Leather vs. Suede

What's the Difference?

Leather and suede are both popular materials used in the fashion industry, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Leather is a durable and versatile material made from animal hides, known for its strength and longevity. It is often used in the production of jackets, shoes, and accessories. On the other hand, suede is a type of leather that has a soft and velvety texture. It is made from the underside of animal hides, giving it a luxurious and delicate feel. Suede is commonly used in the creation of shoes, handbags, and upholstery. While leather is more resistant to stains and water, suede requires more care and maintenance to preserve its appearance. Ultimately, the choice between leather and suede depends on personal preference and the desired look and feel of the product.


Photo by Felipe Santana on Unsplash
MaterialGenuine animal hideGenuine animal hide
TextureSmooth and polishedSoft and velvety
AppearanceLustrous and shinyMatte and fuzzy
UsageCommonly used for shoes, bags, and furnitureOften used for clothing and accessories
DurabilityHighly durable and long-lastingLess durable and prone to wear
Water ResistanceResistant to water to some extentNot water-resistant
CareRequires regular cleaning and conditioningRequires special care and cleaning methods
Photo by Noah Kroes on Unsplash

Further Detail


When it comes to choosing the perfect material for clothing, accessories, or furniture, leather and suede are two popular options that often come to mind. Both materials have their unique characteristics and offer a luxurious feel. In this article, we will delve into the attributes of leather and suede, exploring their differences and similarities to help you make an informed decision.

Appearance and Texture

Leather and suede differ significantly in terms of appearance and texture. Leather is a durable material made from animal hides, which are treated and processed to create a smooth and polished surface. It has a natural sheen and a more refined look compared to suede. On the other hand, suede is created from the underside of animal hides, giving it a soft and velvety texture. Suede has a matte finish and a luxurious feel that adds a touch of elegance to any item it is used for.

Durability and Longevity

When it comes to durability, leather takes the lead. Due to its thickness and the tanning process it undergoes, leather is known for its strength and resistance to wear and tear. Leather products, such as jackets, bags, and shoes, can withstand rough usage and are less prone to damage. On the other hand, suede is more delicate and requires extra care to maintain its quality. Suede items are susceptible to stains, water damage, and scuffs. However, with proper maintenance and regular cleaning, suede products can still last for a long time.

Comfort and Breathability

When it comes to comfort, suede has the upper hand. Its soft and supple texture makes it incredibly comfortable to wear, especially in clothing items like jackets or shoes. Suede molds to the body, providing a snug fit and allowing for ease of movement. Additionally, suede is highly breathable, allowing air circulation and preventing excessive sweating. Leather, although not as breathable as suede, still offers a certain level of comfort. It provides insulation during colder months and can be more suitable for structured items like bags or furniture.

Maintenance and Care

Proper maintenance and care are essential for both leather and suede to ensure their longevity. Leather requires regular cleaning with a soft cloth and a leather conditioner to keep it moisturized and prevent cracking. It is also advisable to store leather items in a cool and dry place to avoid moisture damage. On the other hand, suede requires more delicate care. It is highly recommended to use a suede brush to remove dirt and stains gently. Additionally, suede should be protected with a waterproof spray to prevent water damage. In case of spills, immediate action is necessary to blot the liquid and avoid permanent stains.

Versatility and Fashion

Both leather and suede are highly versatile materials that have made their mark in the fashion industry. Leather, with its polished and sophisticated appearance, is often associated with classic and timeless styles. It is commonly used for jackets, shoes, belts, and handbags, adding a touch of elegance to any outfit. Suede, on the other hand, is known for its luxurious and bohemian vibe. It is often used for jackets, skirts, boots, and accessories, giving a more relaxed and casual feel to an ensemble. Both materials have their place in the fashion world, catering to different styles and preferences.

Price Range

When it comes to price, leather tends to be more expensive than suede. The durability and longevity of leather contribute to its higher cost. Additionally, the tanning process and the quality of the hides used in leather production also impact its price. On the other hand, suede is generally more affordable, making it a popular choice for those seeking a luxurious feel without breaking the bank. However, it is important to note that the price of both materials can vary depending on the brand, quality, and craftsmanship.


Leather and suede are both exceptional materials that offer unique attributes and a touch of luxury. Leather is known for its durability, refined appearance, and versatility, while suede stands out with its soft texture, comfort, and bohemian charm. The choice between leather and suede ultimately depends on personal preferences, the intended use of the item, and the level of care one is willing to provide. Whether you opt for the timeless elegance of leather or the velvety allure of suede, both materials are sure to add a touch of sophistication to your wardrobe or home.

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