Real Leather vs Genuine Leather: Clear Up the Misunderstanding!

Real leather and Genuine leather – both terms are often used interchangeably. And this is the biggest misunderstanding when it’s come to leather. There is a distinct difference between these terms. In this article, we will reveal why these terms, in reality, are far away from each other. What is 100% leather? What is 100% real leather? Let’s clear up any confusion!

So What is the Difference?

Real leather means that leather is not fake and not synthetic leather. Real leather is made from natural animal hide, and not from artificial materials. Examples of real leather are bovine leather, sheepskin, and others, while example of fake leather – is PU leather, made from polyurethane. Real leather can be of any quality, from the lowest to the greatest.

Genuine leather is just the name of the lowest quality grade of leather. You can describe Genuine leather as “at least it is natural leather” because it is the only advantage of Genuine leather in terms of quality. It is a cheap, affordable option for leather accessories. It is not strong, not durable, but cheap.

So, Genuine leather is real leather, but not all real leather is Genuine. Just remember it, when someone tries to sell you Genuine leather.

What is 100% Leather or 100% Real Leather?

If you see “100% leather” it only means that it is real leather, but it can be any leather type or quality. Unfortunately, in most cases, this is a marketing ploy, and you face Genuine leather – the lowest grade of leather quality. It also stands for “at least it is 100% natural”.

But some people think that only the highest leather quality grade can be called “real leather”. In this case, Full Grain leather can be called 100% real leather as “real” real leather. But remember that any leather qualities can be called real, if it’s made from animal hide.

So, if you see “100% leather” or “100% real leather” it’s better to inquire if it is Full Grain, Top Grain, or Genuine leather.

But what if you see “90% leather” or any different number? That can mean two things: it can be bonded leather or leather glued with artificial materials. If bonded, then better to avoid this leather product, because it is like a chipboard, but from the world of leather. Bonded leather is not as strong and durable as real leather and has a limited lifespan.


What is real leather made of?

Real leather made of natural animal hides: in most cases from cowhide, but also can be made from sheepskin, goatskin, pigskin, or even camel’s hide. They are tanned using natural products such as tree bark or chemicals like chromium salts. The tanning process helps make the leather strong enough to use while still retaining its flexible nature.

Can real leather peel or flake off?

The truth is that real leather should never peel or flake off. If your leather is peeling, it’s most likely faux or bonded leather. They are prone to peeling and cracking over time due to their lack of durability.

What is the cheapest leather?

If you want to buy low-quality leather at the lowest cost there are two types of leather available – genuine leather and bonded leather.

Can real leather get wet?

The short answer is – no! Water can cause discoloration, warping of the material, and shrinkage. In extreme cases, prolonged exposure can lead to rotting or molding of the leather. The good news is that most full-grain and top-grain leathers will typically have artificial waterproofing applied during the manufacturing process. This helps keep moisture from seeping into the material and keeps your shoes or clothes looking good for longer periods of time.