Understanding The Different Types of Leather


When it comes to leather, there are several options available to choose from and this might be confusing for someone who doesn’t understand what differentiates all the leathers from one another.

Not all leathers are created the same, hence why you will find differences in price ranges for similar leather products. To help you understand more about leather, here are the different types of leathers you should know.

Full Grain Leather

Full Grain Leather is the highest and finest quality grade of leather that money can buy. Full Grain is untreated and uncorrected 100% animal hide. The leather retains all the toughness of the tightly packed surface fibres. It can even show the scars and markings where the cow might have bitten or caught a barbed wire.

Full grain leather is difficult to work with and is quite expensive. Its durability makes it perfect for any use, including making handbags, furniture, shoes, and a whole lot more.

This type of leather will wear in well over time, developing a patina. It may be tough, but its soft to the touch. Full Grain leather is 100% animal hide, so it should be noted that it will not have a uniform appearance. It’s definitely a lifetime investment piece that can be passed down from generation to generation, with the proper care.

Top Grain Leather

Top Grain Leather makes up the next best leather option in terms of quality and durability. Also known as corrected leather, this leather’s surface is sanded or buffed away for the remaining layer to remain uniform in appearance. This enhancement comes at an expense of durability because the top layer of tightly packed fibres is often shorn off.

Top grain leather is also referred to as semi-aniline and aniline.  Semi-aniline is leather that has been dyed and been provided with a protective coating, and aniline is a leather that has been dyed, but hasn’t been treated in any other way.

Split Grain Leather

Split Grain Leather is found at the bottom part of the leather after it has been split. It is crafted from the fibrous part of the hide when the top grain has been separated from the raw hide.

Split Grain leather is referred to as suede because of its rougher textures and requires heavy pigmentation and plating to prevent it from having a rough and textured effect. This type of leather is not the best quality and as a result, will be mostly used to make shoes, work gloves and handbags rather than the sofas you’d sit on when browsing horse racing betting sites in Australia.

Bonded Leather

Bonded Leather is also known as Genuine Leather or marketed as being 100% leather. This type of leather contains at least 17% of actual leather but is mostly made up of fabric.

Scraps from the leather making process are grounded together into a pulp and mixed with polyurethane prior to being flattened into sheets of bonded leather. Bonded leather costs manufacturers around 5% of what they would pay for full grain leather, making it a more attractive option to reduce costs.