If you want to invest in long-lasting, high-quality leather goods, we highly recommend full-grain leather.
Known for its great durability and character, full-grain leather is often used for bags, shoes and other clothing products. It is considered a luxury material, which is why we see it used for high-quality, stylish goods in men’s fashion and beyond.
What is Full Grain Leather?
Full-grain leather is the strongest and most durable part of the animal hide. It is the layer below the hair and this exposure is what gives it the natural leather characteristics that we expect to see, feel and smell with high-quality leather goods.
Full grain leather is not altered during the tanning process and is, therefore, a very natural leather option. It is considered the highest quality leather – even more so than top-grain leather and genuine leather.
The natural pattern on full grain leather is very tight and this closeness in the fibres gives it its durable qualities and makes it more water-resistant than other types of leather.
This durability makes it a brilliant option for luxury leather goods and it also gives it the leather texture that many fake leather products try (and often fail) to mimic.
How is Full Grain Leather Made?
There are usually 3 stages to creating full-grain leather. Preparation, Tanning and Crusting.
Once a full cut of the hide has been cleaned and treated, it is separated into horizontal layers. This is where we get different cuts of leather, like full-grain and suede materials for use on different types of leather products.
The hide is then limed and de-limed to further remove any grease or proteins that the first round of cleaning didn’t get. Some leathers will also be bleached to make them more receptive to the tanning process.
Next, the hide is tanned. This transforms the hide from its more raw form into a stable material, suitable for garments and leather wares.
Tanned hides are then crusted, which means that they are thinned, moisturized and tanned again. Some shinier leathers would be oiled or glazed at this point in the process – full-grain leather won’t typically have these treatments.
Are Full Grain Leather Goods High-Quality?
(The Pros & Cons)
Full-grain leather is an extremely sturdy material that has a distinct visual appeal to those who choose to buy real leather goods. To understand why it is considered to be the highest quality leather, we can look at some more details about the pros and cons of full-grain leather.
PROS OF FULL GRAIN LEATHER
The biggest advantage of using full-grain leather is its durability. The tight-knit fibres in the cut make it the perfect material for heavy-duty items like full-grain leather bags and belts.
2. WATER RESISTANCE
Full grain leather is more water-resistant than some other leathers. The grain means that it is able to absorb moisture from conditioners (or just bad weather) without sustaining significant damage or misshaping.
3. NATURAL LOOK
Its beautiful, natural appearance will also appeal to those who love classic, high-quality goods. The fine texture looks great on real leather products and makes investment in high-quality full-grain leather really worthwhile as a gift to either yourself or a loved one.
4. BUILT TO LAST
Full-grain leather, unlike fake leather, will really last. A good real leather bag will often last for decades if well maintained.
CONS OF FULL GRAIN LEATHER
Although many (including us!) will definitely see this as a positive feature, full-grain leather can be prone to marks and imperfections. This is due to both its natural form and exposure when on the animal, and also due to it being untreated. For most, this is one of the appealing qualities of full grain leather as it makes your good totally unique. But for some, imperfections make full-grain leather a less appealing option than top grain leather.
Full-grain leather can be a more expensive option than fake leathers. Many see real leather goods as an investment, so price might not be too much of a concern when you can have confidence that your full-grain leather product can last for many years.