Full Grain Leather

When navigating the world of leather you’ll see lots of terms for various different kinds of leather. But what do they all mean? We do our best to explain below the most common types of leather and which one is best.

What is Full Grain Leather?

Full Grain Leather is the part of the hide just below the hair and is the highest quality grain of leather that you can get. Full Grain Leather showcases all the natural markings from the hide unlike other leathers, which will often buff or sand these marks away. Once the hide has been altered it’s no longer classed as full grain, there’s lot of other terms for these altered leathers but the most common terms you see are “corrected” or “genuine” leather.

Full grain is the closest you can get to leather in its natural form. It’s also the strongest and most hard-wearing leather you can get. Plus, because none of the marks are sanded away, every single piece of leather is different. All Berber Leather bags are made from full-grain leather, meaning that no two of our products are the same!

What is Corrected or Top-Grain leather?

Corrected leather is when the top level of leather is sanded or buffed to give a more uniform effect, sometimes the leather is embossed with a leather pattern to make sure this uniform effect doesn’t disappear with time. If you are in a leather shop and each bag looks identical to the one sat next to it - that’s corrected leather. The problem with this is that manufacturers can take a cheaper hide with lots of flaws and ‘correct’ them, and the process of sanding the leather down of course weakens it in the process. This leather grain is also sometimes referred to as “Top-Grain” even though the actual top of the grain no longer exists!

What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck leather is a type of corrected leather. It still uses the top-grain, but is sanded in a way to leave fibres, giving it a velvety finish. Nubuck Leather is often dyed or stained, to complete a consistent look. Nubuck leather isn’t as hard-wearing as full-grain or top-grain leather, and can be susceptible to scratches and marks because of the finish. Nubuck leather doesn’t need to be polished or cleaned like other leathers, but does require special brushes and cleaner should it get dirty.

Is genuine Leather good quality leather?

Lots of people get fooled by genuine leather because, “It’s genuine!” when it can often refer to the lowest quality hides out there. The only thing that genuine leather means is that the product is “technically” leather. It could be the hide from a variety of animals, and it could be scraps, treated with chemicals and cobbled together to make an inferior product. If part of a product has some form of leather in it, the genuine leather tag can be used. This can often lead to bonded leather products, such as belts, which will split with use.  Many companies use the term “genuine” to mean that their leather isn’t fake, but that in turn doesn’t mean you are getting a quality product. When looking into purchasing a leather product, always do some research, companies that use high-quality leather will always make it clear in their descriptions!

Feel inspired to invest in a new leather product? All Berber Leather bags and belts are made from full-grain leather. No bonded leather here! Use the links above to shop our collection.