An Overview of Leather Grades
As far as fashion and goods are concerned, consumers are on the lookout for the best quality that adheres to their budget. Although many people believe that leather is simply a matter of genuine and fake, there are in fact, many different types of leather that will determine its quality and impact its cost.
Leather is a material that you should research in-depth before making a purchase, as there are many aspects to think about. Here are the various types of leather to make a note of if you’re hoping to purchase a leather item in the near future:
The very best leather you can invest is full-grain leather – so, as you can expect, it’s the most expensive. The term ‘full-grain’ quite simply means that it hasn’t been tweaked, buffed or sanded to remove natural marks from the animal’s skin from when it was alive. These imperfections are left in their original form.
If you look closely, you may discover all sorts of marks within the leather, such as insect bites, stretch marks and scarring. Although it looks a little rough and ready, it’s by far the most sought-after type of leather with a hefty price tag to match.
What many people don’t realise is that these markings aren’t actually defects, but instead, shows the value of the item, as these marks show off the leather’s natural origin.
Another feature of full-grain leather is that it’s breathable, therefore, absorbs moisture and oils if it is handled. It is also extremely durable. As a result, it’s ideal for creating furniture and footwear.
There is often confusion in regard to ‘top grain leather’ as the best quality, however, this isn’t the case. The ‘top’ aspect refers to this fact that this type of leather is cut from the top of the hide.
Unlike full-grain leather which is purposely left in its natural state, top grain leather has its imperfections removed by sanding away the natural grain to create a clean and more polished finish. It undergoes a corrective procedure in which the pores of the leather are sealed. This means that it loses its breathability, so it is far easier to clean. The lack of breathability explains why you may get sweaty when sitting on leather seating!
Usually, a man-made texture is embossed onto the top grain leather to give a much more even appearance, as the majority of stores cannot have mismatching cosmetic differences between products. As a result, the natural grain has to be removed, which is often carried out by sanding and buffing, but the benefit of this is that stains are far less likely to seep into the leather.
This is usually the type of leather used to create high-end products in fashion stores; such as handbags, shoes and of course, leather jackets.
Suede is another popular form of leather that’s typically made from the splits of sheepskin and pigskin. It often has a soft textured finish, but can be further sanded down to achieve the required thickness, dependant on the product that is being made.
As it is softer and thinner, it’s a lot less durable than other forms of leather and absorbs water quickly, which can then lead to damage or discolouration.
Corrected grain / genuine leather
Corrected grain leather, otherwise known as CG leather is similar to top grain leather, in the sense of that it has had all of the markings removed, but is stamped with an artificial grain to create a more uniform appearance when sold in retail stores.
It also comes in a large variety of colours, as it is sprayed with pigmented dye to protect the surface. In some instances, this step can achieve a much more natural appearance and is, therefore, often mistaken for full-grain leather.
While leather shopping, it’s important you’re aware of bonded leather (otherwise known as blended leather or reconstituted leather).
This type of leather isn’t left in its natural state but is made from shredded scraps that have been bound together by a strong filler and polyurethane coating. To finish, it’s embossed with a leather-like texture to create a natural appearance.
As you may have expected, this type of leather is the cheapest to purchase (aside from faux leather) and unfortunately, this shows in its quality. In some countries where bonded leather is made, it’s constructed with just 20% of leather fibres, while 80% is man-made materials.
The only good aspect of bonded leather is that it could be considered more environmentally-friendly than other forms of leather; as it is made using recycled scraps of leather that would otherwise be discarded and end up on landfill.
If you would like any further information on our leather jackets for men and women, please do get in touch today. We are happy to discuss any of the products you’re interested in.