a guide to different types of leather

The apparel industry has long relied on leather. Leatherworking makes garments more desirable. The old craft dates back centuries with lots of terminology and tradition. It is better to know the type before you make the purchase. You might have to scroll through several social pages to understand the different types of leather. Luckily, to make shopping and selection easier, we have compiled a guide to help you learn about different types of leather and their usage.

What Makes Leather Desirable?

Certain fabric types are more desirable than others. The cost also varies as you move from normal types to other types. Velvet and leather, for instance, are highly sought after by the elite class. Leather has long been used by the fashion and apparel industry. The shiny surfaces and the warm feel have made leather one of the most desirable types.

Additionally, the use of leather is not limited to apparel. You can easily find leather used in art and crafts, vehicle upholstery, shoes, and purses, etc. Different industries use different types of leather for their products and consumers continue to purchase it for all the perks it carries.

Different Types of Leather

There are several types of leather which are listed below:

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather is the highest quality leather. It is created from the top layer of the hide and has not been sanded, scraped, or sliced. Full-grain leather is often used in high-end fashion, handbags, and other luxury goods, as well as automotive interiors, furniture, and other heavy-duty products.

Full-grain leather is often dyed and oiled, giving it a natural and unique look. It is thicker than other leathers and has a pronounced grain pattern. It is also the strongest type of leather, with a long lifespan and high durability. Full-grain leather is easiest to clean and maintain, requiring only occasional cleaning and conditioning with leather cleaner, which is especially important in high-traffic areas. However, it is important to only use cleaners that are intended for use on full-grain leather.

Top-grain Leather

Top-grain leather is the next step-down from full-grain leather. While it is also made from the top layer of the hide, it has been sanded and has the top layer removed. Top-grain leather is often used in cheaper items, such as handbags, wallets, and shoes.

Top grain leather is more durable than other different types of leather but is less durable and less sturdy than full grain leather. It is thinner and more pliable than full-grain leather and offers a less natural, less pronounced grain pattern. Top-grain leather is generally easy to clean. It is very important to use the correct cleaning products when cleaning top-grain leather, as using a cleaner meant for full-grain leather could cause damage to the thinner material.

Bottom-grain Leather

Bottom grain leather is made from the underside of the hide, and has been sanded. It is the thinnest and among the least durable types of leather. Bottom-grain leather is often used in cheaper handbags and shoes. Similar to top-grain leather, it has a less pronounced grain pattern than full-grain leather. Bottom-grain leather is easier to clean than other types of leather but is more likely to stain.

Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected grain leather is made from the underside of the hide, and has been sanded. It is very similar to bottom-grain leather but has been chemically treated to remove some of the natural deficiencies in the leather and make it more robust. Corrected grain leather is very thin and cannot be used for products that require durability, such as heavy handbags.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is also a noticeable kind among the different types of leather. It is created from a combination of leather scraps and other materials and has a consistency similar to cardboard. Bonded leather is less expensive than other types of leather, and is generally used in low-cost items such as furniture and car interiors. Bonded leather is generally easy to clean, but is much less durable than other different types of leather.

Steer hide

Steer hide is made from the hide of a steer, the male version of a cow, and is the strongest type of leather. It is generally used in construction and automotive items, and as a material for wallets and handbags. It is very stiff and has a rough texture. Steer hide is generally very easy to clean and maintain, but requires special cleaning products meant for this type of leather.

Lambskin/ Sheepskin

Lambskin and sheepskin are made from the skin of a sheep. Lambskin is made from the inside of the hide, while sheepskin is made from the outside of the hide. Lambskin is generally used for clothing, as well as some types of footwear. Sheepskin is also often used for clothing, particularly as a lining for boots and shoes. Both lambskin and sheepskin are very soft and extremely easy to clean but are less durable than other types of leather.


Cowhide is made from the hide of cows. It is the most commonly used leather and is the least expensive kind of leather. Cowhide is extremely durable, but is often difficult to clean. It is best to use a special cleaning product meant for cowhide.

This was everything about the different types of leather for bags, apparel, and other products. While all the types share common traits, such as durability and strength, they are also different in significant ways. Full grain leather is the highest quality leather, while corrected grain leather is the lowest quality. Bonded leather is the least expensive type of leather, while steer hide is the most expensive.

When buying leather products, it is important to know the type of leather you are buying. The guide can help you decide better and select the right type for you.

Stay tuned for more information about leather products and their usage.

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