Leather Manual

What Is Suede And Different Types Of Suede Leather?

Types of Suede Leather

 A Comprehensive Guide on What Is Suede And Different Types Of Suede Leather?

We’ve all heard of suede as much as we’ve seen it far more times than we may be able to count. Awesome suede leather jackets, anyone? Yet as much as we agree to its luxurious look and feel, not to mention the many colors they’re available in, we don’t know much about it. This blog post aims to delve into the suede world and illuminate its fascinating intricacies. So, what exactly is suede? Suede is a type of leather known for its soft, velvety texture. It is made from the inner layer of animal hides from the undersides of sheep, goats, or calves. Unlike other types of leather, suede is not finished with a smooth and polished surface. Instead, it undergoes a unique process of sanding or buffing to create a nap-like finish.

It’s essential to understand the different types of suede leather available. Each class offers its unique characteristics, making it suitable for various applications. From classic pigskin suede to the more exotic options like deer and kangaroo suede, the range of choices is vast. Each type varies in texture, durability, and appearance. Next, we will explore some of the most popular types of suede leather in detail. From the elegant and refined calf suede to the durable and rugged goat suede, we’ll uncover the nuances that set these varieties apart.

So, join us as we embark on this journey through the suede world. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a newfound on What Is Suede And Different Types Of Suede Leather. Let’s dive in and uncover the secrets behind this timeless and captivating material.

What Is Suede Fabric?

Suede is a type of leather that distinguishes itself from other leathers by its unique texture. In contrast, most leathers are derived from the top side of animal skin. This distinction gives suede its characteristic velvety feel and luxurious look. The underside of animal skin is softer but less resistant to elements and stains than the outer layer. As a result, suede is often regarded as a luxury material. However, it may have a different durability level than traditional leather. But suede is less waterproof than other leathers due to its porous nature. It is best suited for indoor wear or situations where exposure to adverse weather conditions is minimal. While lamb skin is the most used material for producing suede, other animal skins, such as calf, goat, and deer, can also be utilized. Each skin type imparts unique characteristics to the suede. After getting What Suede And Different Types Of Suede Leather Is, let’s study its history.

A Brief History of Suede

The history of suede traces back to the Romantic period in France. The term “suede” was derived from the French term “gants de Suede,” meaning “gloves of Sweden.” During this time, Swedish leather imports gained popularity among the French nobility. Instead of utilizing the rough outer hide of animals, Swedish leather artisans discovered a way to use it. Suede production remained focused on glove manufacturing. As artisans in Sweden and across Europe recognized the potential of suede. Over time, suede began to be used in the production of jackets, pants, shorts, and various other products we are familiar with today.

While the suede show may be recent in human history, the use of animal hides for clothing and accessories dates back thousands of years. The use of hides and leather in fabric production has continued uninterrupted throughout the ages. The main difference between ancient and modern leather is the variety of leather products. From its humble origins in Swedish gloves to its widespread use in the fashion industry, suede has come a long way.

Some Attributes of Suede

The attributes of suede set it apart from other types of leather, giving it a unique and distinctive character. Here are some key features of suede:

  • Fuzzy and Napped Texture: Suede has a distinct fuzzy finish, often called “napped.” Unlike smooth leather, suede resembles cotton fabrics more than traditional animal skin. This adds softness and lends a cozy and luxurious feel.
  • Matte Appearance: In contrast to the glossy finish of regular leather, suede has a matte appearance. This subtle and understated aesthetic enhances its elegant and sophisticated appeal.
  • Permeability and Stain Susceptibility: Suede’s unique texture makes it porous. But this also means that it lacks the waterproofing properties of regular leather. Suede is more prone to absorbing liquids and staining, making it essential to handle.
  • Thin and Delicate: Suede is lighter and more lightweight than regular leather. This characteristic makes it suitable for delicate textile applications. The thinness of suede adds to its soft and supple drape, enhancing comfort when worn against the skin.
  • Cleaning Challenges: Cleaning suede can be a challenge. Suede requires special care. Machine washing or using water-based cleaning methods can damage the fabric. Regular maintenance and spot cleaning are also necessary to prevent stains from setting in and to keep the suede looking its best.

Here’s a Exciting fact about Suede Material

It is fascinating to see how “suede” has evolved and expanded in meaning over time. What began as a reference to a specific type of imported soft gloves from Sweden has now become a recognized term. These gloves, imported from Sweden, gained immense popularity during the Romantic period in France. The French nobility, captivated by the quality and softness of these gloves, started referring to them as “gants de Suede” or “gloves of Sweden.”

As the popularity of these soft Swedish gloves spread, the term “suede” began to describe any leather material with a similar napped finish. This expansion in the term’s usage reflects the recognition and appreciation for the unique texture. Today, suede has a wide range of items beyond gloves. So, the next time you admire a suede jacket or feel the softness of suede shoes. It’s a testament to how language and culture intertwine, shaping how we perceive and appreciate materials like suede today.

Finishing the Leather

Different processes are necessary after the leather has undergone various treatments. A mixture of salts, oils, and natural compounds is applied during treatment. This treatment increases the leather’s strength depending on the manufacturer’s preferences. This process results in a nappy exterior that gives suede its desirable softness and velvety touch. A unique texturing process further enhances the fabric’s comfort and plush feel.

Some manufacturers may dye their suede before selling it to accessories or garment makers. This allows for a wide range of colors and shades. Some apparel and shoe manufacturers may apply a final waterproofing finish to their suede items. The meticulous processes of finishing suede contribute to its luxurious texture.

What are the Common Types of Suede Leather?

Of suede leather, various types are available, each based on the type of animal skin. Let’s explore some of the common types of suede leather:

Sheepskin Suede Leather:

Sheepskin suede leather is made from lambskin because it is lighter and softer. The supple and delicate nature of lambskin lends itself well to suede production. But suede can also be made from sheepskin, producing different finished looks and textures. Sheepskin suede leather is famous for its luxurious feel and is often used in high-end fashion.

Cowhide Suede Leather:

Cowhide suede leather shares many characteristics with sheepskin and lambskin suede. Calves, in particular, have softer hides than grown cows, making them desirable for producing suede leather. While cowhides offer excellent durability in regular leather. Cowhide suede leather is versatile and finds application in various products.

Pigskin Suede Leather:

Pigskin suede leather is created by dyeing and treating the skins of pigs. Although pigskin is heavy and stiff, it becomes tricky, durable, and hardwearing once transformed into suede. The short nap and pore texture of pigskin suede may resemble human skin. But pigskin suede leather is not limited to these applications. These are a few examples of the types of suede leather available. Other animal skins, such as deer, and goats can also produce suede with unique characteristics. The specific type of suede chosen depends on the desired texture, softness, and durability.

Fabric name Suede
Fabric also known as Fuzzy leather, napped leather, Ultrasuede
Fabric composition The underside of animal skins or a similar synthetic material
Fabric breathability Low
Moisture-wicking abilities Low
Heat retention abilities High
Stretchability (give) Low
Prone to pilling/bubbling Low
Country where fabric was first produced Sweden
Biggest exporting/producing country today China
Recommended washing temperatures Professional cleaning recommended
Commonly used in Shoes, jackets, gloves, hats, bags, apparel lining, seat covers, belts

What are some Advantages and Disadvantages of Suede Leather?

Like any other material, Suede leather has advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most notable ones:


  • Suede leather stands out with its distinctive brushed or napped surface. This unique texture adds a touch of luxury and sophistication to suede products.
  • When cared for, suede leather can last long. With regular maintenance and appropriate storage, suede items can maintain their quality.
  • Soft and Luxurious Touch: One of the most desirable qualities of suede is its quiet and plush feel. The fine fibers on the suede surface create a smooth and comfortable texture that is enjoyable
  • While suede is generally less durable than full-grain leather, thicker suede varieties can offer good longevity. These more comprehensive suede options are more suitable for applications that need higher durability.


  • Suede is not known for its resilience or resistance to abrasion. It is more prone to scuffs, scratches, and marks than other leather types. Care must be taken to avoid rough handling or contact with abrasive surfaces to maintain the pristine appearance of suede.
  • Suede has a high water absorption level, making it susceptible to water damage and staining. Exposure to moisture can cause discoloration, water spots, or even permanent damage to the fabric. Protecting suede items from rain or spills is crucial to preserve their quality.
  • The soft nap of suede attracts dirt, dust, and other particles, making it more prone to appearing dirty or soiled. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to keep suede items looking their best.
  • Suede leather tends to be more expensive than other types of leather finishing due to its luxurious appeal. The price of suede items can be higher, making them less accessible. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of suede leather allows consumers to make decisions.


In conclusion, suede leather is a luxurious and soft type of leather sought after for its unique texture and appearance. It offers a velvety feel and adds a touch of elegance to various products. Understanding the different types of suede leather is essential for making informed choices. Classic suede is the most common variety, while nubuck boasts a finer texture and increased durability. Split suede is a cost-effective option, and Ultrasuede is a synthetic alternative. Reverse suede offers a double-sided suede-like surface for high-end applications. Caring for suede leather and being mindful of its maintenance can extend its lifespan and preserve its luxurious appeal.

FAQS – What Is Suede And Different Types Of Suede Leather 

Q: What is suede leather?

A: Suede leather is a soft, fuzzy type made from the animal hide’s underside.

Q: What are the different types of suede leather?

A: Types of suede leather include classic suede, nubuck, split suede, ultra suede, and reverse suede.

Q: What is Nubuck?

A: Nubuck is a finer, more durable suede made from the outer grain side of the hide.

Q: What is a split suede?

A: Split suede is a thicker and less expensive type of suede made from the inner layer of the hide.

Q: What is Ultrasuede?

A: Ultrasuede is a synthetic alternative to natural suede, replicating its look and feel.

Q: What is reverse suede?

A: Reverse suede, or reverse leather, has a suede-like texture on both sides.

Q: How should suede leather be cared for?

A: Use a suede brush, avoid water exposure, and store in a cool, dry place.

Q: Is suede leather durable?

A: Suede leather is less durable than full-grain or top-grain leather, but it can last a long time with proper care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *