Is artificial leather better than bonded leather




Even though we have already dealt with the topic extensively in our “Genuine Leather” article, there still seem to be questions about the terms “Genuine Leather” or “Genuine Leather”. First things first: Real leather is exactly the same as Genuine Leather and just means that a product is made of real leather and not synthetic leather. The terms “Echt Leder” or “Echtes Leder” are the German translations of the English terms “Genuine Leather”, “Real Leather” or “True Leather” and the Italian terms “Vera Pelle” or “Vero Cuoio”.

We Germans can actually consider ourselves lucky because the term “real leather” is much more intuitive than “genuine leather”. However, “Genuine Leather” is used much more frequently than “Genuine Leather”. Therefore, you should be familiar with both terms in order to protect yourself against bad purchases. In the following we list the most frequently asked questions and answers on the subject of real leather.

1) is real leather good leather?
Not necessarily. As with cars, not all cars are created equal. There are huge differences in quality and price. It is the same with leather. Real leather is divided into three leather levels: full-grain leather, top-grain leather and split leather. Full-grain leather offers the best quality and costs the most, while split leather is the worst quality and is the cheapest. Click here to find out more about the different leather grades. Please also note that the term “real leather” says nothing about the keeping or nutrition of the animals or the fermentation process of the leather.

For our classic belts, we only use fine full-grain leather and vegetable-tanned lining leather, which we obtain from the most sought-after tanneries in Europe. You can find more information about our leathers and tanneries here.


Left: Our Carolina women's belt; Right: Our Rémy men's belt


2) Does real leather come from a certain animal?
No. “Real leather” only means that the leather comes from an animal and was not artificially produced. It does not matter whether the leather comes from beef, sheep, lamb, etc.

3) How do you know if a product is made from real leather?
For the identification of real leather, the symbolic representation of an extended animal skin with a supplementary designation has become established. This symbol can often be found on the back of belts or on product labels. If the name is missing, the buyer should find out more. Either ask the sales staff or read the product description online.



4) How do I recognize real leather?
Synthetic leather is getting better and better and it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between real leather and synthetic leather. The following tips can help to identify real leather:

a) odor
Leather has an unmistakable odor that cannot be imitated in artificial leather, which is usually odorless or smells slightly of plastic.
b) surface structure
Full-grain leather and top-grain leather have minor natural imperfections, such as cuts, insect bites, stretch marks and creases in the neck. These "flaws" are more a sign of quality, as they verify the authenticity of the leather. Imitation leathers are not created naturally, but are machine-made and evenly structured and patterned.


Our handmade men's belt Mathis

c) touch
Real leather, especially full-grain leather and top-grain leather, feel warm and soft and have a pleasant grip. Artificial leather, on the other hand, is smooth, rigid and cold.
d) cut edges
Real leather has a fibrous structure on the edges, which consists of the protein-containing pores of the skin, whereas artificial leather has smooth edges. However, this difference will be difficult to see with processed leathers.
e) Oil and water test
Real leathers are natural materials and can absorb water, fats or oils with their open pores. In the case of artificial leather, the liquid will not be so easily absorbed.
f) patina
Real leather, especially full-grain leather, will develop a beautiful patina over time. Synthetic leathers usually retain their color or fade easily.
g) price
The price of a product is of course not a definitive indicator of the quality of a leather, as the brand name has a significant impact on the price, but real leather is usually much more expensive than synthetic leather.



5) Why is the label important?
First of all, everyone would like to know what they are buying. In addition, the classification of a product as "real leather" helps to weigh up whether the price for a product is appropriate or not. Last but not least, the label protects customers who follow a vegan lifestyle from accidentally buying a product made from real leather.

6) What are "faux leather"?
In the meantime you have probably already asked yourself what fake leather or artificial leather is. Bonded leather is one such example. Similar to the wood shavings when sawing, leather remains are created when the animal skin is split and processed. These remains are glued together with an embossed polyurethane or latex coating and the result is called bonded or reconstructed leather. Strength, smell, and texture depend on the percentage of organic leather in the chemical mix (10% -90%). Another type of leather that cannot be called "real leather" is fake leather - also called faux leather - which can be made either chemically or organically, e.g. from pineapple or mushrooms. There are many types of fake leather made from all kinds of materials and with all kinds of patterns.