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How long does leather last?

What exactly is leather?

Leather is a type of natural fabric typically made from the skins of animals such as cows, goats, or buffalo. It is a very popular material because it is lightweight yet strong, flexible yet durable. Due to its many useful properties, this material can be crafted into a variety of items. For example handbags, shoes, book covers, furniture and many other objects.

Vintage leather backpack

Get to know the material.

Before we can answer the question of how long leather actually lasts, we need to understand the different properties of leather. For those unfamiliar with this subject, selecting the highest quality product can be quite a challenge to the unexperienced eye. It is possible that the difference in quality is not immediately apparent. It has its very own quality that cannot be found in any other type of leather to the same extent. Not only does it have a lifespan that exceeds a lifetime, but it retains its luster as it ages. Over time, a patina forms, the color of which changes. A quality that is highly desirable for anyone interested in leather. It is not sanded down to have a natural look, rather it is made in a natural way, giving it a more authentic look than if it had been sanded down. Because of this, every full-grain leather product is unique, as no two hides are exactly alike. Genuine leather is primarily available in three different types:

full grain leather
The full-grain variety is reserved for processing at the very end. It is the part of the animal hide that is the most resilient and durable. The fact that it is in the top layer of animal skin, just below the hair, gives it a higher quality. Unlike the deck wood, it has not been altered in any way. This means that solid wood has not been smoothed, sanded or polished with sandpaper. This results in the solid wood looking more natural and of higher quality.

top grain leather
Although it is described as being of very high quality, the quality of the leather it contains is not the best of all leather types. It is the upper part of the raw material that remains after the leather has been cut in half, while the lower part is the actual leather. Fine grain is more durable and softer than its cousin known as composite leather. In contrast to full grain leather, top grain leather has a smaller grain size and a larger proportion of corium. This is the result of the grinding that is part of the process.

Bonded Leather
Composite leather is the lowest quality of the three types of leather we offer. Because it's made from leather scraps that are physically sewn together, it's the lowest quality of the four options. They are usually fragile and can spoil quickly. The quality is very comparable to vinyl.

It can be a difficult task to distinguish genuine strains from other strains. This is because the appearance of this type of fabric is often altered to appear as if it is full grain leather. However, there are some characteristics by which one can tell if it is high quality or if it is just genuine. The first thing to note is that the material usually has some form of branding. It usually has a stiffer or firmer consistency compared to the others. In terms of its strength or durability, it doesn't compare to the others.

How long does leather usually keep its appearance?

Now that we know the four qualities of this exquisite fabric, how long each of these qualities actually lasts. Usually for a lifetime. However, to give a more specific answer, we need to go back to the different grades and how long each one lasts.
While genuine leather is better quality than bonded leather, its longevity and durability aren't quite as impressive. Being inferior to high-quality full-grain leather, it tends to tear under a certain amount of pressure. Genuine leather has the potential to last a very long time if cared for properly. However, it might not be as durable as some of the other premium materials.

How long do the individual types of leather last?

Full grain leather
Full-grain leather is widely recognized as the best quality possible. Due to its durability and robustness, it is the most commonly used, ahead of all other types of leather. Because it's made from a material known for its durability, it's guaranteed to last more than a lifetime. So full-grain leather is not only beautiful, it is also a fantastic investment that goes beyond the aesthetic value. If you take the necessary precautions to care for it, there is little doubt that it will last much longer than a lifetime.

Durability: Upper grain leather
Number 2 When it comes to the quality of the product, top grain is pretty tough and durable. However, there is a single flaw that prevents it from being at the top of the rankings. The longevity of Top-Grain depends on how well the surface finish holds up over time. So if you choose top-grain leather products, you should carefully check the seams and surface treatment before buying. With appropriate care and use, leather of this quality can usually last a lifetime.

Durability: Bound Leather
Given the fact that it got the lowest rating, it's safe to assume it won't last very long. Glued leather is not nearly as durable as the other types of leather. The more it's used, the faster it deteriorates, meaning it's not as durable as other things and potentially susceptible to wear and tear. It may not last very long, especially if used daily.

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