What Is Suede Leather and What Are the Different Types of Suede Leather?

Suede is something we’ve all heard about as often as we’ve seen it, and we’ve all seen it much more often than we can count. Does anyone want some awesome suede leather jackets? We don’t know much about it, even though we agree with its awesomely sumptuous appearance and feel, not to mention the countless colors it comes in. In this blog article, we’ll look at a few key characteristics of suede that can provide us with a new perspective and more clarity on one of the most well-known leather kinds in history.

So, what exactly is Suede?

For those unfamiliar, Suede is the soft and fluffy underbelly of animal skins or hide. Suede is created by flipping leather upside-down so that the furry side is facing up.

Suede’s Beginnings

What Is Suede Leather and What Are the Different Types of Suede Leather? 1

Animal skins have long been used to manufacture clothes and household objects, dating back to the Paleolithic period. Only throughout the Industrial Revolution did leather experience a significant transformation, owing to the introduction of various new types of tanning chemicals that have proven indispensable in leather production.

Suede, for instance, just reached its peak popularity in the twentieth century. Its prominence as a status symbol is partly due to the fashion industry emphasizing its delicate yet rich quality, appearance, and feel, which is why many customers are always on the lookout for the finest suede leather jackets. Not only that, but suede also has a trait that many people admire: its adaptability.

Though the term “suede” comes from France, the term “gants de Suede” literally translates to “gloves of Sweden.” This phrase refers to a certain sort of soft glove introduced from Sweden at the time. Over time, however, this term came to apply to any leather-based material having a napped texture.

Suede leather is manufactured in a variety of ways.

Many suede makers would flip the leather hide over to obtain the soft and fluffy layer utilized outside while keeping the leather’s tough inner.  However, since suede leather is a sort of split leather, one typical method for producing it is to cut the inner layer of the skin or hide, mostly obtained from sheep and deer, goats, lamb, and calves obtain that soft and fuzzy characteristic. Thicker skins are also employed, and though they provide comparable softness, they seem to become scruffier in nature rather than the napped sensation sought.

Levels of grade in suede

Collection of rolled suede and leather of various colors lying on wooden table
Collection of rolled suede and leather of various colors lying on a wooden table inside the workshop of leatherworker

Although suede is high-quality leather, it is not measured or characterized in the same manner as other leathers. Surprisingly, the age of the animal’s hide or skin from which suede is created determines the degree of quality. On the one hand, sheepskin is an excellent source of suede, which is why it is so popular. On the other hand, Cowhide may be used to manufacture suede, albeit it isn’t as popular.

Another factor that impacts the quality of suede is whether or not the leather is split. Although full-grain leather is robust and robust, it does not create a good suede since it is not malleable. On the other hand, Split leather helps to get the soft and supple surface that is so desirable in suede.

Suede Leather Types

Suede leather, like other leathers, comes in a variety of varieties depending on the hide or skin from which it’s manufactured.

Suede Sheepskin Leather

Lambskin, for example, is often used in this sort of suede leather since it is lighter and softer than its older equivalents. Suede may also be made from sheepskin. However, the overall appearance and feel are considerably different.

Suede Cowhide Leather

Cowhide suede leather has the same characteristics as lambskin and sheepskin suede leather. In comparison to fully developed cows, calves tend to have softer skins. While cowhides provide excellent leather durability, calves provide the nap and suppleness wanted in suede leather. Like our last point, Cowhide can manufacture suede, but the look and feel are noticeably different.

Suede Pigskin Leather

Pigskins are dyed and sueded to create this used technology; it is a thick, stiff skin with pores and a short nap, similar to human skin. However, as a suede, it is robust, resilient, and long-lasting. Pigskin suede leather is often used to manufacture shoes, purses, wallets, and work gloves, although it is not limited to these items.

Suede Leather’s Benefits and Drawbacks

Suede leather, like all other materials and textiles, has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The most notable are listed below.

The Benefits

  • Suede leather has a distinct brushed face, is durable, and has a soft and sensual feel.
  • The thicker suede kind may last a long time.


  • Suede is a soft material that absorbs water fast and may get soiled.
  • It is too expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Suede Made of Genuine Leather?
Suede is true leather since it is composed mostly of lambskin. Suede may be made from goats, calves, deer, and pigs, among other animals.

Is suede preferable to leather?
While it is debated which is the best of the two, both leather and suede have many comparable characteristics. Suede is soft, more casual, but less durable. Even though they may vary somewhat, it is a matter of personal opinion which of the two is best, depending on needs.

Is it possible for suede to be waterproof?
Given the fragility of suede and its susceptibility to spills and stains, waterproofing is a smart idea. This procedure, too, should be conducted with caution. Any method of waterproofing that uses wax is not a good idea. Spray-type protection, on the other hand, would be a better option for waterproofing suede.

Is Suede Full-Grain Leather?
Yes, full-grain leather may be used to make suede. These are often seen in shoes, furniture, and purses.

Why is suede such a high-priced material?
Suede is more costly than leather, owing to its suppleness and softness and the fact that it is more vulnerable to degradation if not well cared for.

Suede is what color?
Suede’s natural hue is a rich, rich teddy bear brown. Some have a taupe tint, which varies according to the kind of animal skin used.

What is Faux Suede, and how does it differ from real suede?
Faux suede is a cruelty-free material comprised of polyester microfibre woven into a thin, silky, durable plastic fabric.

Final Thoughts

To sum up this discussion on suede leather, you now have a better understanding of what suede leather is. The suede leather jacket has a long history and is now one of the most popular clothing items in the world. The process of making it, as well as the several varieties of suede leather available. Not only that, but we’ve also got the opportunity to identify some notable benefits and drawbacks of this world-famous, time-tested sort of leather.

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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