【 Types of leather for bags 】▷ Definitive Guide 2024! - Curtidos Menacho

Types of Leather for Bags

The choice of raw material, especially the different types of leather, is a crucial aspect in themaking of quality bags. This article offers a complete overview of thetypes of skins and leathers used in the manufacture of bags, highlighting their distinctive attributes and treatment processes. Understanding these details is vital for those interested in making bags that perfectly combine design and functionality.

Exploring variety: Types of leather for bags

Leather is the tanned skin of animals, which is used to make various objects, such as clothing, footwear, furniture and, of course, bags. There are different types of leather depending on the animal of origin, the tanning process used and the finish given to it. Each type of leather provides unique characteristics, making it ideal for different styles of leather bags and leather wallets. These are some of the most common:


It is the most used to make bags, since it is resistant, durable and easy to handle. It comes from the skin of cows, bulls or oxen, and can have different thicknesses and textures. Within cowhide, we can distinguish between:

  •   Full grain leather: It is the most natural and noble, since it preserves the upper layer of the skin, where the pores, wrinkles and marks of the animal are. It has a soft and smooth appearance, and acquires a patina over time that gives it personality and elegance.
  •   Corrected leather: It is leather subjected to a sanding and polishing process to eliminate superficial imperfections, such as scars or scratches. Then a layer of pigment or varnish is applied to give it color and shine. It has a more uniform and artificial appearance than full grain, but it is also cheaper and easier to clean.
  •   Split leather: It is obtained by dividing the leather into two layers, keeping the inner part, where the looser and more flexible fibers are. It has a velvety and porous appearance, and is usually dyed with natural dyes. It is more delicate than full grain or corrected, as it stains and wears easily.

Sheep leather:

It comes from the skin of sheep or lambs, and is characterized by being very soft, light and flexible. It is perfect for making small or delicate bags, such as clutches or shoulder bags. Within sheep leather, we can distinguish between:

  •   Nappa leather: It is the finest and smoothest, since it is the skin of newborn or hairless lamb. It has a very soft and silky touch, and a very attractive natural shine. It is one of the most expensive and exclusive leathers that exist.
  •   Suede leather: It is obtained by sanding the external part of the sheepskin, creating a rough and matte surface. It has a similar appearance to split leather, but is finer and more delicate. It is commonly used to create contrasts or details on bags.

Goat leather:

It comes from the skin of goats or kids, and stands out for being very resistant, elastic and durable. It has a grainy and irregular texture, with small folds or wrinkles that give it a rustic and original appearance. It is ideal for making large or robust bags, such as backpacks or briefcases.

Porcine leather:

It comes from the skin of pigs or wild boars, and is characterized by being very thick, hard and heavy. It has a rough, marbled texture, with large visible pores. It is not used much for bags as it has an unattractive appearance and needs a lot of treatment to soften it.

Exotic leather:

It comes from the skin of exotic animals, such as crocodiles, snakes, ostriches or sharks. It stands out for having distinctive scales or marks that give it a very striking and luxurious appearance. It is one of the most expensive and exclusive leathers that exist, and is used to make high-end or limited edition bags.

types of skin

Quality and Characteristics: What makes an ideal leather for bags?

The quality of the leather is a crucial factor in the appearance and durability of the bag:

Tanning and treatment processes:

Tanning transforms raw hide into a durable and wearable material. Tanning methods can vary, and each one provides different characteristics to the leather. For example, vegetable tanning offers a more natural finish and ages beautifully, while chrome tanning results in smoother, more evenly colored leather. 

Recognising quality:

Identifying high-quality leather is essential to ensure the durability and aesthetics of the bag. A premium quality leather should be soft to the touch, have a uniform grain, and show consistency in color. Irregularities such as scars or wrinkles can add character, but they can also affect the integrity of the material.

How to choose the right leather for your bag

When choosing the right leather for your bag, you must take into account several factors, such as style, use and available budget. These are some general recommendations:

  • For a classic and timeless bag that can be used for any occasion and will last for many years, full-grain cowhide leather is the best option. It looks natural and elegant, and fits any shape and size of bag. In addition, over time it acquires a patina that gives it more character and personality.
  • For a modern and versatile bag that you can combine with different styles and that is easy to clean, corrected cowhide leather is a good alternative. It has a uniform, artificial appearance and is available in a wide variety of colors and finishes. In addition, it is more economical and resistant than full grain.
  • For an original and different bag, that makes you stand out and has a handmade touch, split leather or goat leather are interesting options. They have a rough, porous texture, and can be dyed with natural dyes that create unique effects. In addition, they are very resistant and durable.
  • For a delicate and sophisticated bag that provides a touch of glamor and is very soft to the touch, nappa leather or exotic leather are ideal options. They have a fine and smooth appearance, and a very attractive natural shine. In addition, they are very exclusive and expensive, so they will not go unnoticed.
  • For a casual and fun bag, that allows you to create contrasts or details in your style and is very flexible, suede leather or sheep leather are suitable options. They have a velvety, matte appearance and are available in a wide variety of colors. In addition, they are very light and soft.

The art of choosing the right leather for your bag

Choosing the right leather for a bag is a skill that combines technical knowledge and a keen aesthetic sense. Understanding the characteristics of each type of leather, its quality and the necessary care, will allow you to make informed decisions when buying or designing a bag. This guide is intended to be a valuable resource for all those interested in the world of leather goods, both amateurs and design professionals.

In Curtidos Menacho , we are committed to being your best ally on this creative journey, offering you all types of leather and advice for your projects. And if you are looking for buy leather of the best quality, remember that Curtidos Menacho is your ideal destination.

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