Is Leather Rough or Smooth – A Classic Guide

Have you ever wondered about the actual texture of leather? One question that I have repeatedly heard about leather is, “is leather rough or smooth?” If you’ve been having this thought, you’re not alone because I used to be there before until I got clarity.

You see, I became fascinated by the beauty of leather items, including leather boots, jackets, and more but seeing both rough and smooth leather items overwhelmed me. I kept asking, “is leather smooth? What is rough leather? etc. Well, my curiosity paid off, as I can clear your confusion in this guide.

smooth leather vs full grain

Is Leather Rough or Smooth?

Leather is popular for many products, from home furnishings to apparel and accessories. The question of leather being rough or smooth is intriguing one because the answer can vary depending on several factors.

Leather can be found in a variety of textures, ranging from really smooth to quite rough. Which texture is fit for a particular item depends on the type of leather and the purpose it is intended for. Here, in this article, we’ll look at various leather types and their textures.

What is a Rough Leather Called?

is leather rough

Rough leather is textured or coarse leather. It is a kind of Italian calfskin treated with small, firm bumps making the leather have a rough surface. This rough surface becomes a unique feature of the leather that everyone can see and feel.

Making this leather is called pebbling and involves creating small bumps on its surface through pressing or hammering. It is treated with grain and roughness results in a rough appearance that appeals to many leather lovers. It is sometimes referred to as pebbled leather.

I love this leather because it comfortably combines luxury and affordability. It comes in various designs, textures, and colors, giving you a wide range of possibilities. Using this leather is also easy because its rough feel makes it handy to hold.

Rough leather is durable and used to make frequently used items. Such items include:

  • Shoes
  • Wallets
  • Handbags
  • Phone cases
  • Pouches
  • Clutches

Pebbled leather has good water resistance and is easy to maintain. You can clean this leather’s surface with a damp cloth and let it air dry. It is best to avoid using soap or any alcohol cleaner as it may rid the leather of its finish.

What is Smooth Leather Called?

is smooth leather real leather

Smooth leather has a sophisticated and high-quality feel. So, what is smooth leather made of? It is made from a tanned hide and doesn’t go through the finishing or roughing process. It is highly durable, has a great feel, and has become a favorite for most luxury fashion labels.

Is smooth leather real leather? Of course. The making process involves soaking its hide in hot water and applying sufficient pressure. The next is rubbing the hide’s skin with an abrasive surface until the hide peels off from the tough core layer to reveal the smooth surface.

This full-grain leather usually has little or no flaws as its surface has not been sanded to remove the imperfection. The leather becomes better with time because it forms a thin layer of protection called a patina. It makes it not wear out quickly but rather have an aesthetic look.

Smooth leather, which people also call soft leather, gives you that luxurious feeling that comes with wearing leather goods. So, if you love a show of luxury as I do, then go for those leather products that give visual appeal as they’re usually made with this leather.

The leather comes in various colors and is used to make different items, they include:

  • Shoes
  • Jackets
  • Furniture
  • Bags
  • Wallets
  • Belts
  • Boots

Smooth leather is highly durable and easy to maintain. However, it is necessary to not wet-clean or expose it to direct sunlight to avoid oxidizing its natural oils. It is best to vacuum-clean and air-dry it.

Is Leather Rough or Smooth?

So far, in this article, we’ve established that leather can be rough or smooth depending on its processing method. Smooth leather is nicer to feel, looks richer, and is more expensive, while rough leather has a rugged look and feel. Both are genuine leather and are used to make lots of items.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

Q: What kind of leather is smooth?

Full-grain leather is the type that usually has a rich and smooth appearance. It is highly durable and the most frequently used type of leather. Its grain is processed to the exterior, and it is used to make various luxury fashion items.

Q: How does leather feel?

Most real leather feels flexible and soft with a somewhat grainy feel to the touch. It also feels warm to the skin and a bit stretchy which is uncommon in faux leather. Sometimes, you can feel some minute imperfections when you run your fingers through the grain’s surface.

Q: What do you call leather that is not smooth?

Leather that is not smooth can go by several names such as pebble leather, nubuck, or rough-out leather. The interesting thing about this leather is that it is real and very durable. It comes in different colors and is used to make lots of frequently-used leather goods.

Q: Is real leather rough?

Real leather can be rough or smooth, depending on its processing. However, real leather should have some undersurface roughness when one runs a hand through it. This is important because the leather that feels completely smooth and has some plastic feel might not be real.

Q: Is original leather hard or soft?

The texture of a finished leather depends largely on how the hide is processed into leather. The other factors may include the animal’s age and the body part used. Some products require hard leather but others, such as garments require soft leather.

However, original leather should not feel all hard, but it should rather have some flexibility to it and the warm feel of leather.

Q: Is real leather bumpy?

As I mentioned earlier, genuine leather should be smooth and flexible, but it should also have a bumpy feel when you run your hands through it. Both smooth and bumpy leather can be genuine, but it all depends on the processing and type of end product.

Q: Is goat leather smooth?

Goat leather is affordable, rigid, and durable. One of its most attractive features is that it’s highly stretchable because it has lanolin that makes it supple. And yes, the leather is incredibly smooth, and many manufacturers use it to make soft items.

Q: How can you tell good leather?

When I needed to buy my first set of leather couches, I was bothered about how to tell a good leather to ensure I got a durable product. So, here are trusted tips that worked for me and are still working:

  • The labels: most leather goods made from genuine leather have it boldly written on their tags like ‘full grain leather’ or ‘genuine leather.’ Those that are not good leather usually have unclear labels.
  • The warmth: genuine leather will usually have a warm feeling because it is supposed to protect a living thing, but fake leather is cold and doesn’t have such warmth when you feel them.
  • Tiny flaws: good leather will have minor imperfections and marks that show that it’s from an animal that once lived.
  • Texture: the feel of good leather should be a bit bumpy or rough due to imperfections, but if a leather type is totally smooth and silky, the leather may not be good.
  • The cost and smell: genuine leather has high price tags and a unique smell that comes with it and, while the fake one is relatively cheap and has a plastic smell.

Final Words

Leather is a luxury and classy material that has become a big part of the fashion industry. The question, is leather rough or smooth?, has its answer in the kind of leather, its processing and a lot of other factors.

The rough leather is excellent for items of heavy usage, while the smooth one is more durable and appealing. The right one to purchase will depend on you and the item you need.

Roseline Okereke

Chinonso Roseline Okereke is a biochemist and an enthusiastic content writer. She enjoys talking and writing about fashion and leather-related crafts. She has written various leather articles that give readers an indepth knowledge of leather while taking by the hand and guiding them into discovering many leather crafts and getting the best of them. When Roseline is not writing, she's busy teaching people how to live a good life. So, come along as she takes you through an exciting journey of leather and it's craft.

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