There are a few leather qualities that are available when you purchase a leather jacket:
- Top grain
- Full grain
The quality of leather refers to the leather itself, and how altered or close it is to its natural setting. It has an effect on how the leather feels as well. We will chat about what distinguishes top grain from the rest. Ultimately, we want you to be able to decide whether or not you should get a top grain leather jacket when you finally make that purchase.
The quality of a leather jacket is determined by how the leather has been handled before being turned into a jacket. We mentioned the qualities before, but let’s take this opportunity to go into it in more detail:
Genuine leather is the lowest quality leather. When full grain leather is split, genuine leather is the bottom half, while the top half becomes top grain. Genuine leather is the catchall term for anything that is leather, but not high quality. It essentially just means it is technically leather, and can even mean scraps of leather bonded together to make the product (bag, jacket, belt, etc.)
Correctedleather is leather that has been sanded down to remove any imperfections. As a result of the sanding, the original grain is gone. A faux animal skin grain is then put on the leather by a mechanical pressing, and the leather is treated. Corrected leather gets treated with a few different products, including oils, treatments, and dye. This makes it more appealing and customizable to consumers. It also results in a uniform grain with extremely smooth leather, albeit a more plastic feel. Corrected leather is always made from top grain leather, but not all top grain leather is corrected.
Full grain leather is, conversely, leather that has not been split. It is the full hide. Not only has it not been split, but it has not been sanded, buffed, or had any other alterations done to remove any natural marks of the hide or imperfections on the surface. This type of leather retains the natural grain and skin pattern of the animal. Full-grain has some breathability due to the natural pores. It also has natural oils, making it a very soft leather. During prolonged contact, there is less moisture. Full grain also develops a patina during its lifetime. A patina on leather is a gloss or sheen on a surface that results from aging. It is the highest quality leather out of all of them, and if you are buying a product that is full grain leather, the seller will be sure to make it known that it is full grain. Full grain leather is likely more expensive, as it is higher quality and will last you much longer.
Top grain leather refers to leather that is split from the bottom layers of the leather. Top grain is the process of sanding away the natural grain from the top surface of the leather. Imitation grain gets stamped into the leather to give a more uniform look. However, no genuine grain remains. This results in a leather jacket that is thinner in material and weight. Leather is heavy and that can sometimes be uncomfortable for people. Many times top grain leather is preferred for that reason – it leads to more comfortable jackets. The bottom half of the leather is used to make suede, while the top layer is used for the jacket. Top grain leather is the most common type of leather in high-end leather products, but it is the second-highest quality, although the name suggests otherwise. The surface gets sanded and a finish coat is added. This results in a colder, more plastic feel of the leather with less breathability, even though it is thinner and more comfortable. The coat does not develop a natural patina, and it is more pliable than full grain leather. It is less expensive and is more stain-resistant, making it the most common type of leather in a leather jacket.