Full grain leather vs Top grain leather - What's the difference?

Whether you purchase leather goods online or at The Leather Farm, you have undoubtedly noticed that various types of leather are used to make the products. Regretfully, a lot of buyers search for "genuine leather" rather than "full grain" or "top grain," as they are unfamiliar with these terms. It's not a good sign, though, if a leather bag or jacket is marked as genuine leather. At least not in terms of the quality of the leather. The term "genuine leather" is now used to describe almost anything that is technically made of leather. On the other hand, full-grain or top-grain leather goods are what you should seek out if you're searching for genuine leather quality.

What is full grain leather?

Full grain leather has all of the pores, nicks, scratches, marks, insect bites, and other supposedly flaws visible, and the original grain of the outermost layer is still present. The most natural kind of leather is perfect for creating high-end leather goods, like elegant men's shoes, because it is breathable, strong, and dependable. Full-grain leather is the most highly valued variety due to these factors. Full-grain leather also has the appealing feature of having unique hides from each hide. Over time, your leather shoes will acquire a stunning patina and burnishing that will make them genuinely unique to you. High-end shoe brands typically only work with full-grain leather.

What is top grain leather?

Top-grain leather is an excellent product. The outermost layer of the hide is sanded off to remove any imperfections or irregularities before it is produced. Though not quite as robust as full-grain leather, it's still a sturdy product. It does, however, hold up well when compared to other leather kinds.
After full-grain leather, top-grain leather is the highest grade of leather. Sanding and buffing are used to remove the outermost layer of the animal hide to create it. By doing this, the leather becomes thinner and better suited for the manufacturer's working and tooling, making it less expensive than full-grain leather. Additionally, it removes any creases, scars, blemishes, and flaws from the leather's exterior.

Difference between full grain and top grain leather:

Although top grain and full-grain leather are both premium leather, there are some distinctions between the two. It's vital to maintain an open mind even though many people think top grain leather is less desirable than full-grain leather. This is due to the fact that each variety of leather has pros and cons that set them apart from one another. Occasionally, it may simply come down to personal preference and viewpoint. Both of them are made of genuine leather. In any case, these are some distinctions between the two:

  • Quality: Top grain leather is superior to full grain leather in terms of quality. This is as a result of the natural grain being retained. Thus, that fact plays a crucial role in the leather's overall strength, longevity, and durability.
  • Appearance: Full grain leather has a very distinctive natural surface that tells a story through inherent flaws, marks, and even faint brands. Some of our leather messenger bags have these markings.
  • Top grain leather is smoothed to remove flaws and imperfections by sanding away the natural grain from the upper surface. Top grain leather loses some of its strongest fibers when the natural grain is sanded away and replaced with an imitation grain to give the leather a more uniform appearance. But if you're searching for a uniform, top grain leather is your best bet.
  • Durability: Full grain leather is exceptionally robust and long-lasting because the strongest fibers in the hide are found in the natural grain. Moreover, it breathes a great deal, which means that extended contact with it releases less moisture. Because full grain leather can be more prone to stains, make sure to use leather conditioner to protect your bag and to clean it as soon as an unsightly stain appears.
  • Comfort: Full grain and top grain leathers have different degrees of comfort based on several variables.

Natural and rougher textures are characteristics of full grain leather. Because this texture offers a certain amount of support and grip, some people find it more comfortable to sit on.
Top grain leather may feel softer and more supple after being sanded and buff, making it more comfortable for relaxing or lounging.

Which is Better: Full grain leather & Top grain leather

The idea that full grain leather is superior to top grain leather is a frequent one. Nevertheless, selecting the "best" content ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Since full grain leather is made of higher-quality materials and has a more classic appearance, it would be a wise decision. It costs more than top grain leather, though.

If you're looking for an affordable, high-quality leather sofa that requires little upkeep, top grain leather is a good option. It lacks the unique look and feel of full grain leather, though, and is not as strong.

The bottom line is that if you want your leather bag to last, you must protect and take care of it, regardless of the material you ultimately decide on!


1. What is better, top grain leather or full grain leather?

What you think is "better" between full grain and top grain leather depends on your personal preference because of their similarities. Top grain leather has been stripped of its natural imperfections and is thinner and smoother. The appearance of full grain leather is more natural and it is thicker and rougher.

2. Is top grain leather the same as 100% leather? 

Yes, top grain leather is considered "100%" or genuine leather.

3. What are the disadvantages of top grain leather?

It is not going to get a patina. Without proper care, it is more likely to become brittle and crack, which will shorten its life. It lacks the character and uniqueness of full-grain leather, which keeps the narrative of the animal it comes from intact.