Altered Leather

Leather Terminology / Leather Types


Definition of Altered Leather

Altered leather is leather in which the hide’s or skin’s original surface has been physically or chemically modified to change its characteristics, appearance, or texture. 

A new grain is then embossed into the leather to meet the leather’s functionality or desired look.

The term altered leather is used to describe a wide range of leather treatments, such as sanding, buffing, embossing, dyeing, brushing, and splitting.

But altered leather can also imply a leather that’s treated with resins or synthetic elements to enhance its look (especially when the aim is to remove imperfections), water and scratch resistance, durability, and breathability. 

Leather can be altered for a number or reasons, namely to: 

  • Improve its performance for an intended use: It can be coated with a waterproof material, for instance, to make waterproof totes or phone cases
  • Create a specific look: Like in these leather coasters in which a pattern has been embossed to the leather surface
  • Improve its appearance: Manufactures alter leather to enhance its looks, such by buffing its surface to make it smooth, or adding color for a vibrant finish

The choice of alteration depends on the leather’s intended use, the type of leather used, and the desired leather.

There are all sorts of altered leather available, from exorbitant, high-end leather products to low-grade, synthetic leather imitations. Their durability and quality depend on the leather and processes used.

Example of Altered Leather in a Sentence

"Her gloves were made of very supple altered leather."

Synonyms: corrected grain

Related Terms for Altered Leather

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! Read more