Leather vs Fabric Journal Covers: 4 Reasons Why Leather Always Wins

journal covers reasons why leather wins featured image

When it comes to the perfect leather journal cover, no material rivals the elegance and durability of genuine leather. 

Sure, there are inferior options like bonded and faux leather, But in my experience, they simply don't measure up to the real deal.

By genuine leather, I’m referring to full-grain leather, the Cadillac of leather, and the highest quality leather grade you’ll ever come across.

Its unique smell alone will tell you that it’s not ordinary leather.

But that’s not all:

  • It’s extremely sturdy and durable.
  • It retains its shape even after regular use.
  • It ages beautifully, developing an attractive leather patina.

Everything made using full-grain leather is of the highest qualitybeltswatch bandstote bags, and any other product you can think of.

But today, my focus is on leather journal covers, particularly those made from full-grain leather, like the ones my team and I hand-sew at Popov Leather.

I’ve been lucky enough to use both leather and fabric journal covers, so I can confidently tell you that leather always takes the lead. The distinction between these two is clear as day and night.

And you’ll see why I say so in a moment.

1 - Leather Covers Will Serve You for Years

You can’t talk about full-grain leather and fail to mention its durability. I’m still in awe that the first leather journal cover I owned looks as good as new after nearly half a decade.

This is the case for all real leather journal covers. They’re highly durable and last for years with little maintenance. Your journal will also remain safe, with all the pages intact, regardless of how frequently you write in it.

In fact, as the journal cover ages, it will develop a rich leather patina that makes it even more attractive and unique.

Indeed, that’s one of the beauties of owning a leather journal cover; as you use it more, you start seeing yourself reflected on its cover.

Furthermore, it begins to reflect your surroundings. For instance, leave it out in the sun, and it will tan. Scratch it, and it will form scars. It becomes a part of you, and instead of falling apart, it becomes stronger and distinct.

Fabric leather journals, on the other hand, can’t stand regular use. They’ll easily wear down, stain, and fade over time, forcing you to replace them every few months (which is unhealthy for the environment, too).

While they may seem affordable initially, you’ll spend more in the long term because of the frequent replacements.

It’s also unlikely that a fabric journal cover will stand up to the rain. If it becomes damp or remains wet for long, it will damage your journal and the writing in it, forcing you to replace both the journal and cover.

Leather journals, however, wick away water and remain unscathed by moisture when treated. If they’re soaked by rain, completely air dry them, then condition them with a leather conditioning balm for added protection.

Popov Leather’s A5 Black Leather Journal
A5 Black L​​eather Journal

Did you know?

Leather has been used to make all kinds of products for centuries, from leather journals to keychains and coasters. In the 19th Century, golfers replaced wooden golf balls with leather ones filled with feathers, as they were tired of the damage they’d cause when they struck wooden balls. This practice, however, did not last long.

2 - They're Exceptionally Simple to Maintain

Real leather is easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance.

So when dirt and grime settle on your journal leather cover, a simple wipe-down with a damp cloth and a quality leather cleanser will get the job done.

Never toss your leather cover into the washing machine, as this will damage it. But if it accidentally finds its way there, you can still salvage it by drying and conditioning it to recover its original buttery smooth texture.

Tough stains are also easy to remove from leather journal covers. Simply scrub your cover in a circular motion using a leather scrub and a bristle brush.

However, never use harsh chemicals to clean your leather journal cover. They’ll leach the natural oils from the cover, leave it super dry, or even worse, cause it to crack or wrinkle.

hand holding the Field Notes leather cover
Field Notes Leather Cover​​

Fabric journal covers, on the other hand, hold stains easily and will even soak up spills rather than repel them. Removing these stains is much more difficult, and some even become permanent.

Fabric covers require regular cleaning and maintenance, which is time-consuming and costly.

In fact, some fabrics absorb the scents of food, alcohol, or even cigarette smoke, which can be uncomfortable around other people if your journal is an everyday carry (EDC) item.

Related Article: 67 Everyday Carry Wallet Options and Items for Men

3 - Leather Journal Covers Are Hypoallergenic

For those who have pets or sensitive skin, it's evident that hypoallergenic products are a lifesaver. Not only do they prevent allergic reactions but they also protect both your and your loved ones' health.

Luckily, real leather is hypoallergenic. Specifically, its smooth surface doesn’t trap dirt, dust mites, pet hair, or cigarette smoke.

It’s also impermeable, so it won’t absorb mold or other allergens.

Bid all the sneezing and itching goodbye with a real leather journal cover. In fact, you can carry it wherever you go without worrying about attracting allergens of any sort.

 journal placed in Popov Leather’s journal cover
Popov Leather's Journal Cover​​

Fabric journal covers, on the other hand, always collect allergens, which can affect your health or those in your household with allergies or conditions like asthma.

Some journal covers are made using synthetic fabrics such as PVC. These may release toxic chemicals into the air, aggravating certain allergies and causing long-term health issues.


4 - They Look Classy and Elegant

There’s nothing quite as elegant and stylish as a quintessential leather journal cover. Its timelessness and versatility in every environment remain unchallenged.

Whether on a leather valet tray beside your bed or in your work tote bag, your leather journal cover will always add a touch of elegance to your environment. 

“Lovely soft, supple leather, beautifully made. One of my favorites on my desk ... I’m sure the leather will age wonderfully, too ...”

Zara N, A5 Leather Journal Verified Buyer

Firstly, our leather journal covers have a gorgeous sheen, and as they age, they develop a stunning patina that adds to their already striking appearance.

Moreover, every leather enthusiast will tell you that a rich leather patina is to die for. It’s a hallmark of high quality, and its effect is one that money just can’t buy.

Lastly, for every journal cover we make, no two will ever be the same. It will always be uniquely yours and make you stand out wherever you go.

And like a 30-year-old scotch, it will only get better with age.

I can’t say the same for fabric journal covers. Walk into any department store, and you’ll find one easily enough. They come in all colors and styles, and are owned by everyone.

They don’t carry a sense of uniqueness, unlike their leather counterparts. Their colors also fade fast, making your journal look old and worn out, regardless of how new it is.

Unfortunately, fabric journal covers also easily hold onto stains and dust, further reducing their visual appeal.

From this comparison, you can tell that leather journal covers take the lead.

Popov Leather’s journal cover and a pen
Popov Leather’s Journal Cover​​

Perhaps the details in the table below will make the distinction even clearer.

Comparison Factor Real Leather Journal Covers Fabric Journal Covers
Material Full animal hide, not sanded or corrected in any way
Durability Extremely durable. Will last for ages and can be passed down for generations
Less durable. Last only a few months or years
Cost Premium price product due to its uniqueness and intensive manufacturing process
Cheap and easily available. Synthetic fabrics are incredibly easy to produce
Maintenance Easy to clean and maintain
Hard to remove tough stains and requires regular cleaning
Visual appeal Elegant and stylish, developing an attractive patina as it ages
Fade easily and hold onto stains, making them less attractive as they age
our leather journal covers are skillfully hand-sewn

Leather Journal Covers Take the Win

I’m a strong believer in sustainability and environmental management. As a result, I always advocate for sustainable products that will stand the test of time and do more for the environment.

Every leather journal cover you purchase from us is intended to last for decades. With this, you’ll not only be saving money, but you’ll be benefiting Mother Nature by minimizing waste and pollution.

Like all our products, our leather journal covers are skillfully hand-sewn with the durable Tiger thread and saddle stitching technique to ensure they never unravel or fall apart.

But in case of faulty craftsmanship on our part (which rarely happens), send your journal cover to us at our expense, and we’ll repair or replace it for you. That’s what you get with our lifetime warranty.

Visit our Leather Journal Covers page to order any cover of your preference. Add our quality journals and leather pen cases to fully stand out from the crowd.

“... I’ve purchased Popov products as gifts for family members. Every product is high quality, has great looks, and is built to last ...”

Keith Marshall, Verified Buyer

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Reach out with questions.

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