What’s the Difference Between Faux Leather and Real Leather?

What’s the Difference Between Faux Leather and Real Leather?


Leather is a luxury product, which is also hard-wearing and durable, so when you are buying it, you want to make sure you’re getting the real deal. However, some faux leather can be very convincing at first glance, so you could be easily fooled into thinking that it is a genuine product.

There are some ways to distinguish real leather from faux leather, so with a little bit of practice, you should be able to tell the difference between the two so you can make sure that you always get the genuine article.

Features of Real Leather


Real leather is a fantastic product which has a number of benefits when used in fashion. There are certain features of real leather which will make it easier to spot once you know what you’re looking for. These include:

  • The grain will have an irregular pattern
  • There will be a distinctive leather smell
  • Water will absorb in rather than sitting on top of the leather
  • It should be expensive

For a more in-depth look into the features of ‘genuine’ leather, check out this article from Business Insider.

It’s important to remember that there are different types of leather with varying levels of quality. These are:

  • Full Grain Leather – this is the most luxurious type of leather and comes from the top layer of the hide.
  • Top Grain Leather – the next grade of leather is taken from the top layer of the hide but involves splitting this layer to get rid of any blemishes.
  • ‘Genuine’ Leather – also known as corrected-grain leather, this uses the layers below the top layer of the hide and is often embossed with a grain pattern.
  • Bonded Leather – the offcuts and shavings from leather are turned into a mulch and bonded together.

Features of Faux Leather

Faux leather can often be very convincing and some pieces can be difficult to establish whether they are real or faux. As with real leather, faux leather can have some distinctive properties, including:

  • The grain will have a regular pattern that can often look a little too perfect
  • It can sometimes have a plastic-like texture
  • There will be a distinct lack of a leather smell
  • As it is not a natural product, it will not absorb water

In general, faux leather will be a lot cheaper than real leather, so if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. While faux leather can often look quite similar to real leather, there are significant differences which mean that the quality is far lower and it will not last as long as real leather.

Lakeland Leather created a great infographic about how to spot fake fashion which can give you plenty of good tips on how to spot if a leather item is fake, such as looking at the edges of the material as well as the stitching. These small details can help you to tell the difference between real leather and faux leather so you can be sure that you will be getting the genuine article.

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