10 Kinds of Genuine Leather and How to Tell It Apart From Artificial Leather
How can we tell the difference between genuine leather and fake leather? Ideally, manufacturers would print this information but, unfortunately, we can't always trust labels. Modern technologies make it easy to imitate leather. What should you do if you're interested only in real leather products instead of artificial leather?
What tips can we use to understand whether it's real or fake?
Bright Side gathered the main methods we can use to make the right call.
10. Leather saves warmth.
Fake materials don't save and give off warmth. And real leather almost immediately gets warm and saves the temperature for a while.
Artificial leather can also get warm, but its surface would get wet, while real leather stays dry.
If you put real leather and fake leather next to each other, you can notice the difference between them almost immediately.
9. Unique pattern
Real leather has its own unique pattern. Imitation leather has repeating patterns and small spots of the same size. But it is possible to confuse fake leather with printed leather since its pattern is also repetitive.
Besides its structure, leather also has pores that can be noticed with the help of a magnifier or if you just take a closer look. The pores in real leather are scattered around. Modern technologies can imitate them, but you can still tell that it's just print.
8. Check the backside.
Try to take a look at the underside of an item to check its structure.
Real leather has many suede fibers while faux leather has a fabric treatment or synthetics.
Using the same method, we can distinguish real leather from a high-quality artificial material called eco leather. It can look just the same but its backside is always fabric.
7. Check the weight.
Genuine leather is always heavier than fake leather. It's noticeable even if we compare smaller things. Of course, different types of leather can weigh differently. For example, sheepskin weighs less than bovine skin.
But artificial leather is always lighter than real leather and sometimes it's even lighter than some fabrics.
6. Check the smell.
We all know how leatherette shoes smell: they have a sharp chemical odor that is hard to get rid of.
Real leather goods of high quality have a light and unobtrusive smell. Some manufacturers add special aromatizers that imitate the leather smell. But customers can be fooled only if a faux material is of a very high quality because it's impossible to hide the odor of chemical elements.
5. The moisture reaction
This is a very easy way to tell the difference between leather and leatherette. But sometimes it's hard to use this method before you make the purchase. Real leather always absorbs water. And the leather of light tones shows it very well: a dark spot will appear and stay before all of the water evaporates.
Leatherette doesn't absorb moisture and its color doesn't change.
4. Tactile sensation
Genuine leather (except lacquer) will never be smooth. Its texture can be different but it's always a bit rough. Faux materials are smooth and slick.
If you bend real leather, it will change its color a bit, but there won't be any creases. Leatherette doesn't change its color, but the creases will be noticeable.
Specialists recommend that we pay attention to prices: genuine leather of good quality can't be cheap. But mind that there are different types of leather.
Pig, bovine, cowhide leather are rather cheap kinds that vary depending on its thickness, hardness, and rigidity. Quite cheap shoes and jackets are made of pigskin or cowhide leather. And belts and backpacks are usually made of durable bovine leather.
Calf, sheep, goat leather are soft and durable types. Almost no creases can appear. Though these kinds of leather are rather thin, they are of high quality. Such leather doesn't change its shape.
Rare and expensive kinds of leather: buckskin, crocodile, snake, and ostrich skin. As a rule, goods made of these types of leather are of the highest quality and have a unique style. But such items really do cost a fortune.
Were these tips useful? How do you usually tell leather apart from imitation leather? Share your experience with us.