Difference Between Suede and Leather

It is not an easy task to spot the differences between suede and leather. A person who decides to buy a shoe will then face the options of suede and leather shoes.

Shoe experts can point out the differences between suede and leader within seconds, while the average person is confused if there are any differences.

Suede vs Leather

The main difference between suede and leather is that suede is more matty and napped, while leather is smooth. The differences do not end with just the appearances and feel of suede and leather. There are even more intricate differences like the quality of leather used in suede and regular leather. 

Suede vs Leather

Suede or suede fabric is used in several products like shoes. It has a soft and textured feel.

It is important to note that suede fabric is from the underside or flesh side of the calfskin and or other animals.

Suede does not include the tough layer and is less durable than leather. 

Leather has been used in various products over the years. Since the ancient age, the use of leather for different purposes has been in practice.

It is taken from the animals’ outer skin layer, and the hair is removed by the process of tanning.

Leathers are usually dyed or colored with different colors to make them more attractive.

Comparison Table Between Suede and Leather

Parameters of ComparisonSuedeLeather
Obtained fromSuede is obtained from an animal’s underside layer or the flesh side.Leather is obtained from the outer or exterior skin layer of an animal.
FeelSuede is soft and textured.Leather is smoother.
FabricSuede has a matty fabricLeather has a sheen fabric.
FlexibilitySuede is more flexible than leather.Leather is less flexible than suede.
DurabilitySuede is less durable than leather.Leather is more durable than suede.

What is Suede?

Suede is a type of fabric that is used in several products like shoes, etc. This type of fabric provides a soft and textured feel when touched.

The suede fabric is taken from a completely different part. Unlike leather, the suede is obtained from the underside or the flesh side of the animal. 

Since it is from the flesh side, it does not have a tough layer. Being obtained from the side with no tough layer makes the suede fabric less durable than leather.

Suede is from the corium part of the animal’s skin. The suede is mainly obtained from animals like lamb, deer, goat, and calf. 

It is positive to note that Suede is a lot softer with a matty and napped finish. This advantage of suede makes it being useful in the process of making shoes, bags, gloves, and other items.

As it misses the natural protective layer of the animal skin, suede is susceptible to dirt and liquid stains. 

So, high maintenance is required for products made out of suede. It is also much easier to clean and wipe off the dirt from the suede products. The open pores of the suede allow it to be easily cleaned. 

What is Leather?

Leather is a fabric that has been used in various products over the years. Since the ancient age, the use of leather to create products has been in practice.

It is a versatile material that can be used to create anything. The archeological excavations have found out several leather items around the world.

The significant advantage of leather over suede is its durability. The durability of the leather is much emphasized. The hide is usually obtained from the skin of the animals like cows, pigs, sheep, and others.

Leather is obtained from the grain side or the outer side of the animal’s skin. 

This outer side of the animal’s skin is a naturally protective layer where the fur grows and protects the skin from damaging environmental conditions.

The leather, which is processed from the grain side, has the exceptional qualities of strength, durability, and toughness.

The leather can usually be a bit patterned, and this is due to the scars from the animal’s skin.

While leather might not be as aesthetically appealing as suede, a lot of people prefer leather for its amazing durability qualities.

As a tough product, leather is also resistant to water and can be cleaned when made dirty. 

Main Differences Between Suede and Leather

  1. Suede is obtained from the inner side, the flesh side of the animal. Leather is obtained from the outer side, the grain side of the animal.
  2. Suede from the flesh side makes it less sturdy due to the absence of a protective tough layer. Leather from the animal’s grain side makes it much tougher due to the natural protective layer of the animal’s outer skin.
  3. Suede is more flexible than leather. The leather is less flexible than suede.
  4. The feel of the suede is soft and textured. The feel of the leather is smooth.
  5. The fabric of the suede is matty and napped. The fabric of the leather is a sheen fabric.
Difference Between Suede and Leather


Understanding the mere differences between these essential materials is necessary. One must be aware of these differences before concluding products made with suede or products made with leather.

Though an average person might not spot out the differences, several changes are present, starting from the feel to the durability between suede and leather.

As these products are being widely used today, everyone must be aware of the most significant difference between these two. Suede is obtained from the inner side of the animal’s skin, which makes it less durable and tough.

Meanwhile, leather is obtained from the outer side of the animal’s skin that has a natural protective layer and is much more robust and durable.


  1. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0040517514528561
  2. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00543698
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