5 Differences Between Leather and Synthetic Leather Bags

  • Simon Archer
  • August 2, 2018
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Many people have reservations about real leather, while some will only buy leather. If you are looking to invest in a leather bag but you can’t decide if you want faux leather or real leather, we can help you decide by outlining the differences in visual appeal, texture, practicality, cost, and comfort.

First off, let’s go over some of the names for faux leather. The most commonly used ones are pleather, faux leather, imitation leather, PU (polyurethane), and leatherette. We will use any of these interchangeably.

1. Visual Appeal

Because synthetic leather is man made, it can sometimes be more versatile than real leather, and you can get it in more finishes, colours, and patterns than real leather. ON the other hand, real leather only grows better with age and great smell. Full-grain leather shows natural, unique patterns, whereas faux leather patterns can look fairly uniform or fake.

Synthetic materials don’t requires as much upkeep compared to leather, and can look great even years later, but so does leather, as long as you care for it properly.

2. Texture

One of the largest and first giveaway that a bag is made from pleather is the texture and how it feels. There’s just no way anyone can make fake leather feel like natural leather. The soft suppleness of leather is one of the biggest reasons people love it, especially if it’s left uncoated. Sometimes there’s a protective pigment added to leather that gives it a plastic-like feel, which can make it difficult to tell it’s real, but otherwise, real leather will always stand out to anyone who touches it.

3. Practicality

If your main reason to buy a bag is to have it be practical, then you probably will want to go with a real leather version. Leather can feel, smell, and look as great as it can, but if it needs to perform well, and it does. Real leather will stand the test of time as long as you care for it. If you’re willing to spend more money up-front and take care of it properly, your leather bag will last you a literal lifetime. You will never get a faux leather bag to stand the test of time without showing signs of wear and tear. Real leather is durable, strong, and can easily outlast its original purchaser.

4. Cost

Real leather items will always be more costly than artificial versions. Natural leather accessories take much more skill and special techniques to tool and manufacture, and the material itself costs more to store, transport, and manufacture before being turned into a bag. Synthetic leather is always going to cost less than natural leather, but this only works to make real leather bags much more exclusive.

5. Comfort

Although treated, genuine leather is made out of a natural material and typically behaves like a natural material. It’s bendable, breathable, and malleable. Compared to pleather, which can be rigid and doesn’t have the same give as real leather, it’s a big difference between the two. Another benefit of real leather is that it always softens over time, becoming more flexible and floppy. Plastic-based fake leather will never do the same.

When you compare all of these six differences and look at what both real leather and fake leather have to offer, you should be able to make your decision based on what your needs are, and how much you have in your budget for a new bag. It all comes down to what qualities you want, and your personal preference, and how much time you want to invest in the care of a new bag.

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