Q:

What is the difference between suede and leather?

A:

Quick Answer

While leather is a material used to make a variety of items, suede is just a finish as opposed to a distinct variety of leather. Some people refer to suede as an "inside out" type of leather because the inner surface of the hide is the exterior surface of suede. The most frequently used source of suede is cowhide, which is used primarily in suede upholstery; however, sheepskin, goatskin, pigskin and deerskin also commonly go into suede.

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What is the difference between suede and leather?
Credit: Phil Denton CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

When manufacturers make suede, they usually take the grain out in one piece. They grind the surface of the skin side down using an emery wheel so that it features a consistent texture and thickness. Some people think that if they buy suede shoes, they are vulnerable to moisture. However, suede just feels like the inside of leather and is just as water-resistant as any other type of leather. Maintaining suede appropriately keeps it in great shape, just as with normal leather shoes. Several different varieties of cream protectors and sprays are available to keep suede looking new for months or even years. To maintain the shape of the nap, it is necessary to brush the suede occasionally, so that the texture does not get bent out of its original shape.

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