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Types of Leather

Leather and substitute leather products have characteristics that may be viewed as positives or negatives depending upon one's perspective.  We have attempted to clarify the terms and attributes below to help you choose the product that best serves your individual needs.  Once you have identified the material of your liking, you can add that term to our search bar above to view our product offerings. Learn about  metals used for nickel free products once you are a leather expert! 

Full Grain Leather  

Cost: $$$$
 Durability: 

 

Types Of Leather

Rated highest in durability and strength

 Characteristics:

  • Natural texture
  • Full thickness (solid piece of leather)
  • Soft, comfortable fit
  • Casual look
  • Heavy duty wear
a close up of a building

 

Top Grain Leather  

Cost: $$$
 Durability: 

Types Of Leather

Rated very high in durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Refined, smooth texture
  • Dressier appearance
  • Solid piece of leather
  • Heavy duty wear

 

a close up of a knife

 

BRIDLE LEATHER  

Cost:  $$$$
Durability:

Types Of Leather

Rated very high in durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Top grain leather
  • Highly refined with oils/waxes
  • Supple, luxurious feel
  • Smooth & comfortable
  • Heavy duty wear
a close up of a belt

 

 mid-grade leather 

Cost:  $$
Durability:

Types Of Leather

Medium durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Top Grain Upper stitched to split grain backing
  • Attractive, finished appearance
  • Cost effective option
  • Medium-to light-duty wear
 a close up of a device

 

 

 SPLIT GRAIN LEATHER

Cost: $
Durability:

Types Of Leather

Lower durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Leather backing covered with polyurethane
  • Artificially consistent texture is easier to clean/maintain
  • Lacks the look, strength and breathability of natural leather products 
  • Light duty wear
Types Of Leather

 

MANMADE (POLYURETHANE) 

Cost: $
Durability:

Types Of Leather

Lower durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Polyurethane (PU)
  • Animal free
  • Washable, waterproof
  • Pliable
  • Inexpensive
  • Light duty wear
 a close up of a belt

 

BONDED LEATHER

Cost: $
Durability:  

Types Of Leather

Very low durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • lowest grade of manmade leather
  • Constructed with cardboard/low cost items
  • fragments of split leather are included to give the illusion of leather
 NoNickel.com does not carry bonded leather products

 

OTHER TERMS OF INTEREST 

GENUINE LEATHER

The term Genuine Leather can be used to describe any material made from the skin of an animal.  It is widely used to describe products but has become a generic term with little value similar to the term “hypoallergenic”. 

Tanning

The tanning process converts animal hides into apparel-ready leather by curing, softening, and breaking in the raw leather. Depending on the desired finish, a hide may also be waxed, rolled, lubricated, injected with oil, split, shaved or dyed.

CARE INSTRUCTIONS

Cleaning most leather products is easily done with Saddle Soap.  Touch ups for scuffs can also be accomplished with waxes or shoe polishes.  Testing on an inconspicuous spot is always recommended!  Full grain leathers are not recommended for cleaning or polishing.  

 

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