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Suede vs Leather: Is There a Difference?

Suede vs Leather

What are the big differences between suede and leather? Or, are there actually any differences between the two at all? If you’re new to the fashion scene, or you’re just learning about furs and leathers at this point in your clothing experiences, you might not know all of the differences between suede and leather.

It’s even possible that you don’t know what the visual differences are between suede and leather, as well as the more structural differences that happen to exist and separate the two from each other a little further. Moving forward, we’re going to be looking at all of the differences between suede and leather.

That’s going to include the visual differences, the durability, flexibility, and how long-lasting these two different materials are relative to each other. This can help you to determine what is going to matter to you when you’re buying leather or suede products. For example, is it better to get a leather black bag or a suede black bag?

In reality, that decision is going to be up to you and your personal preferences. Regardless, the following are some of the major differences between leather and suede.

How are Leather and Suede Made?

Leather and suede, generally, can come from the same animals but simply have a different process put into them entirely. Specifically, if you’re looking at leather, this is mainly going to come from the skin of an animal that is on the outside.

Suede, however, comes from the inside of the animal’s skin. In particular, the leather is split and the grain of the leather is removed so that suede can be made. So, in essence, suede is made from leather and the two can each come from the same animal.

This means that the two are also going to look pretty different from each other. For instance, on a black bag, leather is going to look and feel smooth, and it might have a matte to shiny finish. However, on the same style black bag, suede will give off a whole new look.

Suede looks a little bit more fuzzy, as something that looks like hair comes from it as a result of the separation process discussed earlier. This product will also generally be entirely matte, rather than potentially showing off a little bit of shine like a satin-like leather might have.

Is Leather or Suede Cheaper?

The jury is still out on whether or not leather or suede is actually sold for cheaper, or which one is technically more expensive to make. Different sources on the internet can say pretty conflicting things, so nothing can be said for sure.

The only people who might know the answer to this, truly, are those who supply leather and suede to manufacturers, or the manufacturers of leather and suede products themselves.

Does Suede Last as Long as Leather?

From the looks of it, leather lasts much longer than suede. Why does this happen to be the case? It might have to do with the process of making suede, as it is aforementioned to literally take apart leather. Making it thinner, removing the grains that were there before, and other parts of the treatment process are likely to make suede break down much more quickly than leather.

However, it’s possible that this is a much more relevant topic for something like shoes, rather than for a leather or suede black bag that you might want to purchase.

This is largely because shoes are more likely to become worn out from use than bags, as shoes are forced to endure a lot more friction from rubbing up against the ground and your feet, from both the inside and the outside.

However, from a purely aesthetic perspective, suede may last longer than leather. This is because treated leather is far more likely to chip and show the skin underneath any sort of dye that was applied as part of any treatment processes. But suede, especially on a bag, is going to be able to maintain the majority of its fuzziness and texture for most of the piece’s lifetime.

Are Both Suede and Leather Waterproof?

Unfortunately, neither suede nor leather are completely waterproof, as both are made of animal skin and somewhat porous by nature. However, leather is much more likely to be naturally water-resistant than leather is, just because it has that more smooth and semi-matte texture that is more likely to resist water.

Suede is also not water proof, but it’s also significantly less water-resistant than leather. Because of the exposed fuzziness and hair-like quality that comes with suede, the material is much more likely to catch and potentially absorb water in comparison to leather.

However, both of these materials can be turned waterproof, at least for the most part, if you decide to apply a waterproofing solution and allow for the proper drying and curing time to seal and protect your suede and leather accessories and products.


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