Full grain leather

Full grain leather

All the leather we use is full grain, this definition can be confusing.  This is best leather you can get, if you look at the leather products we sell, there is a richness and depth which can only be found in full grain leather products.  Full grain doesn’t mean it is grainy or marked in someway, this means that the full hide with all of its layers is intact, it has not been split or sanded down.

The grain is the top outermost layer of the hide, it is the part you see, it is also the layer of the hide that is the strongest, its fibers are very dense and tightly “woven”. And that makes sense if you think about a cow in the wild. It needs the outer layer to be tough to contend with predators, fences, etc.

Once the top layer of the hide has been altered in certain ways, it is no longer full grain leather. Once it has been split or sanded down, you end up with what is often referred to as top grain, corrected grain, or "genuine" leather.  This leather is much weaker than full grain leather.

Let's explore the differences.

  1. Top Grain Leather: Top grain leather is also derived from the top layer of the hide, like full grain leather. However, it undergoes additional processing where the outermost layer is sanded or buffed to remove imperfections. This process results in a more uniform appearance compared to full grain leather.

  2. Genuine Leather: Genuine leather is often misunderstood due to its name. While it sounds like a high-quality option, it's actually a step down from full grain and top grain leather. Genuine leather is made from the lower layers of the hide that are split away from the top grain. It's then treated and processed to give it a consistent appearance, but it lacks the natural grain, durability, strength and character of full grain leather.

  3. Bonded Leather: Bonded leather is a different story altogether. It's made by taking leftover leather scraps or fibers and bonding them together using a polyurethane or latex adhesive. This type of leather is typically less expensive and again lacks the durability, strength, and natural qualities of full grain leather.

Now that we know the basics of each leather type, let's talk about the advantages of full grain leather.

First and foremost, full grain leather offers unparalleled durability. The natural grain and tight fiber structure make it resistant to wear and tear, making it a long-lasting investment. Over time, it develops a beautiful patina, enhancing its appearance and character.

Secondly, full grain leather is breathable, allowing air to pass through the material. This breathability makes it comfortable to wear, as it doesn't trap moisture against the skin.

Additionally, full grain leather ages gracefully. As it absorbs oils and develops its unique patina, it becomes softer and more supple. This natural aging process adds to its charm and beauty.

Lastly, full grain leather is known for its resistance to stains and scratches. Its natural oils provide a protective barrier, making it easier to maintain and care for compared to other leathers.

So, if you're looking for a leather that offers unmatched quality, durability, and a timeless appeal, full grain leather is the way to go. Whether it's a stylish handbag, a wallet or a belt full grain leather products are sure to stand the test of time.


Therefore at Explorer Leather we only use the best full grain leathers.

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