What Are the Different Types of Leather That Exist Today?


Did you know that the leather industry was valued at $394 billion in 2020? Since that report came out, experts believe that its value has grown even higher.

And when you stop to think about all the types of leather goods, that makes sense. From wallets and purses to backpacks and furniture, the leather market is a part of all of our lives.

However, while many of us see leather all around us, not everyone understands the different types of leather. Today in this article, that’s exactly what we’re going to examine.

Read on to learn about some of the different leather types.

Full-Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is top of the line. If you’re looking for the best leather, a premium option that won’t disappoint, full-grain is the right choice.

Full-grain leather comes from the outermost layer of the animal hide. The hair removal process leaves behind natural imperfections, creating a stylish aesthetic that most people find desirable. Footwear, upholstery, and saddlery usually feature full-grain leather.

Holdfast is an example of a company that uses high-quality leather in all of its products.

Top-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is another premium option that also comes from the outermost part of the animal hide. The difference is that a sander removes the imperfections on top-grain leather before shipping the pieces to manufacturers.

After that, manufacturers can then smooth and dye the hide.

Wallets, purses, and wristwatches are some of the many products that often feature top-grain leather.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather can come from any part of the animal’s hide; there are no specific requirements dictating where a piece has to come from to qualify as “genuine.”

That said, all genuine leather has had its imperfections removed and buffed out by a sander.

Most leather fashion pieces like clothing, belts, and footwear come from genuine leather.

Split-Grain Leather

Also known as suede, split-grain leather comes from a lower part of the animal’s hide than the other leather types mentioned above. While it’s not the strongest type of leather, what it lacks in strength, it makes up for in flexibility.

Purses, shoes, and sofas are some of the products around us that feature suede, or split-grain leather.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is a catch-all term that refers to material that comes from 10-90% of leather. Most of the time, manufacturers use leather scraps to make bonded leather, using it as a filler.

As it’s one of the lowest quality leather types, manufacturers have to bond the leather scraps together with latex or another material.

You can find bonded leather on couches and other types of furniture.

Understand the Different Types of Leather

While many of our wardrobes and homes contain leather, not everyone stops and appreciates the many varieties. Use this guide to help you better understand the different types of leather.

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