The Ultimate Guide To Nubuck Leather

Have you ever seen or touched smooth leather that felt almost suede-like? This texture is called nubuck leather. Nubuck leather is trendy in accessories, footwear, wallets, and even furniture such as chairs. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly think that full-grain leather is suede, but they are actually different types of leather. So now you may be asking yourself, why does this matter? Well, knowing the difference between full-grain leather and nubuck leather can help you pick out a high-quality leather item versus one with poor quality…

What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck leather is produced by sanding the outside surface of dense fibers to create the elevated, textured side of a Top Grain item. As its Top Grain and thus the fibers are so close together, it produces a highly uniform, smooth surface when raised and sanded.

Nubuck has a familiar feel to suede, but it’s much more resilient since it’s made from the hide’s top grain. It has a wonderful appearance and feels to it, and it’s utilized on a range of goods. It combines some of the best characteristics of different types of leather.

How is Nubuck Leather Produced?

The exterior (top-grain) layer of cowhide is utilized to create nubuck leather. The upper surface, which is utilized to create suede, is harder and more durable than the inner layer. The upper grain is buffed and polished on the exterior to give a uniform look since it may have obvious marks and flaws. The sanding procedure leaves a small nap of tiny protein fibers on the leather, giving it a velvety feel. Finally, it is stained or colored to conceal any residual flaws in the nubuck surface.


Nubuck is more durable and robust than suede since it is produced from top-grain leather. It’s also more long-lasting than bicast or bonded leather, which doesn’t utilize the top-grain part of the skin. However, due to its rough surface, it is more susceptible to staining and soiling than other leathers.


The nubuck leather may be stained or dyed to any color once brushed or sanded to give it a smooth feel and appearance. It has a pleasant feel to it and is readily scratched. However, rubbing the nubuck’s surface causes the color to shift as the orientation of the microfibers changes. Therefore, with prolonged usage, nubuck may acquire a patina.

Nubuck is a kind of leather that is widely used for a variety of purposes.

Closeup of leather shoe
Closeup of leather shoe

Shoes, coats, wallets, purses, travel bags, backpacks, furniture, and various other products are made with nubuck. In addition, it is widely utilized in the manufacture of boots and shoes. Therefore, it is appropriate for luxury and less-exclusive products, given its history of being linked with stylish people and nobility.

The Benefits of Nubuck

Nubuck is long-lasting and reasonably durable since it is produced from top-grain leather. It also breathes better than fake leather and leather glued to synthetic jackets. This is not only comfy, but it also looks beautiful in whatever product it is utilized. Unlike certain other leather kinds, it does not need cleaning or gleaming. Due to its smooth surface, which only needs periodic cleaning, it needs less care than many other types of leather.

Nubuck has several drawbacks.

Nubuck has the disadvantage of being unsuitable for situations where the surfaces will be subjected to muck, grime, and dirt. When wet, it darkens, but when dry, it returns to its original hue. Because oils and other dirt may discolor the nubuck, it must be treated with care when worn outdoors. This flaw does not exist in other high-quality leather goods.

How to Take Care of Nubuck Leather

Nubuck is easy to take care of. All you’ll need is a specific cleaning brush made for your nubuck. Remove any surface filth first, possibly with a wet towel, and then clean the surface completely with the brush once it has dried.

Although moisture and humidity must be avoided whenever possible, if the nubuck does become wet, dry it in a cool, dry location. To keep it soft, use a conditioning lotion every 2 to 3 weeks if necessary.


Suede, chrome-colored leather, and vegetable leather are other leathers that are comparable to nubuck. Suede has a similar look and feels to nubuck, but it is less expensive and less durable. Nubuck and suede are both excellent options for most individuals, based on their budgets and intended durability.

Chrome-dyed leather, on the other hand, has a distinct texture and color from nubuck. This is because it’s produced by tanning and dying an animal’s skin to the desired hue. As a result, it is much more water-resistant, robust, and stain-resistant than nubuck.

On the other hand, vegetable leather is produced by tanning animal hides in tannins obtained from tree bark. Yet, unlike chrome leather, it’s less damaging to the environment. In addition, it gives the leather a smooth surface that develops a deep patina over time and is highly sought after.


Nubuck is a potential choice if you’re looking for a comfy leather product that’s simple to maintain and looks fantastic for any occasion. However, keep in mind that water, oil, and dirt may discolor this product’s velvety surface. So instead, consider suede leather if you’re searching for a somewhat less costly alternative that looks comparable.

Here are some more leathers you may be interested in:

craig sandeman

Meet Craig, the leather guru behind a store and blog that helps you find the best leather products. When he’s not curating lists of top-tier leather items, he’s hiking Table Mountain or walking his dog. Trust his picks, and you’ll never feel leather regret.

I’ve carefully chosen each and every product on this site. And if you happen to make a purchase through one of my links, I may receive  a commission. – thanks! :)

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