first challenge was to develop a way of effectively bonding Dyneema Composite Fabric along the full surface of thinly skived high-grade bovine hide. The bonding process needed to maintain enough adhesion-integrity to withstand a battalion of secondary and final tanning processes. Achieving this bond, ECCO Leather was then able to refine the material by deploying milling, tumbling, toggling and finishing stages designed to bring out the leather’s natural qualities.

The result is a new leather featuring a fine natural surface that blends aspects of distinctive Dyneema fabric structure with the leather’s original grain pattern. Dyneema Bonded Leather by ECCO Leather delivers on the performance expectations of Dyneema fabrics matching the tensile strength and comparable leather qualities at a fraction of the weight.

[Read more about fabric innovation: Fabric Innovation Helps Outerwear Weather the Retail Storm]

This development comes as the leather industry makes strides toward cleaning up its supply chain.

Dutch chemical solutions company Stahl is launching a Sustainable Leather Campaign that aims to prepare hides for tanning in a more sustainable way, reducing wastewater and replacing traditional leather chemicals with 100 percent natural products.

Applied DNA Sciences recently added two sponsors to its leather traceability project with the BLC Leather Technology Centre. The Research Project seeks to develop and validate Applied DNA’s SigNature T-based system to provide comprehensive and verifiable leather traceability, from farm to finished products.

Under the leather certification program, Oeko-Tex inspects and certifies leather products, such as all types of clothing, leather shoes and upholstery materials, as well as products that are a mixture of textiles and leather. The certification ensures that companies and their products follow, and are manufactured in keeping with key statutory regulations, chemicals that are harmful to health and requirements from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act regarding lead.

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