Leather is one of the most beloved materials around the world and has been for thousands of years. From clothing to apparel, luggage, furniture, bags, and much more, leather provides a quality look, quality feel, and durability you can’t find with other materials.
As often as we use leather, there’s one question that’s always asked by consumers: “How strong is leather?” The answer to that will largely depend on the company providing the leather and what type of leather they’re using.
Don’t worry, we’re going to break it all down for you below, including the four different leather grades, what leather can withstand, and how you can maintain it for years to come.
Understanding the 4 Leather Grades
When determining the strength of leather, there are four major grades (also called grains or qualities) that set them apart -- corrected-grain, genuine, top-grain, and full-grain.
Understanding the difference between the four is crucial to ensuring you receive a quality leather product. Especially in today’s market, some of the less-quality leather looks eerily similar to real leather. In addition to that, some of the names can be deceiving.
First, you’re going to want to understand the different parts of the animal hide, which help determine the different grains. When it comes to leather, we’re interested in everything in-between the flesh and the epidermis (skin).
There are three main parts to know -- the corium, the grain, and the grain/corium junction. The corium (closest to the flesh) consists of large collagen bundles, the grain (closest to the skin) consists of tight collagen bundles, and the junction consists of a mixture of both (in-between corium and grain).
To ensure you’re met with a positive experience when shopping for leather, let’s take a closer look at each grain of leather and which one is best-suited for you.1. Corrected-Grain Leather
As the name suggests, corrected-grain leather is leather with corrected imperfections. It’s not as well-known as the other ones, but still has that unique leather look everyone loves.
Since corrected-grain leather utilizes animal hide that doesn’t meet the required standards for aniline or vegetable tanning, the process is instead completed by an experienced professional leather maker to hide its imperfections and make it look as good as possible.
In addition to that, corrected-grain leather generally has an artificial grain embossed on top of it, giving it a more-uniform look. This layer is dyed to provide a wide range of different colors.
2. Genuine Leather
Genuine leather is the most deceiving type of leather out there. When most people hear the term, they expect it to be the highest-quality leather available. While it is made out of real leather and is 100% authentic, it doesn’t quite match up to the higher-graded leather.
This is because genuine leather is made from leftover pieces of leather once the other grades are made. Going back to the different parts of the hide, genuine leather is made out of the corium. It’s not going to feel as good as the other grades and won’t look as nice, but there’s definitely no question about its authenticity.
Since they’re a lower quality, they are more affordable and more readily available, which is why you see genuine leather pretty much everywhere you go.
3. Top-Grain Leather
Top-grain leather is the second-highest quality leather available. It is made of the outermost layer of the hide, but is sanded down to make it less breathable and cooler. It mostly consists of the grain/corium junction, but there’s also parts of the grain and corium involved.
If you’re looking for a leather with less stain resistance, but is also more affordable than the highest-quality leather available, then top-grain leather is right for you. It’s a durable choice, very stylish, and has the leather feel we all love.
4. Full-Grain Leather
Finally, we have full-grain leather. When it comes to leather, this is the highest quality you can get. It consists of the grain and grain/corium junction, giving you the part of the hide that’s closest to the skin. It’s more durable and stronger than any other type of leather.
In comparison to top-grain leather, full-grain leather hasn’t been sanded, buffed, or snuffed at all. Instead, you get the natural look of the hide with either an aniline or semi-aniline finish. Aniline finishes don’t give it a topcoat or protective coat, while semi-aniline do.
Both full-grain and top-grain leathers develop panita over time, which helps them stay durable over long periods of time.
What Makes Leather Strong?
When purchasing something that comes in leather, it’s important to understand that it comes from the hide of an animal. Much like our own skin is designed to protect us from the outside world, hides are designed to protect animals from the outside world.
With that being said, you can only begin to wonder all the things leather can withstand. While it’s not indestructible, there’s a reason why so many people trust it when buying furniture, bags, clothing, and cases for electronics.
Due to the long, tight strings of collagen that run through leather, it’s able to maintain its shape even when excessive force is exerted. It might not be as strong as metal, but it’s like weaving millions of pieces of string together in a semi-orderly way. It’s going to be difficult to tear, as well as stretch or rip.
Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you take care of your leather and wouldn’t purposely put it in harm’s way, but it’s nice to know that it’ll hold up better than most other materials you find available today.
At Burkley Case
, we love leather just as much as you. That’s why we only offer the most-durable, strongest, and highest-quality leather out there. All of our products are made out of premium full-grain leather, including our backpacks, iPhone cases, iPads, and more. We supply it all, that way you know exactly where to go when you need leather.
If you’re interested in learning more about our leather products or have more questions related to, “How strong is leather?” then feel free to contact us today. We can’t wait to help you find your new favorite leather case or bag.