Hermes ostrich leather is made from the skin of ostrich birds.
It’s one of the brand’s most popular exotic skins, alongside alligator, and is the most durable of all exotics.
The main distinctive feature of ostrich leather is the bumps that cover its surface.
Some people love this bumpy look while others hate it.
These bumps are actually quill follicles.
Only a small area of ostrich leather has these bumps that’s why it’s a lot more expensive than, for example, calfskin.
The tanning process of ostrich leather also takes a lot more time than the tanning of calfskin and this is another factor that contributes to its high price.
Many manufacturers imitate ostrich leather bumps on cheaper skins using a special printing technique.
This kind of leather features uniform bumps. And the bumps on real ostrich leather have a unique irregular pattern.
Of course, Hermes only uses real ostrich leather.
This leather has very limited availability at the brand’s boutiques so you can have a hard time getting access to it.
Many Hermes fans believe that ostrich leather is one of the brand’s best materials ever.
This leather is one of the strongest skins used by Hermes.
It’s durable and rigid but at the same time soft, pliable, and supple.
It’s also a super-lightweight type of leather.
So your ostrich bag will be a lot lighter than any other leather bag.
And that makes ostrich ideal for larger bags, like Birkin 35 or Lindy 34.
But large ostrich bags are very rare because large pieces of this leather with an even bump pattern and no bald spots are very scarce.
Hermes ostrich bags
Since this leather is rigid, it’s perfect for structured bags like Birkin, Kelly, Bolide, and Constance.
It’s also used on Lindy bags. Even though the leather is stiff, ostrich Lindy bags can still collapse but not as much as Clemence Lindy bags.
While ostrich is not used on the slouchy and casual Evelyne, Hermes does manufacture ostrich Picotin bags.
And these bags look surprisingly good in this material.
In addition to the bags, Hermes manufactures ostrich small leather goods, accessories, and shoes.
Ostrich leather wear and tear
Ostrich leather is very durable.
It holds its shape extremely well and doesn’t stretch out with time.
So you won’t get a floppy Birkin or any other bag.
Your purse will look great and will retain its shape almost forever with just a bit of maintenance.
There are vintage ostrich bags on the preloved market that still look amazing.
It’s also an all-weather leather that doesn’t get damaged or stained by rain or snow.
And contrary to the popular belief, it doesn’t get wrinkled or cracked with use.
Just like any other Hermes materials, it has its own set of pros and cons.
The main problems that the owners of Hermes ostrich bags face are the fading of the leather’s color and the patina that develops on the handles.
You’ll always have to store your bag away from the light, heat, and sunlight or it will fade.
If your bag gets exposed to the light for long periods of time it can also develop color zoning.
This is when parts of your bag that are exposed to the light get bleached out and parts that are hidden retain their original color.
The darker parts are the ones that are covered by straps or sangles, for example.
This effect can’t be fixed, especially at home.
So just try to prevent the color zoning effect by storing the bag away from light.
Even though it’s very durable, Hermes Ostrich leather can still get scratched.
But it won’t get scratched as easily as Box or Barenia leather.
Hermes Ostrich leather care and maintenance
The good news is that this leather is pretty much low-maintenance.
There are just a few precautions you should take if you want to keep your bag in great condition.
Since the exposure of your bag to light can result in color fading and color zoning, the best way of storing your ostrich bag is, of course, keeping it in a dustbag and wrapped in acid-free tissue paper for additional protection.
Don’t forget to stuff it with tissue paper or place a special bag pillow inside to help your Hermes bag keep its shape.
And of course, put it away in a dry and dark place.
Don’t let your bag sit out on display on an open shelf.
You can just place it there to take some photos and later move it to a dark place in its dustbag.
An ostrich bag’s handles can also darken from use and develop a patina. Many people don’t like their bag’s handles to be darker than the body of the bag.
So try to protect the handles from oils, perspiration, and direct sunlight too.
Don’t use a hand lotion or cream if you’re going to be handling your Hermes ostrich bag.
And when you place your bag inside a dust bag make sure it covers the handles as well.
You can also wrap twillies over your bag’s handles for added protection while you’re wearing it.
This will delay the darkening of the handles and will make your bag look even prettier.
Hermes makes a whole range of silk twillies so you can always buy one or two to match your purse.
Or you can get a twilly from any other brand that you like.
Some people even use special handle wraps instead of twillies or wear gloves.
If your handles have darkened you can send your ostrich bag to an official Hemes spa and they can try to restore your bag for you.
The discoloration or darkening sometimes can’t be fixed.
But the spa can replace the bag’s handles.
However, new handles may end up looking lighter or darker than the rest of your bag.
If you want to try to remove the patina on the handles or clean your bag’s surface at home then the safest way to clean ostrich leather is by using a special gentle leather cleaner with a soft buffing cloth.
Never use any kind of baby wipes or soap to clean it because they can ruin exotic leathers.
For light cleaning, just wipe the bag with a dry soft leather buffing cloth from time to time. It’s very absorbent and will clean the bag well.
If you get a bit of water on your bag just wipe it off with a dry cloth too. It won’t ruin the leather.
Any stains that appear with the exposure to water will dry pretty quickly and will leave no permanent marks.
But even though Hermes ostrich is an all-weather leather that doesn’t get damaged from a few drops of rain, you shouldn’t wear it in a downpour, of course.
In case your bag gets stained rub the dirt off it gently with a soft damp leather buffing cloth.
Some stains, like hardware tarnish marks or oil stains, can be removed with a gum eraser for leather stains.
Over time your bag’s leather can become dry and dull so you may need to moisturize it from time to time.
Avoid waxing this leather, since it’s not supposed to look shiny.
Just use a wax-free colorless leather conditioner to moisturize dry or dull Hermes ostrich leather.
This conditioner can also help you buff out minor scratches.
Always condition your bag before you put it away for a long time.
Try to avoid prolonged contact of hardware with ostrich bumps. They can get damaged and peeled by the keys and lock.
If the bag’s corners or ostrich bumps get wear marks you can try to touch them up with a color dye leather repairer.
Hermes ostrich leather is one of the brand’s best leathers and a very popular exotic skin.
Your bag will hold shape and will be easy to carry.
This leather doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and with proper care, your ostrich bag can last for a lifetime and still look as new when handed down from generation to generation.
Ostrich leather even gets better with age.
Just keep it away from light and heat and wrap your bag’s handles with twillies for protection.