What is Genuine Leather

Genuine leather, also known as corrected grain leather, is made from the inner layers of animal hide. It is called “genuine leather” because it is made from real animal skin. 

Genuine leather is of a lower quality than top-grain and full-grain leather.

Because genuine leather is cheap it is used to make affordable leather products.

This article will explore genuine leather in detail, including its characteristics and how its made.

How is Genuine Leather Made

Four steps demonstrating how genuine leather is made

As the name suggests, genuine leather is made from animal skin. However, unlike full-grain and top-grain leather, it is not made from the upper layers of hide.

It is a type of split leather that comes from the lower-quality inner layers of the hide.

The process of creating genuine leather starts with the processing of the animal hide. The hide is salted, soaked, and limed to remove hair.

After the hide is processed, it is split into two or more thinner layers. The number splits depend on the thickness of the hide.

The top layer, the strongest layer, is known as full-grain leather. The next lower layer is known as the “top grain,” followed by a soft and pliable layer known as corium.

Genuine leather comes from the intermediate layers between the top grain and corium. Sometimes multiple splits are glued together to create a single piece of genuine leather.

Next, the layers go through a process of tanning, which preserves the hide and prevents it from decomposing. Once the layers have been tanned, they can be dyed and finished to create genuine leather.

What is Genuine Leather Used for

Bag, shoes, wallet, and diary made of genuine leather

Genuine leather is used for various products, including clothing, furniture, and accessories.

Some popular genuine leather products include shoes, belts, wallets, bags, and purses. It is also used to make book bindings, watchstraps, and other small items like keychains.

Genuine leather is a popular choice for affordable real leather products. It is also used in products that do not require a high level of durabilities, such as wallets and purses.

Characteristics of Genuine Leather

Seven characteristics of genuine leather

Genuine leather has several characteristics that set it apart. These characteristics include:  

  • Genuine leather is the lowest quality and the cheapest leather. 
  • Genuine leather has a distinct smell that is often described as “earthy” or “musky.”
  • Genuine leather also has a natural luster that gives it a soft sheen. This luster can be enhanced with the use of conditioners and polishes.
  • Compared with other types of leather, genuine leather is more prone to wear and tear. However, with some care and maintenance, you can expand its lifespan.
  • Genuine leather is easy to maintain and does not require much care. 
  • Over time, genuine leather may stretch or develop marks, affecting its appearance. 
  • In warm weather, genuine leather products might make you feel sweaty or hot, as genuine leather is less breathable.

How To Care For Genuine Leather

Six tips for taking care of genuine leather

One of the benefits of genuine leather is that it is easy to care for. Here are some tips on how to care for genuine leather:

  • Avoid exposure to excessive heat or direct sunlight, as this can cause the leather to dry out and crack.
  • Avoid getting genuine leather wet, as this can lead to the loss of natural oils and cause the leather to become stiff. If your genuine leather product does get wet, allow it to dry naturally at room temperature. 
  • Clean the genuine leather regularly.
  • To clean genuine leather, wipe it down with a damp cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or detergents, as these can damage the leather.
  • Condition the genuine leather regularly. This will help keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying. However, conditioning will not provide shine to the leather.
  • Polish the genuine leather to add shine. Polishing also prevents the leather from drying.

How to Tell if Your Product is Genuine Leather

Three tricks for identifying genuine leather

If you’re not sure if a product is of genuine leather, there are a few things you can look for:

Check the Label

Although genuine leather is low-quality, it is real leather made from animal skin. Therefore, the label should specify that it is “made from” or “made with” genuine leather. If the label does not say genuine leather, it’s likely not genuine leather. 

The smell of the leather

Another way to tell if a product is of genuine leather is by its smell. Genuine leather has a musky scent distinct from other materials like plastic or vinyl. If unsure about a product’s authenticity, try giving it a sniff test. If it smells like chemicals or plastic, it’s likely not genuine leather.

Grainy Surface

You can also identify genuine leather by touching its surface. Genuine leather has a grainy surface, whereas fake or faux leather is thin and has a smooth surface. This is because genuine leather is produced from animal hide, and natural animal skin can have imperfections and texture.

Genuine Leather vs. Real Leather

The term real leather refers to the leather that comes from animal skin, whereas genuine leather is a type of real leather. Genuine leather is the lowest-grade leather, meaning it is the least expensive.  


Is genuine leather actually leather?

Yes, genuine leather is made from animal skin and is therefore considered real leather.

What’s the difference between bonded leather and genuine leather?

Bonded leather is also known as reconstituted leather. It is made from scraps of leather that are shredded and glued together with latex or polyurethane. Therefore, it’s cheaper than genuine leather but also less durable. Bonded leather can also feel thinner and more synthetic than genuine leather. 

Does genuine leather peel?

No, genuine leather does not peel. However, it can dry out over time and develop cracks. This is why it’s important to regularly condition genuine leather products. With proper care and moisturization, genuine leather can last a long time.

Is genuine leather waterproof?

No, genuine leather is not entirely waterproof. However, it can be treated to make it more resistant to water damage.


That’s it for our guide on genuine leather. We hope you now understand what genuine leather is, how it’s made, and how to tell if a product is genuine.

Genuine leather is a good option for people who want real leather without spending too much money. Although it does not have the same quality as full-grain or top-grain leather, it is still made of real animal skin and will last longer than faux leather products.

If you’re interested in exploring other types of leather and their unique qualities, be sure to read about nubuckpatent, and full-grain leather.

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