What is a full-grain leather jacket?

Leather jackets are known worldwide for their extravagant style and durable construction; a high-quality and must-have accessory that really allows you to flaunt your character. The thing is, there’s just so many different choices!

When you’re looking for a new leather jacket, you’re probably looking for the very best quality. As there is a seemingly never-ending choice between different grains, as well as different types of hides, making an informed choice can be a monumental choice.

In this article, we’ll break down the difference between the different types of leather grains and hides, allowing you to make a decision on what’s right for you.

What is a full-grain leather jacket

Full-grain leather is the recommended material, due to it providing the highest available quality and the best-looking appearance, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s take a look into different leather hides, and how they might impact a jacket:

What are the different leather hides?

The hide of an animal is what we use to make the leather, and put simply, it is the tanned and treated skin that we use to make a variety of products. From shoes to jackets, belts to bags, leather hide has a wide variety of applications.

Typically, leather hide comes from a cow. However, there are other variants that may have more suited uses: lambskin, for example, is used to create some of the best quality jackets on the market. 

There are a few different things that might impact the quality of the hide, though, such as what climate the animal is from, the thickness of their skin and most importantly, what section of the animal the hide is actually cut from.

When we talk about the grain of the leather, we’re specifically referring to what part of the animal the hide has been cut from. Different grains of leather will have different qualities - full-grain offers the most amount of durability, whilst surprisingly, genuine leather is often thought of as a low grade.

Let’s take a look into the specifics of each different type of grain:

Top-grain leather

Top-grain is one of the more common types of leather, due to its mid-range price point and high-quality applications. Whilst it might not be as durable, long-lasting or weather-resistant as a full-grain jacket, it is undeniably a great material to use for any leather project!

Top-grain is traditionally cut from the outermost layer of the animal, from places like the back. This is where the skin is thickest, making for a VERY strong material.

The difference between top-grain and full-grain leathers is that the outer layers are sanded away from full-grain leather. This means that top-grain usually looks more treated than full-grain leather, and is a little less thick.

The grains are spread further apart, too. This means that top-grain tends to be less water-proof and more prone to accidental damage. One perk, however, is that top-grain leather is more stain-resistant!

Top-grain leather is perfectly fine to use for any leather jacket and is typically cheaper than full-grain. Whilst it is more expensive than faux-leather, genuine leather and bonded materials, it provides much more protection making for a fine jacket that will last a reasonable amount of time.

Full-grain leather

Commonly thought of as the toughest, highest quality leather on the market, full-grain provides the most natural appearance and is our premium choice for any leather jacket.

Full-grain leather is very similar to top-grain leather in the fact that it is taken from the top, outermost layer of the animal, where the skin is usually thicker and more resistant. It is, however, cut directly below the hair, where the grains are closer together to provide the most amount of protection to the animal.

The blemishes, irregularities and imperfections are NOT sanded out as they would be with standard top-grain leather, which adds an extra layer of protection for the wearer. It also makes the jacket look more natural, providing a much more elegant appearance.

Full-grain leather is usually more expensive than other types of leather, but don’t let this put you off; it is, by far, the best material on the market!

Due to tighter bonds and closer grains, full-grain is the most weather-proof material. It will keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and looking fresh all year-round.

Genuine Leather

We’ve all been there: shopping around, seeing a classy-looking jacket and noticing that the tag says ‘genuine leather’. That must mean it’s a good quality jacket, made with genuine materials, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Genuine leather doesn’t mean that the leather is from a genuine source - it just refers to the quality of the material used. In most cases, genuine leather is actually one of the lowest grade materials available!

Genuine leather is still made of real leather, so don’t worry - it’s not a scam! As it’s one of the lowest-quality materials, it will likely be fimble, thin and not very durable.

When the outer layers of hide are stripped away to make full-grain or top-grain leathers, the weaker inner layers are kept to create ‘genuine’ leather. These thin layers will be glued together and painted, making it much more prone to damage.

Genuine leather won’t last for a very long time, so it’s usually best to avoid.

Why we recommend using full-grain leather

We recommend that you try to use full-grain leather whenever possible; not just for your jacket, but for any leather product that you choose to buy.

That’s because full-grain leather isn’t just the highest-quality and longest-lasting, but the most visually appealing, too. Unlike top-grain leather, the imperfections haven’t been sanded out - this means the jacket will look much more natural, as well as providing just a little more width.

Full-grain also offers the most amount of moisture-resistance, which will drastically reduce the risk of any accidental damage. Lower-quality leather has a tendency to swell when it becomes wet, which can cause permanent damage to your jacket. Don’t take the risk!

If you’re ready to purchase a brand new, incredible leather jacket either for yourself or someone else, why not browse our store to find some of the best deals on quality products?