Leather Buying Guide: Understanding the 5 Types of Leather

Leather Buying Guide: Understanding the 5 Types of Leather

When looking for your perfect leather jacket or product, understanding the five different types of leather could be crucial for making your decision. Whilst there are now many types of leather to choose from, the ‘five types of leather’ refers to the grain of leather at the end result.

At Hidepark we pride ourselves on our wide range of both Men’s Leather Jackets and Women’s Leather jackets in a variety of inclusive sizings, as well as our collection of Leather Bags. We have worked hard to discover the best types of leather for jackets, and use Nappa and Nubuck leathers in our products, for both quality and style.

So what are the different types of leather? We have compiled a list of types of leather to help you find the correct grain for your next leather jacket purchase.

Full-grain Leather

Full-grain leather is crafted from the outer hide, made up of densely packed fibres for a fine grain. For this fine grain leather usually only the hairs are removed from the hide, leaving imperfections in the leather that provides a more rustic appearance. These imperfections come from any scrapes, brands or scars obtained by the animal in life, making every cut of full-grain leather completely unique. Full-grain hides that don’t show any blemishes will be the most valuable.

Here at Hidepark we pride ourselves on the high quality full-grain Nappa leather that we use for our products. Nappa leather goes through a particular tanning process for softness and durability, and can be found in leather jackets, such as our Evie Women’s Leather Biker Jacket, or our Tate Men’s Leather Jacket. Our full-grain leather products extend to our collection of leather bags, such as the Ada Women’s Handbag, for a durable but stylish accessory.

We also have a collection of coloured Nappa leather jackets, including the Meghan Collarless Leather Jacket in Berry, for all your colourful, full-grain leather jacket needs.

Top-grain Leather

Top-grain leather is very similar to full-grain leather, however the top layer of hide has been sanded or buffed to remove any imperfections from the finished hide. Sanding makes the leather much more pliable and soft, as well as easier to apply dyes and finishes to.

Whilst sanding makes it easier to shape the leather, it removes some of the durability and strength from the hide, as well as some of its water repellent properties. More hide can be used to make top-grain leather than for full-grain leather, making it less expensive and more widely available.

At Hidepark we manufacture some of our products using high quality top-grain Nubuck leather, which provides a thicker material than suede. It is buffed to create a fine, velvety surface, and although it may look like suede, it is in fact leather. Nubuck leather can be found on our Rico Men’s All Leather Waistcoat, as well as our Lucy 4 Women’s Leather Gilet.

Our Nubuck leather can also be found in a selection of colours, such as this Elvis: Men’s Blue Denim Style Leather Jacket, for a modern take on the classic leather jacket.

Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is often used within the industry, and can be a bit confusing for customers. Being referred to as genuine leather sounds to customers like it is of the highest quality leather possible, this however isn’t always the case. Genuine leather can be made from any layer of the hide, which can be of a lower quality than full-grain or top-grain, and is sanded and buffed to remove imperfections to create a more uniform look. The sanding process takes the leather to a level that can be dyed or stamped for a final surface appearance.

Split Grain Leather

Split grain leather is taken from the lower levels of the top-grain area of hide, just above the flesh. It’s called split grain because the bottom material is used after splitting the hide. Whilst it is not as strong as full-grain or top-grain leather, split grain offers a flexibility that allows a wider variety of colouring and embossing options for the finish.

This form of leather is also used in the manufacture of suede, which is a type of leather that has a ‘nap’ to it. A ‘nap’ refers to the loose fibres that give leather that soft texture. Due to using the split side of a hide, the material is thinner and more pliable than a top-grain leather, as well as cheaper. But it also becomes less durable, including losing its water resistant properties. Any suede owner knows that rain is to be avoided when wearing suede, to help avoid staining or damage, so taking care of your suede jacket is a must.

Suede can be found in a variety of Hidepark products, including in our Tilly Women’s Denim Style Suede Jacket, made of high quality goat suede leather.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather (or reconstituted leather) is typically made of anywhere from 10-90% of manufactured leather from various scraps. Leather scraps are shredded and bonded together on a fibre mesh or sheet, using either latex or polyurethane. Due to the amount of leather being very mixed, bonded leather is often painted and embossed to give it the appearance of a different grain, meaning there isn’t guaranteed quality as with other leather grades. 

The durability of bonded leather in comparison to other grains of leathers is fairly low, the plastic used in its production reduces flexibility in the material, meaning it’s more prone to wear and tear.

Bonded leather is typically used for leather furnishings such as sofas. 

Looking for exceptionally crafted leather jackets?

Hidepark offers a huge range of leather jackets and accessories, the majority of which are manufactured using full-grain Napa and top-grain Nubuck leathers, and suede, providing a variety of styles and colours.

If you are on the hunt for the perfect leather jacket, Hidepark is the place to be - browse our full range of products featuring many of the finest leathers available on the market.

Contact our team for any enquiries, or check out our FAQs for more information on our quality leather products.