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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  carbon fiber and  other metals used for nickel free products once you are a leather expert! 

 

Full Grain Leather

  Cost:

$$$$

  Durability:   

Rated highest in durability and strength

 

Characteristics:

  • Natural texture

  • Full thickness (solid piece of leather)

  • Soft, comfortable fit

  • Casual look

  • Heavy duty wear

Nickel Free Full Grain Leather Belts
 

Roan Mountain Distressed Belt is an example of full grain leather

 

Top Grain Leather  

 Cost:

$$$

 Durability: 

Rated very high in durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Refined, smooth texture

  • Dressier appearance

  • Solid piece of leather

  • Regular wear

 

  

Nickel Free Silver Square Black Leather Belt

The Silver Square Black Leather Belt uses top grain leather for the strap

 

BRIDLE LEATHER  

Cost:

 $$$$

Durability:

Rated very high in durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Top grain leather

  • Highly refined with oils/waxes

  • Supple, luxurious feel

  • Smooth & comfortable

  • Heavy duty wear

AJ Gun Belt - Twice as thick of leather for sturdines
 

AJ's Gun Belt is made with bridle leather

 

 Mid-grade leather 

Cost:

 $$

Durability:

Medium durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Top Grain Upper stitched to top grain back

  • Attractive, finished appearance

  • Cost effective option

  • Medium-to light-duty wear

  
Nickel Free Tan Belt - Top grain leather

Tan Dress Belt is made with Midgrade Leather 

 

 

 SPLIT GRAIN LEATHER

Cost:

$

Durability:

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

NoNickel.com does not carry bonded leather products

 

MANMADE (POLYURETHANE) 

Cost:

$

Durability:

Lower durability and strength

Characteristics:

  • Polyurethane (PU)

  • Animal free (vegan)

  • Washable, waterproof

  • Pliable

  • Inexpensive

  • Light duty wear

 

Polyurethane Belt - No Animal Leather

 

Double Pin Square Belt with manmade leather strap

 

BONDED LEATHER 

Cost:

$

Durability:

 

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 with 10% animal leather.  It is widely used to describe leather products but has little value as to quality. Genuineleather 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.  

Updated 10-30-19 

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