Knowing the difference between the different types of leather is crucial knowledge when looking to find your ideal leather jacket. At Hidepark we are often asked the difference between leather and suede and which is best or most suited for a particular item or use.
Leather is an item that anyone can wear, available in a variety of styles, finishes and textures to suit each individual. But have you ever wondered what the difference between leather types is, and how that may affect your choice of leather jacket?
At Hidepark we have outlined the differences between suede, nappa and nubuck leathers to help you with your next leather purchase, making informed choices that suit you and your lifestyle.
The Difference Between Suede And Leather
Leather is created from the skin of an animal that has been processed by tanning the hides to preserve it. After the tanning, the hide has two sides with totally different finishes. The outer side, which originally had the wool or hair on, has a grain which is referred to as a Nappa finish. This is what most people think of and refer to as leather. The inner or flesh side is suede.
With nappa and suede making up the hide of an animal, you may be wondering where nubuck leather comes in. AT Hidepark we have outlined the differences for you below, along with which products these leather types are best suited to.
All About Suede
Suede is created using the softer underside of an animal hide, forming a more supple material.
Depending on the animal the hide has derived from makes a massive difference to the texture of the suede. Goat and sheep hides make the best suede that is very soft with a smooth velvety finish.
Alternatively, the suede created from cows or buffalo is much coarser than that from sheep and goats due to the more fibrous consistency of their hide, it is also heavier and firmer.
Suede is suitable for the fashion industry for the manufacture of lightweight garments, usually handbags and small leather goods. However bovine suede is best suited and more commonly used for footwear and upholstery.
If you require a super lightweight jacket with a fine, soft, smooth nap that feels like velvet, or an elegant skirt with a beautiful drape, suede should be your choice. The Eddie Men’s Tan Denim Style Suede Jacket is an excellent choice. Bear in mind that suede can easily be marked by makeup, natural oils or rain spots. A pigment can be sprayed onto the suede surface to produce a finish known as Napalan, which gives some protection from water and soiling.
A Suede Finish
Suede is a desirable material, its soft finish being perfect for leather accessories or upholstery. However, not all Suede is true suede, sometimes it will be referred to as a ‘Suede Finish’.
If the outer surface of the hide is sanded to remove the grain it produces a finish that has a fine nap. Technically this is not suede as it is produced from the top/outer side of the hide and, as mentioned above, suede is created using the inside surface of the animal hide. But for all intents and purposes, it is a suede finish and to the layman, it is not distinguishable from suede.
Nubuck Leather Vs Suede
When looking at a suede finish we should first look at nubuck leather. With a suede surface produced after sanding off the grain of the Nappa leather, nubuck leather is a leather material rather than suede.
Having been created using the outer layer of a hide, nubuck has a similar soft finish as suede, but with a thicker and more durable finish that can withstand the elements. Whilst it is much tougher than suede, nubuck leather is also more prone to staining than other leathers, such as Nappa leather, due to its rough and textured surface. A lot of the soiling can be removed using a damp cloth, but more extreme stains can be taken to your dry cleaner.
Nubuck derived from cow hide is quite robust and is used a lot in leather accessories, especially footwear or leather garments. Sheep hide is very popular in semi-nubuck, which is when some of the grain is left on to give an attractive two-tone finish.
Due to its durability and long-lasting capabilities, nubuck leather is a popular choice for accessories such as leather shoes, wallets and hardier travel bags, as well as being used for leather jackets like the Britney Women’s Navy Leather Biker Jacket. As Nubuck does not require any polishing or shining, its low maintenance style can be very desirable.
Nappa Leather Vs Suede
Created using the top grain of an animal hide, Nappa leather is a full-grain leather that offers quality to the wearer. Having been made using the outer layer of hide that was used to battling the elements, nappa is incredibly durable and soft. The distinctive tanning process for Nappa leather is what makes it such high quality, producing a hardy leather that is attractive and comfortable, ideal for leather jackets.
Soft and smooth, Nappa leather retains the texture and markings of the animal hide it was derived from, adding a lot of character to the leather.
Popular for leather jackets, like the Budd Men’s Leather Jacket, Nappa leather is also a favourite choice for leather accessories and leather furniture, especially for use as leather car seats.
Easy to clean and more water resistant than nubuck or suede, leather jackets made from Nappa leather are an excellent choice for those looking for an all-year leather jacket that is easy to wipe clean.
Discover Quality Leather and Suede Jackets at Hidepark
Whether you are looking for Leather, Suede or Nubuck, each material can be dyed any colour and washed or waxed to produce a multitude of finishes.
At Hidepark, we have a fantastic range of high-quality suede jackets that can elevate any outfit. Each Hidepark leather jacket, no matter the finish, is curated and manufactured especially for us, so when you see the Hidepark name you know you’re getting the best of the best.Discover our full range of men's leather or women's leather jackets, or get in touch with our team today if you have any more questions about our selection of quality leather products.