It is well known that leather is a natural, durable, and quality product, which is why it has been used for many years in different industries, such as furniture, footwear, or car upholstery. But did you know that there are different types of leather finishes?
But when it comes to leather, there are three leather finishes that you should know in detail, because the finish you choose will have a great impact on the final product.
Although leather comes from different sources, such as cattle, pigs, or even sheep, it is how the leather is processed that will determine the end result of your product, namely the look, feel, and most importantly, the quality of the product.
In this sense, if you are about to launch a new furniture line or your new leather shoe collection, it is important that you know that there are three categories of leather finishes available: aniline leather, semi-aniline leather, and pigmented (protected) leather.
Aniline leather is a type of leather that was widely used in the last century as it was considered to be one of the best leathers available.
Among the existing leather finishes, aniline leather is the most natural type of leather you will find, as the characteristics of the animal’s skin, such as scars, remain visible.
Moreover, as far as dyeing is concerned, aniline leather is colored only with dyes, without the application of any protective coating, thus maintaining the appearance of the surface.
Advantages: this leather finish turns out to be comfortable and soft to the touch
Disadvantages: Because aniline leather has no protective coating, this leather finish requires more maintenance and more care, as it is less resistant.
Other leather finishes available on the market is the semi-aniline leather category, which resembles the aniline leather finish, but has some differences that are important to highlight.
Semi-aniline leather also tries to maintain the natural look of the leather, but in this finish, a protective coating is added after coloring, giving the leather greater resistance and protection. Also, thanks to this coating layer, the color of the leather becomes more consistent. In this sense, the major difference between the aniline leather finish and semi-aniline leather is the way of dyeing, where in the latter a coating is added.
Advantages: the semi-aniline leather finishes ends up being more durable, due precisely to the coating layer that gives it more resistance.
Disadvantages: while trying to maintain the natural look of the leather, as the way of dyeing differs, semi-aniline leather ends up not having the same natural look as aniline leather
Finally, the last leather finishes that exists is the pigmented leather, also known as protected leather.
Of all the leather finishes, we can say with certainty that pigmented leather is the most resistant type of leather you will find on the market. In fact, this is the most common type of leather finish used in industries.
Pigmented leather turns out to be tougher than the other finishes because of the inclusion of polymer surface coating with pigments. This makes pigmented leather more resistant to dirt, scratches, wear, and even fading.
Advantages: Thanks to the coating used, pigmented leather is more durable and resistant, and is a type of leather that does not need as much care and maintenance
Disadvantages: Among the leather finishes, pigmented leather is the type of leather with the least natural appearance and uniqueness. This is because the surface is coated and may even be stamped
In summary, it is possible to conclude that in the market there are three major leather finishes, which differ in the way they are processed, namely through the dyeing process. It is up to each company to decide if they want to go for a more natural leather (aniline leather), a more resistant leather with natural traces (semi-aniline leather), or lastly, if they want a leather that is quite resistant and durable, but with a less natural look (pigmented leather).