By Paul O.
I was recently in the mall and visited a footwear store while my wife takes her sweet time in the make-up shop next door. As I was browsing through their shoe collection, I noticed a decent-looking fella also checking out some shoes. He then grabbed a pair and asked the saleslady “Is this genuine leather?”. With a confident smile and an assuring voice, the saleslady replied, “Yes, all our shoes sir.” He seemed very pleased so he then asked for his size to try them on and eventually bought it.
I was quite surprised because I personally thought the pair was quite pricey for the quality. Maybe the guy was loaded? Or am I just stingy? But it also made me wonder if the dude really knew what genuine leather was, as I know for a fact that most think that genuine leather is the best of the best, as it is an ‘authentic leather’ and is very common. As if leather is just divided between genuine and fake.
Truth is, being ‘genuine’ does not necessarily mean it is of highest quality. The quality of leather differs in how they are crafted and what they are made of. So it is important to find out the type of leather that will suit one’s need. There are many different types of leather but will discuss a few of the most common ones in this article.
What is considered as top quality is full-grain leather. This type of leather has not been sanded or treated in any way to remove natural marks from the surface. Its fibers are dense and intact, making it extremely strong and durable, and prevents moisture from seeping in. Full-grain leather remains breathable, and as it ages, it beautifies and gives off a tarnished finish called a ‘patina’, protecting the leather from damage, appearing usually in leather of optimum quality.
Top-grain leather is mid-quality leather. It is a bit thinner than full-grain leather because it has been minimally-“corrected” by sanding off the surface from the imperfections from calf skin and treating uniformly with a finish coat. Although not as strong and long- lasting as full-grain, its surface looks well-finished.
Suede and Genuine Leather
This is composed of loose fibers, what is left when the high quality denser layers of leather have been removed. It is then coated or sanded off to have a finished look. If durability is not a priority, then this may be an affordable option.
As you can see, different types of leather have different features and hence are priced differently. Therefore, the next time you walk into a leather goods shop, ask what type of leather it is. This can help you gauge which goods will give the most value for your money.
When looking for belts or shoes, consider Balthazar – as they use imported premium full-grain calf leather. With elegant designs at very reasonable price points, I personally believe they give a lot of bang for your buck. This top-notch selection of leather is what gives class, comfort, and longevity to Balthazar shoes.