What Is Calfskin Leather?

Calfskin is best known for being used in the uppers of jackets made for horseback riding. The hide is most often from horse calves that have been castrated to remove their testicles. This offers the leather a more uniform appearance and a more substantial feel under the skin. Since it’s so popular with horsemen, retail stores that sell leather goods carry a fair bit of calfskin in their inventory, often in the form of suede jackets and hunting jackets for $200-$300 each. While the perfect fit isn’t essential for riding wear (most of the time anyway), it can make a big difference in feel and appearance when used for other clothing or household items.

Let’s look into calfskin in more detail.

There are many reasons to love calfskin leather. The fact that it comes from a real animal provides a level of intimacy with your purchase that cheaper hides from factory farming can’t match. The smell of the hide when you pull it from the cow can be pretty impressive as well. And unlike other types of leather, calfskin has no toxic chemicals or oils that can seep into your body after using it for a long time. If you love beautiful things and have the budget for them, buying raw calfskin leather is an excellent investment.

How are the two calfskin leather finishes created?

The two finishes of calfskin leather are known as aniline and semi-aniline. Side by side, they look completely different. The aniline finish has been tanning for longer, giving it a coarser appearance. Additionally, it takes on a more subtle look as it has more color variation in it. However, the semi-aniline finish is what gives calfskin its lovely drape and purchase when worn. Different tanneries apply the aniline finish differently due to its similarity in look and feel and how it will wear over time.

Aniline leather:

Aniline leather is the most luxurious and popular choice among those who want the utmost comfort and luxury in their purchase. The highest grade of genuine leather came from only a few select tanneries in India and was carried by some of the top luxury retailers worldwide. Calfskin is taken from alive animals which have been given no chemicals or preservatives. This ensures the best possible quality and exceptional beauty.

Semi-aniline leather:

Semi-aniline leather may sound very similar to aniline leather, but it is not. The fundamental difference is that semi-aniline leather has a special covering, while aniline calfskin leather does not. The purpose of this coating is to protect the leather from harm and assist in preventing moisture damage. Semi-aniline leather is also said to be more durable than aniline. Furthermore, semi-aniline leather is often created from calfskin with the fewest wrinkles and blemishes, resembling full-grain leather. This spotless, flawless appearance isn’t for everyone, yet it nevertheless commands a sizable market share.

Is calfskin the same as genuine leather?

What Is Calfskin Leather? 1

Calfskin is considered one of the finest types of leather for sporting goods and one of the most attractive. The tan color comes from the animal hide (not fabric), which has been tanned using a process known as chemical tanning. This method produces an attractive, healthy-looking hide that can be properly cared for with care by experts. Before purchasing calfskin, it’s best to know what qualities the leather boasts: durability, quality, and visibility are three traits that will help you locate an exceptional product.

Is leather made of calfskin waterproof?

Calfskin leather has a relatively strong water resistance owing to its tighter grain. However, saying that it is waterproof is deceptive. Genuine leather will never be completely waterproof on its own. Although there are sprays on the market that promise to make leather water-resistant, leather will absorb moisture on its own. It’s usually a good idea to keep your leather items away from water and wet regions.

How does Calfskin Leather compare to other leather types?

Calfskin leather is one of the greatest forms of leather, as we previously discussed. Its silky smoothness and opulent feel justify its opulent status and expensive price tag. But how great is it in practice? Let’s explore how calfskin leather stacks up against some of the most popular varieties of leather.

Cowhide vs. Calfskin:

Cowhide leather is by far the most common sort of leather on the market. You may find it in a variety of places, including leather furniture and accessories. It isn’t very noteworthy, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a good-looking leather that’s also light on your wallet.

On the other hand, Calfskin is a lot more luxurious and superior in every aspect except price. Calfskin has a tighter grain than cowhide, making it notably more durable despite being lighter and thinner. Calfskin is also a lot softer than sheepskin.

Calfskin vs. Lambskin:

Regarding softness and durability, lambskin is the closest rival to calfskin. It’s hardly even a question of which is superior since both are regarded as high-end materials. However, there are a few distinctions between the two.

Lambskin, much more than calfskin, has a buttery and smooth texture. It’s thin and light, yet it’s very lightweight to wind and cold temperatures, making it a great leather for winter jackets. On the other hand, calfskin offers a good combination of superficial softness and hardness, and it stands up well in severe environments. Calfskin is more scratch and abrasion-resistant.

Calfskin vs. Sheepskin:

There isn’t much of a distinction between sheepskin and lambskin leather when it comes to common market phrases, and most locations swap the terminology. There used to be a clear difference, but that difference has vanished once producers began utilizing the smoothest sheepskin possible. It is not uncommon to encounter a sheepskin jacket that is fluffier and smoother than lambskin now.

Shearling jackets, on the other hand, are one region where sheepskin has a particular identity. It is far more resistant to cold settings since it is a thinner, thicker variant of lambskin. Sheepskin is much superior to calfskin when it comes to cold weather and ice terrain.

Calfskin vs. Goatskin:

Goatskin leather is a reasonable substitute for calfskin. Like calfskin, goatskin is water-resistant, velvety to the touch, and has a tight grain. The only notable distinction is that goatskin is more flexible than sheepskin. The texture of goatskin differs from that of calfskin.

They’re both great for jackets at the end of the day, and all had their own unique characteristics. It’s pointless to ask which is better since it all comes down to personal choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Calfskin Leather Suitable for Jackets?
Yes, calfskin is a great material for a jacket. The softness of its surface alone is enough to make a jacket as the Sergeant black leather jacket popular. It’s also simple to work with, resulting in a wide spectrum of apparel, from flashy motorcycle jackets to brown leather trench coats.
When we spoke about calfskin leather finishes, we didn’t include the matte finish. Calfskin is a few leather varieties that look acceptable with a matte finish that isn’t shiny. Calfskin is ideal for anybody who enjoys matte black jackets of any other variety.
If you’d like to learn which leather jackets to purchase while we’re on the subject of leather jackets, check out our in-depth explanation of leather jacket styles.

What is the best place to buy a calfskin leather jacket?
Calfskin leather is a common choice for jackets. On the internet, you may discover hundreds of various colors, patterns, and styles. All of this diversity is fantastic, but there are two drawbacks. One is that the grade of the jacket might vary greatly from one dealer to the next, and you can never be certain.
The second, and more important, consideration is the amount of time it will take to locate exactly what you want. Leather jackets are a substantial investment, and we all want a jacket that is precisely what we desire. However, finding that one great jacket amid hundreds of ready-made options is almost difficult. Fortunately, there is a fantastic answer to this issue.

Last Thoughts

Calfskin is unquestionably one of the greatest types of leather available. Its excellent blend of softness and durability makes it ideal for anything from purses to leather jackets. However, the lightweight and flexible nature allow it to be shaped into any shape desired by a craftsman. Sure, other leather varieties excel in one area, but nothing beats true calfskin leather for combining all of the pros into one tidy package.

Further Reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calfskin

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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