Different Types of Leather

Leather Guide by CAMOKAZI

Nothing beats a good quality leather jacket. The unique features of leather such as the feel, durability, comfort and the way it warps to your body shape over time, these all make leather jackets great to wear.

 The problem however is there are many different types of leather out there and many companies do not always label exactly what type of leather has been used and just label ‘Real Leather’ and many times these are either bad cuts or not of very good quality.

 Its very important to know what leather is used as each have their own features. Therefore, we at CAMOKAZI™ have created a leather guide that explains the difference between all the types of leatheryou can get and also the different types of finishes. We hope this helps in your quest to find the perfect leather jacket or accessory.

Cowhide Leather & Buffalo Leather

Cowhide and buffalo leather are of the strongest forms of leather out there. It has a high abrasive resistance, which means it offers a great protection and is usually heavier than most other types of leathers.

Depending on how thick and thin the leather is split will determine the softness of the leather. For example most high-end brands will use a much thinner split of cowhide in jackets for a softer feel whilst still maintaining its strength. Bags and belts will usually be thicker and heavier as they are put under more tension and require more strength.

If you require a high quality jacket for regular wear that can be worn in all conditions, cowhide leather is recommended.

Lamb & Sheep Leather

Lamb and sheep leather are popular due to their soft and supple feature. They are a lot more lighter and thinner therefore perfect for times where you require a thin layer on. Lamb and sheep leather are very soft to touch and is an excellent choice for comfort and style.

Lamb and sheep leathers are not as strong as cowhide due to its suppleness but are still fairly strong. Accessories such as bags and belts are not recommend in these leathers as its cowhide alternatives are better due to its strength advantage.

If you require a lightweight jacket that you can wear on nights out, looking classy and stylish then lamb or sheep is recommended.

Pig Leather

  • Cheapest form of leather on the market.
  • Lacks durability as well as having thin plastically feeling.

 Pig leather is a much cheaper form of leather on the market and lacks durability as well as having a thin plastic feel.  This is will mainly be found only on cheap jackets to offer “real leather” at a cheap price. This is best avoided out of the three.

Once the hide has been chosen the next step is to look at the leather tanning process. Different tanning processes will affect the leather appearance and physical elements.

Full Grain/ Natural Grain

Full grain leather is the most expensive part of the leather as it comes from the top layer of the hide below the hairs, which is the most strongest and durable part of the hide.

 Furthermore the natural grains are much tighter therefore resists moisture very well but still has great breathability. The tightness also contributes to its strength, so a thin layer of cowhide with natural grain will be much stronger than its equal without grains.


Nappa is the general term for particularly soft chrome tanned leather of cow and lamb leather, which gives it a unique and expensive appearance.  A Nappa finish is complicated and a time consuming tanning process makes this leather the best in terms of softness, suppleness and amazing durability.


Aniline is chemical which allows the natural characteristics of the skin to be visible because they are not covered by paints and coatings. This still produces a soft leather.But, the leather is sensitive to dirt and bleaching out caused by sunlight. This is more suited for brown and tan leather jackets.


This is top grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side or outside to give a soft finish and it has suede like texture. But, it is priced at the upper end of the spectrum and is more susceptible to water staining.


Suede is used for the underside of the hide as the full hide isn’t used. It lacks strength and durability. It is prone to water staining unless it has been treated to prevent this.

We hope this guide has given you a good idea about different type of leather and will help you make an informed choice when purchasing any leather item.

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