The most attractive and natural leathers which are prized for their soft natural feel. These are leathers which have been aniline dyed in a vat process with no colour coating added to the surface. They are the most expensive leathers to produce because only the very best selection of hides can be used to produce full aniline leathers. Full aniline dyed leathers are more susceptible to absorbing liquids because of the natural porosity of the hide. Because they don’t have a top coating the leather breathes more easily and is cooler to sit on.
PULL UP ANILINE
This is a type of aniline leather (described above) that has an extra top treatment of oil and/or wax effects. These Pull Up leathers are designed to become “distressed” looking through time and use. Its properties are similar to full aniline but in places of heavy use, the oils will be pushed away leaving lighter areas – particularly on the seating areas. It will also scratch easily. The Leather Repair Company has special products designed to restore the look and feel of Pull Up leathers.
Semi-Aniline dyed leathers have been both dyed through and have a thin finishing layer on the surface. They offer a combination of the softness and feel of full aniline leather with the protective benefits of a surface finish. By dyeing the leather through before the final thin top coating is applied, a very even colouration is achieved with only a thin layer of finish. This means the leather remains softer because it is not necessary to apply a thick top coating.
The leather may be buffed (corrected) to reduce heavy natural scarring and blemishes in the hides. It is then coloured with a coating containing opaque pigments and embossed with a grain pattern to ensure a uniformity of colour and resistance to fading.
NUBUCK: also called – CHAPS, STONEWASHED OR SUEDE
These are actually aniline leathers where the surface has been brushed and have created a texture similar to a velvet on leather. Many people confuse these with suede leather. Suede is the flesh side of a piece of leather, and nubuck is an effect that is done to the grain side. This brushing actually breaks the surface and opens up the leather even more making it incredibly soft. The brushing also makes the leather even more absorbent than aniline leathers.
Bonded leather is sometimes known as reconstituted leather, it’s like a synthetic type of leather, like vinyl. Made of synthetic materials of several types that is spread over ground up leather and other substances. It’s mechanically processed to give it the appearance of leather. Bonded leather is almost like a laminate stuck together, this type of woven material can break down and when it does it’s very unsightly and causes bubbles to break and burst where the bonding / glues have broken down. When you examine bonded leather under a microscope you can see it’s true characteristics coming through and you can then tell it’s not real leather at all and is almost all plastic, the backing of bonded leather has this almost webbing type look to it under a microscope a very similar look to bi cast leather on the back.
Coated leather is where a film or coating has been applied to the surface of hides. Pigmented leather is a sprayed-on application, and it is different to coated leather. Films are applied to all types of leathers to give them a natural look and feel to the surface, but leathers with a film coating are much harder to the touch and not as luxurious feeling as pigmented leather. Films are applied over splits and bonded materials to give them the look of leather, technology is getting so good, even the world’s finest experts are finding it hard to tell them apart.
What Gives Suede and Nubuck That Distinctive, Touch, Look & Feel?
Both types of leather are sanded to produce a velvet soft feel. The main difference is that nubuck is sanded on the outer surface of the leather, the part that would have been the exterior skin of the animal, while suede is sanded on the inner layer of the skin from the split.
Naps are short protein fibers that give suede and nubuck that fluffy and velvety surface.
Nubuck costs a great deal more than suede, it still has that quality and that beautiful nap to it, it’s more durable and more stain resistant, making it the perfect partner for shoes and boots.
Always use a soft brass bush to keep the nap raised up for best protection; these soft bristles don’t damage the sensitive suede & nubuck surface and work to lift nap upright, giving your shoes that traditional velvet feel.
Nubuck Is Tougher and Suede is Softer
Naturally, the outside of a hide is tougher than the inside of a hide. It has to be in order to protect the animal from damage.
Since nubuck is made from the outside of the hide, accordingly it is more rough and tough and long-lasting than suede.
Suede is made from the “split” end of the hide and is softer, more porous, and less resistant to scuffs and stains. Suede is dyed through to give it colour.
Suede is often used in the lining of gloves and shoes, to give them that luxury soft feel to your hands and feet.