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Leather Quality 101


Top Grain: Full Grain (our leather)
This is the highest quality leather. This is seen as the most authentic and highest quality of leather because it has not been sanded or buffed to remove the original markings of the hide. Only a small percentage of leathers even qualify as Full Grain because most hides have too many blemishes.  Sometimes the terms “Full Grain” and “Top Grain” are used interchangeably because Full Grain includes the top of the cow hide.  Full Grain leather is more breathable and forms a beautiful, rich patina as it ages with time. We wanted to use leather that lasted for a long time, and that's why we selected Full Grain instead of Corrected Grain, Split Grain or Bonded leather. 

Top Grain: Corrected Grain
The second quality tier in top grain leathers. When the hide has too many imperfections, the hide is sanded down and the imperfections, as well as the natural grain, are smoothed out. The leather is then corrected and stamped, or embossed, with an artificial pattern to imitate the appearance of Full Grain leather.  Upon inspection, one can recognize Corrected Grain because the grain looks perfect and flawless, giving it a uniform look. This is used by many designer brands, yet it is significantly less expensive and lower quality than Full Grain.  "Corrected Grain” and "Top Grain" are sometimes used interchangeably, but Corrected Grain can NEVER be considered Full Grain.  While Corrected Grain leather is still high quality, it does not match the quality of Full Grain leather because of the sanding and buffing it has undergone. This weakens the leather. Corrected Grain is less breathable, and it will never develop the beautiful patina that comes with Full Grain leather.



Split Grain
Often called “genuine” or “natural” leather by companies that want the premium leather brand for their products so they can demand a higher price tag. This is leather after the top grain layer has been stripped away. Usually, the top has been sanded and spray painted and embossed with a leather-like pattern to resemble a natural appearance.  It sometimes has a layer of polyurethane on the top that is painted on the top to make it appear like full or top grain leathers. It is low quality and will eventually crack and fall apart.

Bonded
Bonded leather is the scraps of the hide.  It includes dust and shavings.  This is ground up scraps of leather, held together with glue and reinforced with a layer of polyurethane on top. It is the lowest quality of leather. Polyurethane, vegan leather or faux leather are higher quality and stronger than bonded leather.