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May 16, 2022 3 min read

by Joanna Smykowski

Joanna does quite a few things in life, but writing has been her favorite by far. She is a city girl who has moved to a beach town, and second to writing, will never tire of music, travel, and the friendships she makes as a result of both.


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If you have happened on our blog before, you have read about all types of leather. We have discussed different qualities - full-grain, top-grain, genuine, and corrected. We have spoken about faux leather and suede. We chatted about all of the different hides that are possibilities, such as cows and sheep. But split leather is a new foray.

Have you heard of split leather? If you haven’t, this is the article for you. We’ll dive into the characteristics of what split leather is and how it differs from others. Read on to find out more.

What is Split Leather?

To understand split leather, we need to talk about top-grain leather first. Top-grain leather is a leather that is separated. The split layer is removed and the surface is sanded or buffed down. It is of lesser quality than full-grain leather.

When we talk about split leather, we are referencing a lesser-known quality of leather. Split leather is made from the fibrous area of the cow hide. This area is what is left over from the processing of top-grain leather. When top-grain leather is separated, the bottom part can be split into two more pieces. The middle and flesh split has an artificial grain applied. The artificial grain gives the appearance of a higher quality leather.

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Pros and Cons of Split Leather

Split leather is a lower quality leather, but there are many pros to this leather type.

The main benefit to split leather is that imperfections in the leather will not get seen. These include:

  • Fat wrinkles
  • Variations in grain
  • Larger scars
  • Larger imperfections
  • Different shade of color on the suede side
  • Depth and shading of color

This is a result of the splitting process removing it all entirely and the addition of artificial grain and pigmentation.

Split leather is also the most durable leather due to the finished process. This is why it is used in areas, such as between seat cushions, where durability is key.

On the flip side of its durability, split leather is not breathability. The embossing and application of color agents and top coats remove this ability. As a result, it cannot be used for things where you want some airflow, such as seat surfaces.

Split leather is perfect for usage in things like work gloves and work boots. These are surfaces that are expected to handle wear and tear. In this case, top quality leather would be a waste, but split leather works perfectly. It has a high abrasion resistance and can handle any friction or wearing down. If you are looking for something top quality, it would generally not get used in our favorite leather product - jackets. The only time it would be used is if the manufacturer was looking for a cheap alternative. Be sure to always confirm the type of leather you’re purchasing before investing.

Split leather

Conclusion

While split leather may not be as well-known as its counterparts, it is used in many situations. You now know the difference between split leather and the rest, and how they compare in quality. If you want to know more about any other leathers, such as full or top-grain, visit our blog for more.


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