Types Of Leather And Which One To Buy?

Human ingenuity and resourcefulness are what make leather a quality product. But, there are thousands of options out there so why are some expensive and some aren’t? Why do some last longer than others? How to identify good quality leather

7000 years, this long the ancient art of leather is being practiced. Physical evidence from time is a blur but researchers have been able to piece together a complete picture. With a leather sole, we have been able to develop clothes, shoes, leather bags, etc.

Even if you are planning to get crafty with Italian leather bags or just running a little errand while shopping, you need to be aware of the materials and the products you are going to buy. However, the end goal is to buy the product that best suits our needs without compromising on quality. We are best known for our quality at Leather Jackson. To know better knowledge of leather quality and types of leather keep reading the following article:


There are several variations in the material of the leather bags that completely depends upon the raw material used that includes the breed of the animal, the climate it used to live in, the food it ate, and the amount of exercise it did. The finished product is highly dependent on the lifestyle of the hide. 

What is Leather Hide?

This is a wonderful start to knowing about leather. The hide is the skin of the animal, the primary raw material used in making the leather. It has some unique characteristics that serve a specific purpose to the animal. It maintains a protective layer to keep the internal parts safe, it guards the animal against sun, water, abrasions, etc. 

The term hide is used to designate the larger animals e.g. cowhide and horsehide, whereas, skin refers to the smaller animals e.g. calfskin or kidskin.


This is the highest quality leather, generally used in making furniture and footwear. Full-grain leather bags have the uppermost layer unremoved or as the name suggests it is full hide not sanded, corrected, or weakened in any form.  This is also known as genuine leather. 

Remember in mind, some companies spray inferior leather material to make them look lavish and substitute the real-thing with an alike look of vinyl. The fact is, a very less percentage of genuine leather bags are made, so if you are getting something cheaper than the actual price claiming to be a 100% full-grain leather bag, there is a good chance of it being a hoax. 

Full-grain leather bags without the natural imperfections of the hide is known to be rare and therefore highly priced in the leather goods world. Over a period of time, since it is naturally produced, it develops a patina, that can be pleasing to our eyes.  


The second-highest grade in the leather world is top-grain leather. The cut is very much similar to that of full-grain leather, only that the top layer in top-grain leather bags is buffed or/and sanded to remove the imperfections and irregularities of the top layer. 

Due to the sanding process, this leather can be easily dyed and shaped, making the leather softer and rich feel. Also, because of its flexibility and softness, this kind of leather is used in high end leather goods including top grain leather bags, shoes, and wallets. 


For each leather possess a unique quality to serve a particular purpose, the next in the list comes genuine leather. This is produced from the remains after the top layer is split off. This can be made of any layer of the hide for that matter. The making of this leather goes through the process that gives it a uniformity, or corrected shape 

Genuine leather means it is made of real leather and the process of alteration reduces its quality and therefore it is typically used for belts, clothing, and fashion accessories like genuine leather bags, footwear, etc. 

Genuine leather bags will be made of several types of leather that are bonded together and then painted to maintain uniformity. 


This leather material can be anywhere between 10%-90% of leather manufactured from various scraps that are finely shredded and bonded together by glue or latex. Since the amount of leather varies greatly with each layer, the quality of bonded leather materials has no assured quality. Bonded leather bags are available in many surface textures and colors due to the various materials used in their making but typically manufacturers use bonded leather for couches and various furniture.


Differentiation in Types Of Leather:

  • FlexibilityHigher grades of leather are often stronger and a little stiffer. Although, your full-grain and top-grain leather will become more flexible and wear well over time. The weight also affects the thickness of the leather.Thick leather bags generally are durable and flexible materials to go for.
  • The Smell: It is a good way to determine your leather. If you have low-quality or fake leather, it will smell like chemicals and plastic. Real leather smells rich, earthy, and slightly sweet. If they are dyed or painted, consider that smell too.
  • The Grain Pattern: As described in the above part of this article, full-grain leather will have natural imperfections due to its audacity while the low-quality lather will look perfectly uniform but you can make out the difference.
  • Common Styles of Leather: Some common styles of leather you may come across while shopping as follows:
    • Heritage: It undergoes a natural oil tannage for a high-quality piece of leather and is best when it comes to traditional leather.
    • Navigator: During the tanning process, this leather is infused with oils which give it a rich creamy look.
    • Luxe grain
    • Harness
    • Pebble grain
    • Nubuck 
    • Natural 
    • Vachetta 
    • Signature

Although, it is not uncommon in the fashion world where leather bags for men and women serve as their charm, a personality trait, and lavish look. It is really necessary to have your own understanding of the type of leather, materials, and the fashion that suits you the most so you can buy a good quality leather bag.  


  • sutton

    I was so confused with how to choose a perfect leather bag for my friend , how to find out which one is best according to the need. Then I read this article and got to know about the different types of leather. This helped me in understanding the characteristics and then I picked one flawless bag for
    my friend.

  • Lucky

    This article is very informative and gave a detailed description of all the types of leather. It really helped me a lot to choose from all the available types, perfect leather according to my requirements.

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