Full Grain Leather or Top Grain Leather : Which one is better for you

Full-grain and top-grain leather are like any other type of leather; however, they are different. For example, they differ in thickness, texture, colour, durability, comfort level, etc.

While full-grain and top-grain leather are among the most high-quality leather types, they still have some differences. For instance, while both are soft, smooth, and durable, full-grain leather tends to be thicker and more robust than top-grain leather.

They also differ in terms of their manufacturing process. For example, full-grain leather is usually tanned using the hide. On the other hand, top-grade leather is generally tanned using the split-skin method.

As such, knowing the difference between full-grain and top-grain leather is essential. This way, you will know what you are getting into and whether it is worth paying extra money for top-grade leather.

Why do we use full-grain leather??

Full-grain leather is the most extravagant type of leather out there. However, the thickest type of leather comes closest to the real thing. An authentic full grain leather bag is made from the hide's innermost layer, called the grain. All leather shoes have several layers, including the grain, the soft lining, and the outer layer.

Full Grain Leather is made from an entire hide of an animal. Unlike most other leathers, full grain leather contains the same hair follicles as skin. This makes it smoother and more supple than regular leather. 

It also adds natural oils that help keep the leather supple and protect against stains.

We choose full grain leather over another cut because it provides better durability, lasting quality, and protection against staining. Plus, our products will last much longer.

WHERE DOES FULL GRAIN LEATHER COME FROM?

Full grain leather is made from the tanned hides of animal skin like cows, pigs, sheep, goats and deer. These animals are raised specifically for their skin. When the hide is processed into full grain leather, it retains the natural oils and fats found in the original hide. This gives the leather its characteristic softness and flexibility.

HOW IS FULL-GRAIN LEATHER MADE?

Full grain leather is made from animals like cows, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, etc. After the source raw hides, the tanning process begins. The tanning process is done by soaking the hides in a solution containing chemicals such as chromium salts. This chemical helps in breaking down the protein structure of the hide. 

Once the hides are soaked, they are placed into a chamber exposed to heat. When the temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the proteins start melting and form a gel. At this stage, the hides become pliable and ready for further processing.

The next step involves stretching the hides over wooden frames, called moulds. The purpose of this step is to make the skin stretchable. This allows us to cut out the excess material without damaging the original shape. In some cases, we use steam machines to do the same thing.

After the hides are stretched, the leather is dyed. Different dyes are used depending upon the type of leather. For example, black dye is used for cowhide, while brown dye is used for goat leather.

Once the leather is dyed, it is treated to make it waterproof. We apply waxes and oils to protect the leather from moisture. These treatments help the leather resist water damage and prevent cracking.

Finally, the leather is polished to give it a shiny look. Polishing is done manually or mechanically. Manual polishing requires a lot of skill and experience. On the other hand, mechanical polishing uses specialised equipment.

WHAT DOES FULL GRAIN LEATHER LOOKS AND FEEL LIKE?

When it comes to leather, there are various types that you may encounter. One type of leather is full-grain leather. This type of leather is made from the hide's top layer and has all of the natural grain. It is considered the most robust and durable type of leather. Full grain leather will also develop a natural patina, which many people find appealing over time.

Looking at a piece of full grain leather, you will likely notice its smooth surface. However, the natural grain should also be visible. You may find that full grain leather has a bit of a shine to it as well. This is because when you touch full grain leather, you should feel the natural oils used to treat it. These oils help to keep the leather moisturised and prevent it from drying out and cracking.

WHAT DOES FULL GRAIN LEATHER UPPER MEAN?

Full grain leather uppers are usually made from natural leather. These types of leathers are usually made from cowhide or buffalo hide. Cowhide leather is generally soft, while buffalo hides are more challenging and thicker. Both are used to make full grain leathers.

The term "full grain" refers to the fact that there are no thin areas in the leather. In general, the grain runs parallel to the surface of the leather. This makes it more robust and less susceptible to splitting.

Leathers like this are typically used for high-quality products such as handbags, wallets, belts, shoes and jackets.

What Is Top Grain Leather?

Top grain leather is the second highest leather quality among all types of leather, usually brownish-red in colour. However, it can come in different colours like black, blue, green, white, etc.

These terms refer to the way the hide gets tanned. For example, pebble grain hides are those where you see small bumps on the surface of the leather. Split grain hides are similar to pebble grain hides, except that there are significant splits in the skin. Nubuck hides are smooth like velvet. They are less durable than the other types of leather.

The difference between top grain leather and calfskin is that top grain leather does not contain much fat. Also, it is generally thicker than calfskin.

Where Does Top Grain Leather Come From?

Top grain leather is a type of leather that is made from the outermost layer of the hide. It is the second highest quality of leather after full grain leather. Top grain leather is made by sanding away the imperfections on the hide's uppermost layer surface and then adding a protective coating.

Top grain leather is used in high-end products such as furniture, handbags, and shoes. It is more durable than full grain leather and has a more consistent appearance.

Despite its name, top grain leather does not come from the uppermost layer of the animal's hide. Instead, it is cut from the middle or lower section of the hide. This part of the hide is less exposed to wear and tear, making it more suitable for high-end products.

Full-Grain vs Top Grain Leather: Which Grain Is Better?

There are three main categories of leather: top, mid, and bottom. Top-grade leather is the softest, thinnest, and least durable. Mid-grade leather falls in the middle of the spectrum and is typically more durable than top-grade leather. Finally, bottom-grade leather is the thickest and most robust, making it ideal for use in boots and handbags.

So why do people say you should buy full grain leather over quality leather? Well, full grain leather is made from the hide of cattle that are raised primarily for meat production. This means the cows don't spend much time grazing outdoors and thus aren't exposed to as many parasites, diseases, or insect bites. As a result, full grain leather tends to be softer and smoother than quality leather.

The main distinction between the two types of leather is their processing. A full-grain leather shoe is typically tanned and dyed. On the other hand, top-grain leather is usually just tanned and left natural.

While both types of leather are solid and durable, each has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some things you should know about the difference between the two types of leather.

1Durability: Full-grain and top-grain leather are durable materials; however, the former offers more excellent durability due to its thicker hide. If you plan on wearing your leather item frequently, such as a wallet or purse, you'll likely want to go with full-grain leather. On the other hand, if you plan on carrying something around occasionally, like a jacket, then top-grain leather could work best for you.

2. Appearance: When it comes to appearance, full-grain leather tends to look shinier and brighter than top-grain leather. However, top-grain leather does offer a nice contrast against darker colours. So relying on how you intend to wear your leather product, you may find that one works better for you.

3. Price: Full-grain leather is generally more expensive than top-grain leather, especially when buying a large quantity. You can usually save money by purchasing top-grain leather since it's less expensive per unit.

4. Maintenance: For most people, cleaning leather products isn't too tricky. You don't even necessarily need special tools. But if you'd prefer to avoid cleaning your leather items yourself, you can always purchase leather cleaner.

5. Care: Full-grain leather requires much more care than top-grain leather due to its thick skin. You'll need to apply a protective coating on the leather surface every few months to protect your leather item. If you don't take proper precautions, you could damage your leather item over time.

FULL GRAIN LEATHER Vs CORRECTED LEATHER

Full grain leather is generally considered superior to corrected leather because it lasts longer and costs less to make. However, full grain leather requires more skill and care during production. In addition, you must use different tools and equipment to apply the finish to the leather. This method takes much longer and requires more effort.

Corrected leather is usually used for shoes and handbags. It is typically cheaper to produce than full grain leather, although it doesn't last as long. Corrected leather is also easy to apply, making it ideal for beginners. You don't need special tools or equipment, just a regular sewing machine.

FULL GRAIN/TOP GRAIN LEATHER Vs SPLIT

Whole grain hides are made by dividing the hide into halves along the centre line. This leaves one side of the hide thicker than the other. When you split a full grain hide, it creates two thinner pieces. These pieces are called top grain hides. 

A corrected grain hide is made by cutting out the centre portion of the hide. This gives you two thinner pieces. One piece is called nubuck leather. The other piece is called suede.

FULL GRAIN Vs GENUINE LEATHER

In the world of leather goods, there are many terms thrown around. Full-grain and genuine leather are two of the most common, but what do they mean? And more importantly, which one is better?

Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather available. It is made from the hide's top layer, which has not been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. This leaves all of the natural grain intact, making it more durable and breathable than other types of leather. Because full-grain leather has not been tampered with, it will also develop a unique patina over time.

On the other hand, Genuine leather is lower quality because it is made from the bottom layers of the hide. In addition, these layers have been sanded and buffed to remove imperfections, making them less durable and breathable. As a result, genuine leather is lower quality because it's made from lower layers of the hide. In addition, it's often heavily processed and may have an artificial finish.

Whole grain is the way to go if you're looking for high-quality, durable leather. It will last longer and age better than genuine leather.

SUEDE Vs NUBUCK

The phrase suede refers to a type of leather characterised by a soft surface texture. This material is usually used for shoes, handbags, and accessories. There are different types of suede, including French Suede, Italian Suede, Spanish Suede, etc.

Nubuck leather is another type of leather that is very popular among consumers. It is known for being soft and smooth, making it perfect for use in fashion products such as shoes, bags, wallets, belts, and many others.

There are some similarities between suede and nubuck leather. Both materials are often referred to as "soft leather". However, there are subtle differences between them. For example, suede is typically lighter than nubuck leather. In addition, suede is generally thinner than nubuck leather, while nubuck leather tends to be thicker.

Types of Leather

TUMBLED FULL GRAIN LEATHER

Full Grain Leather is the best choice for those looking for quality products. This leather is the highest grade of leather you can find. It is solid and durable. It is also known as "tumbled full grain". It is used for shoes, handbags, belts, wallets, briefcases, luggage, etc.

PEBBLED LEATHER

The pebbled leather is a type of leather that has been textured to create a raised, pebbled surface. It is typically made from cowhide but can also be made from other types of leather. The pebbled leather is often used in high-end products, such as handbags and shoes, because of its luxurious look and feel.

The pebbled leather is created by a process called "embossing." First, the leather is placed on a metal plate engraved with a design. The plate is then pressed into the leather, causing the design to be imprinted onto the surface. This procedure can be done by hand or by machine.

Pebbled leather has several advantages over other types of leather. It is more stable and resistant to scratches and scuffs.

BURNISHED LEATHER

Burnished leather is a type of leather treated with an oil or other substance to give it a shine. The leather is then buffed to produce a high-gloss finish. Burnishing can be done by hand or machine; the results can vary from a subtle sheen to a mirror-like shine.

Burnished leather has been around for centuries and was once used exclusively for royalty and the wealthy class. Burnished leather is popular in various settings, from high-end fashion to casual wear. It is prized for its distinctive appearance and durability.

Burnished leather bag  is an excellent option if you're looking for a striking piece of footwear or accessories. With appropriate care, it will last for many years.

OILED FULL GRAIN LEATHER

Oiled full grain leather is a type of leather that is made by applying oil to the top surface of the hide. This process gives the leather a soft, supple feel and a deep, rich colour. The oil also helps to protect the leather from water and stains.

Oiled full grain leather is typically used for high-end products, such as furniture, shoes, and belts. However, it is also famous for making wallets, purses, and other small accessories.

BONDED OR BLENDED LEATHER

Bonded or blended leather is a material made from bits of leather that are glued or stitched together. It's used to make furniture, car seats, and other items where a robust and durable surface is needed.

Blended leather is made from real leather that has been shredded or ground up and mixed with synthetic fibres. This makes it cheaper than full-grain leather but also less durable.

Bonded leather is made from lower-quality pieces of genuine leather that are glued or fused. It has a paper or fabric backing and is often used for the sides and back of furniture.

So, which is better? Bonded or blended leather? If you're looking for durability, go with full-grain leather. If you're looking for a lower price, go with blended leather.

SPLIT LEATHER

Split leather is a type of leather that is made from lower-quality layers of hide. It is thinner and more pliable than full-grain leather, making it ideal for clothing, accessories, and upholstery use. Split leather has a smooth surface with a faint grain pattern and can be dyed or finished in various ways.

SEMI-ANILINE LEATHER

Semi-aniline leather is a type of leather that is made by combining aniline and pigmented finishes. This leather has a natural look and feels and a protective coating that makes it more durable than pure aniline leather. Semi-aniline leather is often used in high-end furniture and automobile upholstery.

FAUX LEATHER

Faux leather is a material made to look like leather but is not made from animals. Instead, it can be made from various materials, including PVC, polyurethane, and microfiber. Faux leather is often used in clothing and upholstery because it is cheaper and easier to care for than real leather.

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying faux leather:

  1. It is essential to make sure that the material is breathable. Otherwise, it can cause skin irritation or rashes.
  2. Faux leather should not be exposed to direct sunlight or heat for too long, as this can cause the material to warp or fade.
  3. Always test a small piece of faux leather before using it for a larger project, as some chemicals in the material may react with certain fabrics or surfaces.

Full-Grain vs Top Grain: The Final Verdict

When it comes to selecting a type of leather for your shoes, there are many factors you must consider. One of those factors is durability. But what exactly does durability mean? Does one type of leather offer greater longevity than another? Is one better suited for outdoor use while the other is better for indoor wear? And how do you know which type of leather you want? First, let's take a look at some of the distinctions between full-grain leather and top-grain leather.

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather is regarded as the most durable form of leather. This type of leather offers excellent strength and resilience. However, because it contains no soft fibres, it tends to feel stiffer than other types of leather. As a result, it is usually used in high-end fashion items such as handbags, wallets, briefcases, luggage, belts, and furniture. In addition, because of the inherent qualities of full grain leather, it is typically chosen over other forms of leather when making products that require long-term durability.

Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather is similar to full grain leather in strength and resilience. However, unlike full grain leather, top grain leather contains soft fibres that make it much more comfortable to touch. As a result, top grain leather is often preferred for items like footwear, handbags, wallets, eyewear, and accessories. While top grain leather is less durable than full grain leather, it provides a level of comfort that makes up for its lack of toughness.

Which Type Should You Choose?

If you are looking for something that is both durable and comfortable, then full-grain leather might be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you prefer something that feels soft and luxurious, then top grain leather could be just what you are looking for. When choosing between the two types of leather, remember that each has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, full grain leather is strong, but it is also stiff. Therefore, full grain leather bag could be a good choice if you plan to carry around heavy objects. On the other hand, if you plan to carry lighter items, then top grain leather bag is likely a better fit.

 

 FAQs

1. HOW TO PROTECT FULL GRAIN LEATHER?

Leather polishes are available in both liquid and paste forms. While liquid polish works well, it dries out and cracks over time. On the other hand, paste leather polishes are long-lasting and provide a protective layer that prevents water penetration and oil migration, making them ideal for full grain leather. Here we take a look at how to protect full grain leather.

2. HOW THICK IS FULL GRAIN LEATHER?

Full-grain thickness varies depending on whether it is finished with a water-based or a traditional oil-based process. A water-based finish gives you a thinner, softer leather. An oil-based finish gives you thicker, more rigid leather.

3. HOW TO PROTECT FULL GRAIN LEATHER?

Leather polishes are available in both liquid and paste forms. While liquid polish works well, it dries out and cracks over time. On the other hand, paste leather polishes are long-lasting and provide a protective layer that prevents water penetration and oil migration, making them ideal for full grain leather. Here we take a look at how to protect full grain leather.

4. HOW THICK IS FULL GRAIN LEATHER?

Full grain leather is more robust than other kinds. But how thick does it vary? The thickness of full-grain depends on how it has been treated during tanning. In addition, full-grain thickness varies depending on whether it is finished with a water-based or a traditional oil-based process. A water-based finish gives you a thinner, softer leather. An oil-based finish gives you thicker, more rigid leather.

5. WHICH PART OF THE LEATHER IS FULL GRAIN?

Full-grain leather is made from the entire thickness of the hide, including the outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis. The epidermis is where the hair follicles are located and where mainly of the natural colouration comes from. Because it hasn't been sanded or buffed to remove imperfections, full-grain leather retains all of its natural beauty.

6. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FULL GRAIN LEATHER?

Full grain leather is a natural material that is strong and durable. It is also flexible, making it perfect for a variety of uses. Full grain leather has a natural appearance that can be enhanced with dyes and finishes. The grain pattern of full grain leather is also unique, making it an attractive choice for many different applications.

7. IS TOP-GRAIN, FULL-GRAIN, OR CORRECTED GRAIN BEST?

There is a great debate among leather connoisseurs as to which grain is the best. For example, is top-grain the best because it is the most natural and contains the least amount of processing? Or is corrected grain better because it has been buffed and sanded to create a more consistent surface? 

There are pros and cons to both types of grain. Top-grain leather is more breathable and has a more extraordinary ability to resist water damage. However, it is also more sensitive to scratches and staining. On the other hand, corrected grain leather has a more uniform appearance and is less likely to show wear over time. However, it is not as durable as top-grain leather and can be more challenging to clean.

So, which type of grain is best? It depends on your personal preferences.

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