Friend or Faux? How to Tell if That Leather is Real or Not

March 27, 2016

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Thinking leather might be better? Keep in mind it’s not all created equal. The difference in quality between genuine, bonded, and flat-out fake leather is huge, and there are some easy tricks to spotting the good stuff.


1. Labels: The Very Best Place to Start

OK, duh. But the label is going to say more than just “real” or “fake!" Here are some terms you might see:

  • Genuine: This basically means it’s the real thing. Genuine leather may be labeled with the following terms to describe how it’s been processed or treated.

  • Pure Aniline: The most natural of genuine leathers: no treatments, dyes or pigments here.

  • Semi-Aniline: Dyed and treated with a topcoat, this leather will exhibit some natural markings but is more durable than pure aniline genuine leather.

  • Pigmented: Super-durable, pigmented genuine leather is usually dyed, buffed to erase any imperfections, and given a topcoat for heavy protection.

  • Nubuck & Suede: You’re probably familiar with both, but what’s the difference? Nubuck is genuine leather that has been buffed on the outer (more durable) side of the hide for a fuzzy feel. Suede is the opposite—the inside of the hide is buffed, resulting in a superfine, velvety texture.  READ MORE


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