Suede vs Leather – Understand The Two

Suede vs Leather – Understand The Two

Leather is a primary winter material that’ll keep you warm and stylish and last you many years of use. You can use it on clothing, but you can also see it on boots and jackets. In addition, you can use leather on a host of items due to its popularity. On the other hand, suede is a type of leather that offers a velvety finish. People use it primarily on jackets and shoes, making it an excellent option for the fall season. However, you have to wonder how these fabrics stand against each other. To help you figure this out, this suede vs leather comparison covers different features of both materials, including their fundamental differences. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Suede vs Leather – What is Leather?

Leather is a flexible material that’s been in use for quite a long time. Since discovering many leather artifacts during archaeological digs, leather has been in use. Leather differs from suede in many ways; one method is that it lasts much longer than suede. Animal skin has two sides; the grain and flesh side. The grain side is the part where the hair develops and protects the animal skin from harsh weather conditions, bruises, and other damages.

Leather comes from the grain sides, ensuring that it gets all the essential features like hardness, longevity, and strength. However, once you take a good look at the leather, you’ll be able to view the imperfections and scars the animal has experienced. Many people appreciate this characteristic when they’re purchasing leather. While some do not like the flaws, others find it pleasing to the eye.

Suede vs Leather – What is Suede?

Suede is a fabric used for jackets and shoes. It provides a soft and textured feel when you touch it. It doesn’t come from the grainy part of the animal but rather the fleshy part. Since it is from the fleshy part, it doesn’t feature the tough layer familiar with leather. This makes leather less durable. Often, suede comes from calf, lamb, goat, and deer. Since it is less tough, it is much softer than leather and features a napped and matty finish.

The benefit of suede makes it quite useful for bags, shoes, gloves, and several other accessories. However, since it doesn’t have the skin’s protective layer, it is susceptible to liquid and dirt stains. Therefore, users of suede need to pay attention and provide it with gentle care. It is much easier clean and wipes the dirt off due to the open pores of the suede.

How to Care for Leather

Leather care and maintenance don’t need to be regular. Washing your leather product once or twice yearly is enough to keep the leather looking nice and new. There are two categories of leather care and including leather cleaning and conditioning. Cleaning the leather thoroughly eliminates debris, dirt, and other elements the leather might have collected during wearing or usage. After cleaning the leather, you will move on to the conditioning process. A few of the essential oil in leather gets lost while washing it. Due to this, the conditioning might suffer as a result.

Leather’s texture is silky. Therefore water isn’t sustainable on its surface. Furthermore, if you make mistakes, it can cause stains to appear on your leather shoe, jacket, bag, and other accessories. It is, therefore, better to keep your leather away from immediate water.

How to Care for Suede

Suede is less resilient; therefore, it requires more care and maintenance than leather. Suede is not the same as leather, so you cannot care for it in the same way. To minimize damage to your suede, ensure you avoid using leather cleaning products in the suede. Cleaning your suede is okay, but you need to protectively and safely. While some of your suede products require water, others, like shoes and bags, do not require water for use. Instead, you can use a clean cloth and vinegar to restore the luster of your suede bag and shoes.

Suede is quite similar to velvet in its new and fresh state. When wet, the texture of your suede stiffens as the moisture evaporates. Avoid using saltwater for your suede, as it can result in a white, rigid look when it’s dry. Suede automatically contracts when it is wet. Therefore, it tends to dry in a shrunken state.

Pros of Leather

To fully understand this suede vs leather comparison, it is crucial to know the benefits and downsides of both fabrics. In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of leather.

Leather is Robust

Leather items are ideal for different weather conditions. You can use leather items in the snow, springtime, and even in the fall. So they’re pretty robust and weatherproof that you only need to carry out little maintenance to keep them in top-notch condition. This is due to the toughness of leather from the beginning. Leather is a solid and durable material. Therefore, there’s no need for much upkeep to ensure it stays in excellent condition.

It Provides Warmth

Out of all the different fabrics used in creating boots and jackets, leather is most likely to provide your body with maximum warmth. It is a dense substance that you can use to prevent air from passing through your body. This ensures you are warm during the winter months. Depending on the type of leather you’re using, some leathers are relatively slim, which can help with layering.

It is Quite Durable

This is one of the top reasons why most people choose leather over suede. It is a durable option and can provide a better return on investment. A leather product can last you up to a decade with adequate care. It is solid and a sturdy pair of leather. When it comes to outerwear pieces, leather offers you top-notch quality.

Cons of Leather

There are advantages to using leather, but there are some downsides to the leather fabric.

It is Heavy

Leather products tend to be quite heavy when you compare them with suede. This is due to the thickness and robustness of the leather product. However, it boils down to the type of leather that you choose. Some types of leather will be heavier than others. Therefore you should take note of the leather you need. If you hate wearing heavy garments or shoes, you should opt for the lightweight suede option.

Leather can be Costly

Quality leather isn’t cheap. Because it is long-lasting and features the best quality, you should consider leather as an investment. Most times, the resale value of leather is usually higher than the original cost. If you’re looking for an affordable option, leather jackets, bags, and boots are available at a lower price point. However, they usually lack the top-quality feature that comes with original features.

Pros of Suede

Like leather, suede has some unique features that make it unique in this suede vs leather comparison. This section explores all the top benefits of suede.


Suede fabric is substantially lighter than leather because it is pretty thinner in size. This allows for easy movement when you wear suede garments and shoes. One of the reasons why suede is so light is due to the production process. It requires sanding down the animal skin. This process removes a lot of the weight of the animal flesh. Due to this, it makes the entire fabric overall lighter.

Suede Features a Textured and Velvety Finish

The smooth feature of suede sets it apart from every other fabric in the textile industry. The suede texture features three dimensions of a garment through an additional layer. Additionally, suede texture comes from the microscopic strands available on the surface. These strands are known as suede’s nap. They give the suede fabric its trademark velvety look due to the flow in a specific direction.

It is Inexpensive

Suede is also less expensive than leather because it is relatively cheaper. It is manufactured by sanding down the outer portion of an animal hide. Therefore, the manufacturing process is easy, and it reduces the overall cost of the suede. The brand and quality of the suede also play a significant role in its cost. Some specific manufacturers sell suede at a much higher price. 

Cons of Leather

Like the downsides of leather in this suede vs leather comparison, there are also downsides to choosing suede. Below are some downsides you should take note of.

Suede Requires Regular Maintenance

Unlike leather that you can simply use and clean a couple of times a year, suede requires much upkeep. There are many ways your suede can get dirty because it doesn’t retain the toughness of the leather fabric. Therefore, cleaning it is vital to keep it in top-notch condition. You should also take note of the suede’s low-water resistance, which also makes it challenging to wear suede and a jacket in the rain.

It is more Fashion-Oriented rather than Utility-Oriented

Suede isn’t meant to be worn around the house or on casual occasions. It is more of a fashion statement, making it less functional. When you purchase suede jackets or shoes, you’re not buying them to use on different occasions. Instead, most people purchase them because of their aesthetic qualities. Suede doesn’t offer you much functionality and is rather fashion-oriented. It is the more fashionable choice in the suede vs leather comparison.

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Final Thoughts

Understanding the differences between suede and leather is crucial. You must be aware of these salient differences before selecting products made with leather or suede. Most people won’t spot the differences easily. However, there are many pointed out in this suede vs leather comparison. Suede and leather products are standard today. It is notable that while suede is obtained from the inner part of the animal skin, leather comes from the exterior part of the skin. This feature makes suede less durable, but leather’s a tough option for most. Knowing the significant difference between these fabrics will help you determine the best choice for your needs and tasks.

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Suede vs Leather – Understand The Two Suede and leather are two popular fabrics; this suede vs leather comparison will help you understand the two fabrics and their uses.
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