Genuine Leather Doesn't Mean What You Think And You Might Not Want To Buy Once You Find Out What It Means

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When you're shopping for a new handbag or belt, you may be looking for that stamp to tell you that what you're buying is true leather. While your concerns may be alleviated that what you're paying for is "Genuine Leather" and not a knock-off version of the product, are you actually getting what you're paying for?

When you're buying a leather briefcase, new jacket or pair of shoes, you should know exactly what to look for in your leather.

Full-Grain Leather

Taking the entire grain of hide, perfections and all, this is no doubt the toughest grade of leather you will find. Often used for heavy-duty items like weapon holsters and utility belts. If used correctly, it can also look great for dress belts, briefcases, dress shoes, work boots and many other great leather products.

This type of leather is naturally marked and may even have a brand or scar on it. Products from pricier companies won't use these flawed pieces of hide, while other less expensive versions may.

Full-grain leather is hard-as-nails and looks more beautiful the more you use it. While this grain of leather can be very expensive, when you invest in this item, it's likely something you will have for the rest of your life if you take care of it properly.

Top-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is the middle-of-the-road material that is used in the vast majority of small leather goods for me, such as wallets, or in designer brands for women.

This type of leather is made by splitting a piece of full-grain leather and sanding away its imperfections and stamping a fake grain onto it. Usually it's colored afterwards to provide a uniform look.

The finished product tends to end up looking a bit like plastic and is not nearly as durable as the full-grain leather. If you like the look of leather, this is a good choice if you're not concerned about durability and its resistance to stain.

But a lot of products say Genuine Leather on them. Is that what we're really getting?

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