What Is Suede?

suede skins

This is leather pig skins


This is the wrong side of the skin; the inside of the animal being used. With most suedes the skin is split to ensure a fine finish to the grain that is left, the epidermis is sometimes finished and used as skivers this product is used in the bookbinding industry, or for desktops.

All types of animal skins can be finished into a suede hide, the most common one is pig.

Pigskin is used mostly in the garment trade and usually provides the cheapest form of product as this is widely manufactured in the Far East where most of the skins come from.

Suede is sanded to give it a velvet type finish. Nubuck which looks similar to suede is finished finer, the suede fibres are much coarser.

Ferrari suede steering wheel

Ferrari leather steering wheel.


It’s not just Ferraris that come with suede steering wheels, many vehicles come with suede steering wheels. From Ferrari to Honda and BMW to mention just a few, But people do also get mistaken as a lot come with alcantara, this is not a leather its a synthetic man made material.

As well as steering wheels, this type of leather is used in others areas in vehicles as well like roof linings in luxury vehicles.

What Gives Suede and Nubuck That Distinctive, Touch, Look & Feel?

Both types of leather are sanded to produce a velvet, soft feel. The main difference is that nubuck is sanded on the outer surface of the leather, the part that would have been the exterior skin of the animal, while suede is sanded on the inner layer of the skin from the split.

Naps are short protein fibres that give suede and nubuck that fluffy and velvety surface.

Nubuck costs a great deal more than suede, it still has that quality and that beautiful nap to it, it’s more durable and more stain resistant, making it the perfect partner for shoes and boots. Always use a soft brass bush to keep the nap raised up for best protection; these soft bristles don’t damage the sensitive suede & nubuck surface and work to lift nap upright, giving your shoes that traditional velvety feel.

suede trainers suede boots

Leather trainers and boots

Nubuck is tougher and Suede is softer. Naturally, the outside of a hide is tougher than the inside of a hide. It has to be like that in order to protect the animal from damage.

Since nubuck is made from the outside of the hide, it is rough, tough and long-lasting than. Suede is made from the “split” end of the hide and is softer, more porous and less resistant to scuffs and stains, it’s dyed through to give it colour. Suede is often used in the lining of gloves and shoes to give them that luxury soft feel to your hands and feet.

With cleaning and care, its best to have these types of leathers protected from new, or after being cleaned by leather experts, cleaning can be done yourself with brushes, rubbers and erasers. But you will always find they go slightly darker when cleaned and allowed to dry naturally, this is due to the nature of the leather hide.

in Leather Tags: leather hidesleather skinnubuckpig skinsuede