How to distinguish natural from artificial leather in products

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Leather products are always in fashion, they look stylish, add a special chic to the image. In order not to make a mistake in authenticity and not to buy quality leatherette instead of natural material, you need to know how to distinguish genuine leather from artificial. Most people believe that the fake has an unpleasant chemical smell, but manufacturers have learned to get rid of it by adding crumbs from the skin of animals to the product. Knowing the main distinguishing points between these two materials will help you make the right choice..

Distinctive characteristics of genuine leather

For the production of bags, shoes and clothes you need different types of leather. Depending on the method of manufacture, they have various properties – strength, breathability, thickness, wear resistance. There are such basic methods of processing natural material:

  1. Raw. This skin goes through the processes of zolleniya, mezdreniya. Initially, it is soft, elastic, but hardens after drying. This property is used to give the skin a shape, for example, when tight drums.
  2. Tanned. This method of dressing is the most common, it gives strength, durability, ductility to the material. Tanning is done in different ways (chrome, vegetable, zirconium, fat, synthetic), such a material has softness, elasticity, water / heat resistance.
  3. To raw. Such leather is tanned with aluminum alum, used in the production of saddlery, saddlery, orthopedic shoes.

Each dressing method gives the skin certain properties. Features and characteristics that help to distinguish natural types of matter from each other are as follows:


Processing method



Chrome goatskin tanning

Beautiful appearance, pronounced granularity, density, elasticity, moisture resistance, wavy edge

Shagreen skin

Vegetable tanning with alum from different types of skins (lamb, horse, goat, donkey)

Fine-grained surface, soft, embossed, beautiful pattern


Chrome tanning of different skins followed by varnish

Smooth or embossed, shiny, flexible, durable, waterproof, soft, stretches


Tanning of the skins of elk, deer, sheep, goats

Low pile, softness, breathability, high wear resistance

Types of artificial skin substitutes

Leatherette is an artificial raw material that imitates the appearance of genuine leather. It consists of such layers: knitwear, non-woven material, impregnation and polymer coating, natural matter consists of a single layer. Leatherette is used in all areas of production. Many artificial substitutes are almost indistinguishable from natural raw materials. They have high moisture, frost resistance and an average degree of resistance to repeated bending. Faux leather is popular due to its low cost, practicality and durability. Their distinctive features:



Vinyl leather

Strength, elongation, tendency to drape, a complete imitation of natural matter


Resistant to abrasion, has a slight odor, moisture / heat resistance (up to -100), low price compared to natural raw materials

Eco leather

Soft, wear-resistant, breathable, elastic, does not crack to -350, odorless

Vinyl leather gray

How to check the skin for naturalness

In order not to make a mistake in the quality of the purchased goods, for example, jackets, you need to know how to distinguish real leather from fake while still in the store. To do this, you can use the following methods:

  1. Cost. This is the very first indicator that helps distinguish a fake. Natural raw materials cannot be cheap, but the price does not always match the quality.
  2. The presence of embossing. All well-known manufacturers put their name on the product, which confirms its quality..
  3. Heat transfer. Touch the product for a few seconds, heat it with the warmth of your hand. As a result of a touch, genuine raw materials will quickly warm and remain dry, while artificial ones will sweat and heat up for only a few seconds.
  4. Edge, thickness of matter. Artificial matter has a homogeneous texture, natural – a rough edge along the untreated area.
  5. Elastic properties. Artificial material can be distinguished from genuine by pressure. For natural skin at the time of pressing, the appearance of fine wrinkles and the rapid straightening of the material are characteristic.
  6. Bend the product, artificial raw material may change color on bend.
  7. A slice of natural raw materials will have a lot of fibers, leatherette – a textile base.
  8. Warping. When bent, no cracks should appear on the material. If there are – before you fake.
  9. The lining of high-quality products is made of good materials, the fake will use cheap fabric.

Genuine leather glove

Fire exposure

Identify genuine leather, distinguish it from artificial will help ordinary lighter. When interacting with fire, leather substitutes immediately begin to melt, and in the worst case, ignition of the product is possible, since some manufacturers process raw materials with special compounds (aniline) in the manufacturing process. Natural material is not afraid of the touch of the flame, you can only smell the burning skin.

Lighted lighter in hand, wallet and the inscription How to distinguish genuine leather from artificial

Water action

In this way, which allows you to distinguish between genuine goods and counterfeit goods, you can not use the market or in the store, it is unlikely that they will be allowed to carry out such manipulations. For him, you need a drop of water, which you need to drip onto the product. Natural matter immediately absorbs moisture, artificial materials repel it. If your drop has not absorbed, in front of you is a fake in all its glory.

Drops of water on the skin

Specific smell

It is not worth hoping that your sense of smell will help distinguish a fake from a script. Yes, natural raw materials have a special smell that cannot be confused with anything. Artificial materials often smell like plastic, oilcloth. However, many manufacturers, when creating things, add special flavors to their composition. As a result, you will not smell chemical.

Girl and a suitcase

How to distinguish skin from leatherette

To distinguish leather from leatherette, try pulling the material in different directions. The substitute will resemble rubber, and natural raw materials will stretch smoothly, elasticly, but unevenly. Then push on the product. The mark on the original will quickly disappear, and you will feel the density, elasticity of matter. It will be more difficult to push the fake and the fingerprint will be visible for a long time.

Pay attention to the pores in the raw materials. This is another way to help distinguish a fake, to identify a quality mark. Having looked closely, you will see that in the leatherette, the pores are at the same distance from each other, have a uniform size and shape. In natural matters, the pores are arranged in a chaotic manner, and their depth and structure cannot be identical in nature. Lacquer dressing from the skin can be distinguished from artificial fake by bending. As a result, creases, cracks and scratches should not remain on the genuine material if you carefully carry out a fingernail on the surface.

In addition to the above, there is another way to distinguish skin from eco-leather. Look at the color of the product. The paint is absorbed better into the artificial material, so the shades are richer and brighter. Natural matter is not so colorful. In addition, eco-leather does not have a characteristic smell inherent in animals, which can not be said about natural raw materials..

Piece of leather in hand

How to find out leather shoes or not

If you are heading to a store or market for a new pair of shoes, also be guided by criteria that will help you learn the history of the origin of the material, to distinguish a fake from the original. This moment is very important, because in shoes you have to walk in different weather conditions. High-quality goods will not allow your feet to sweat, get wet, freeze and guarantee comfort while wearing.

Leather boot

Graphic signs on shoes.

Natural shoes should be marked (small sticker) with graphic signs. It contains information about the upper and lower parts of the shoe, lining, sole. Here you must indicate information about the material, which is 80% of the top of the model, about the lining, insole and 80% of the sole. If there is no matter, of which 80% of this shoe is made, then only 2 main raw materials used for its production are indicated.

Quality shoes always have a leather badge that was used in the manufacture of the product. This is a small piece of pressed diamond-shaped leather for artificial raw materials and a curly icon for natural. In different languages, the following can be written on this sample: genuine leather (in English), vera pelle (in Italian), cuir (in French) and echtleder (in German). This secret will also help you distinguish a fake from a script..

Graphic signs on shoes.

Material structure

If you touch the underside of natural raw materials to the touch, it will be fleecy, artificial material – no. The front side of genuine suede dressing is also covered with a small thick pile. If you hold it by hand, then visually the color of the product should slightly change. So you can always distinguish natural suede from its low-quality fake.

Material structure

Appearance and sections

Pay attention to the folded edges of the product. In genuine leather, the outer fold resembles a rounded roller; in artificial raw materials, the fold is flattened, moreover, it is thinner. Consider the wrong side of the material on the slices; the fake will have a textile basis. In a high-quality product, it is unrealistic to do this at the place of seams, since they will all be hidden, but at the inner seams you can try to find an open cut and see the back side, the wrong side of the used raw materials.

The appearance of the material

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