ANILINE: (ANALINE) Aniline leather is tumbled in vats so the dye is completely absorbed by the skin. There are no other coloring agents or process, thus the finished leather tends to look and feel more "natural" - the unique markings and character of each skin are apparent. Only a small percentage of hides are good enough to be converted into pure aniline leather. That is why apparel made from aniline leather is the best quality and most expensive leather.
ANTIQUED: is the light application of one color over another to create highlights.
BUFFALO HIDE LEATHER: is one of the most common types of leather used for motorcycle apparel. It is very durable leather and usually can be identified by the visible pores in the leather. It is softer than cowhide, so it has the "broken in feel". It does not come from American Bison, but from Water Buffalo.
CORRECTED GRAIN LEATHER: is leather that has had an artificial grain embossed onto it after the range marks have been buffed out.
COWHIDE LEATHER: is the most common type of leather used in the manufacturing industry. Not just because of its strength and durability but also because of its affordability and availability. Cowhide as a category covers a wide spectrum of textures and quality, but generally, it is quite durable, easy to care for and resistant to water and dirt. Cowhide leather will maintain its integrity, taking on the shape of the wearer, making it more comfortable with everyday use. Apparel made from cowhide is usually reasonably priced.
DEER HIDE: (deer skin) is the best leather to work with because it can be wet and dried over and over and will always conform back to its original condition. It is used often in lighter-weight garments because it is a think skin requiring very little work during tanning and because it is very soft. It is not recommended for apparel that is purchased for protection, it is used mainly in fashion items such as halter tops, shorts, skirts and vests.
DRUM-DYED: A dyeing process in which leather is immersed in dye and tumbled in a rotating drum, allowing maximum dye penetration. Also known as vat dyeing. Assures full dye penetration.
FINISHED SPLIT LEATHER: The middle or lower section of a hide with a polymer coating applied and embossed to mimic grain leather.
FULL GRAIN or PREMIUM COWHIDE: (also known as FULL TOP GRAIN) a term describing hides with a minimal amount of scars or blemishes, usually less than 5% of all hides. Hides are between 1.3mm to 2.0mm thick. During the tanning process, the hides go through an extra step to soften and condition them WITHOUT losing any strength. Apparel made from full grain/premium cowhide leather doesn’t require a break-in period. Apparel is also more expensive because of the longer tanning process. Rarely used by "discount leather" manufacturers.
GOAT HIDE: (goat skin) it is used often in lighter-weight garments because it is a thick skin requiring very little work during tanning and because it is very soft. It is not recommended for apparel that is purchased for protection, it is used mainly in fashion items such as halter tops, shorts, skirts and vests.
LAMB HIDE: (lamb skin) is a soft, supple leather. It is used often in lighter-weight garments because it is a thick skin requiring very little work during tanning and because it has a distinctive velvety touch. It is not recommended for apparel that is purchased for protection because it is not durable enough. It is used mainly in fashion items such as halter tops, shorts, skirts, vests basic jackets and other apparel where softness is desired.
LEATHER: leather is an animal hide that has gone through a tanning process in order to preserve it. There are many variables when it comes to tanning leather and determining the quality of the leather. The type of leather, the tanning process used, the health of the animal, the part of the skin that was used and the construction of the garment to name a few.
NAKED LEATHER: Simply means unblemished. Leather that has no surface, impregnated treatment of finish (other than dye) which might mask or alter the natural state of the leather. Some tiny imperfections may be present. Naked leathers are valued highest by consumers. Soft from day one, therefore it does not require a break-in period. Hides are usually up to/usually 2.0mm thick. Apparel made with naked leather is usually more expensive because the hides must be hand selected for uniformity.
NAPA LEATHER: Originally, only sheepskin was referred to as Napa. However, in recent years, the word Napa has become another leather term meaning soft, as in Napa cowhide. A Napa leather, or sheep/lambskin, is naturally one of the softest leathers in the market today. If it looks good and feels good, it probably is, but it’s not always a better or more expensive grade of leather like true Napa is.
PATENT LEATHER: when cowhide is treated with protective finishes such as acrylic paints or waterproofing to produce an extremely shiny finish.
PATCHED LEATHER: is a creative way of sewing pieces of leather together to produce a design or specific style instead of the item being made with a single piece of leather. After the hides are tanned, dyed and finished as desired, then skilled craftsmen carefully select leather that match in color and texture. Each leather hide is then cut by hand into various size pieces and then it is sewn into mosaic type patterns making a final product that is one of a kind.
PIGSKIN LEATHER: feels slightly stiffer than cowhide, it is very plentiful and cheaper yet. It has a pebbly grain to it.
SHEEPSKIN: is a more mature lamb, and is therefore, usually a heavier, more durable hide than lambskin.
SOLID LEATHER: product is made using a single piece of leather instead of multiple pieces as in patched leather.
SPECIAL COWHIDE LEATHER: Hides between 1.3mm and 1.5mm thick, also referred to as a "tough hide" Originally used in traditional motorcycle apparel because of it's strength, stiff initially, but has a break-in period, usually a riding season will do it. A term seldom used of late.
SPLIT GRAIN: is any leather that is not from the actual outside layer of a cow’s hide. Also known as suede. It is more flexible than top grain. It is not as durable, or waterproof as top-grain.
SUEDE: is the underneath portion of a hide after the splitting process. This layer of the hide is much thinner and most commonly used for garments and small leather goods. It is leather that is finished by buffing with an emery wheel to produce a napped surface.
TOP, FULL GRAIN LEATHER: is from the smooth outside layer of a cow’s hide. It is more durable and stiffer than split grain, and fares well against water and abrasions.
TOP GRAIN LEATHER: is the outside or topside of the hide which has the grain. Top Grain is known as Full Grain when the natural grain remains, but when the natural grain is sanded away and an imitation grain is pressed or embossed into the surface it is known simply as Top Grain. It is generally regarded as economy leather.