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Which Country Produces Lederhosen | Globally Top Leather Producing Regions

Leather making is a large industry that produces clothing, footwear, accessories, and more. Most leather comes from cattle hides (65%), sheep (13%), goats (11%), deer, and pigs (10%). According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s estimates, approximately 1.4 billion animal hides are used in global leather production in a single year. That’s equal to one animal for every five humans on the planet, resulting in over 20 billion square feet of leather annually.

Authentic Mens Lederhosen is only made of high-quality leather and is a traditional costume in Alpine regions such as Germany and Bavaria. Some short pants with Lederhosen styling have been made with other materials, but they are not authentic Lederhosen. However, not all these outfits are made of the same kind of leather, as their source, type, thickness, quality, and processing approaches are diverse. Moreover, leather production may vary depending on the region and country. 

Where Does All the Leather Come from for Lederhosen?

Lederhosen and other leather costumes are very popular traditional German costumes. They are produced all over the world and available for sale. Munich Oktoberfest showcases leather breeches made of original full-grain cow, goat, and deer skin. The United States is one of the world's top providers of cattle hides used in tanning this leather. Other regions include Central and South America, Africa, Europe, China, Brazil, Australia, and the Middle East. Asia also supplies significant quantities due to their large cattle farming industries. Sometimes, the animals are in one country, and the tanning process occurs in another country while the Oktoberfest outfits' production takes place elsewhere. 

The quality of these hides varies greatly. For a hide to be suitable for making authentic Lederhosen, it must be large and defects-free. While minor blemishes and scars on the hide can be treated, holes cannot be fixed. For example, hides with holes, like those from Brahman cows where the skin is thinner around the dorsal hump, result in reduced usability. Such defects can decrease the usable area of the hide by up to 30%. The leather processing involves curing, soaking, liming, flushing, trimming, splitting, tanning, dying, and finishing. 

What are the Top Leather Producing Countries for Lederhosen?

Bavaria, especially Upper Bavaria, emerges as the leading area for Lederhosen production. But which countries produce the most leather? Here is the list of the top 5 countries known as the world's largest leather exporters of German Lederhosen and other leather goods. 

CHINA - Largest Leather Producer

China is currently the largest country producing leather and leather items worldwide, with an annual output nearing 4 billion square feet. A considerable amount of leather is imported from China to make Lederhosen in Germany and other countries. This includes over 2.3 billion square feet of light leather from bovine animals, 1.3 billion from sheep and goat skins, and about 400 million square feet of heavy leather, making it a leader in every leather category. From 2017 onwards, China's leather sales fluctuated, with a total of 4.5 billion meters in 2017, 3.92 billion meters in 2018, 4.3 billion meters in 2019, 3.81 billion meters in 2020, 4.48 billion meters in 2021, and so on.

BRAZIL - The Second in the List

Brazil holds the second spot in global leather production with an impressive 9.5% worldwide production. Although its output is half that of China's, its contribution to the country's exports is remarkable. Brazil's leather industry produces a substantial 1.7 billion square feet annually, primarily using bovine skin and hides to create a high-quality leather ideal for crafting German Lederhosen. Interestingly, only 4% of Brazil's leather production comes from goat and sheep hides, while only 2% is heavy leather, often used for robust Lederhosen designs. While less significant, sheep and goat leather production reaches nearly 67 million square feet, with heavy leather making up just over 34 million square feet.

ITALY - Producing Third Highest Leather

Italy ranks third, producing over 1.5 billion square feet of leather annually for Lederhosen and other goods. The majority, approximately 1.1 billion square feet, is light leather derived from bovine animals. Sheep and goat hides contribute about 401 million square feet, with the remainder being heavy leather at roughly 52 million square feet. 

RUSSIA - Fourth Largest Full Grain Leather Producer

Russia comes in fourth with a total leather production of just over 1.4 billion square feet annually. However, it's noted that leather production in Russia has been declining since the early 1990s. Most of this is light leather from bovine sources, comprising about 1.3 billion square feet. Sheep and goat leather make up 8%, and heavy leather is less than 3%.

INDIA - Makes Itself Fifth Largest in the Production

India is fifth in line, producing nearly 1.4 billion square feet of leather on a yearly basis. Interestingly, India's leather production is almost equally divided between light leather from bovine animals and light leather from sheep and goats, accounting for about 670 million square feet. This makes India the second largest producer of light leather from sheep and goat hides and skins worldwide.

What are the Major Leather Types for Lederhosen?

There are a few main types of leather used: glattleder, which is smooth and finished, and rindkernvelour, more commonly known as suede, which has a rough texture. Historically, lederhosen were primarily crafted from chamois leather, a durable and soft material. 

Full-grain leather is also popular for its natural texture and exceptional durability, maintaining the leather's integrity and strength. However, post-World War II, cattle, chamois, and full grain leathers were used as demand for lederhosen grew, and materials were readily available in Alpine regions. 

Each type of leather brings different qualities to lederhosen, affecting their appearance, durability, and comfort. Recently, innovative types of synthetic leathers have been developed using plastics and plant materials such as mushrooms and used to make sustainable Lederhosen outfits.


From traditional craftsmanship to innovative productions, the future of the leather industry remains promising. In the global leather trade for Bavarian Lederhosen and other leather products, advanced nations prefer design, technology, and quality while the poor economies take advantage of raw material costs and lower labor. Leadership in the business depends on knowing customer preferences and demands, integrating the supply chain, and producing products sustainably.

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