Leather Terminology / Other Leather Terms


Definition of Breathability

Breathability is the leather’s ability to absorb moisture (whether sweat or humidity) and release it to the air in the form of vapor, making leather cool and comfortable as wear or accessory.

It’s one of the special characteristics of leather which none of its substitutes exudes, and undoubtedly one of leather's strongest selling points.

Unlike most synthetic materials, leather is naturally breathable. But not all leather types have the same level of breathability.

Porous aniline leather, for instance, is more breathable than heavily pigmented leather, whose pores are largely blocked by a coating.

Other factors that affect leather’s breathability include:

  • Storage condition of the leather: If a leather product like a belt or a wallet is stored in a moist, dark room for a long time, its breathability is lessened. It may not be able to adequately expel or absorb air, damaging the product fast.
  • Leather’s texture: Some leather types are more porous than others and will allow more air to pass through them. Generally, the softer the leather, the more porous it is, hence the more breathable it will be.
  • Leather’s construction: Leather products with excessive stitching or layers of material are less breathable since these will block the air passage.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the leather product: Failure to maintain and clean leather products will lead to dust and dirt accumulating on them, preventing air from circulating.

    Ideally, clean the leather product anytime it gets wet or dirty to avoid dirt buildup, store it in a cool, dry place, and condition it occasionally.

  • Type of leather conditioner used: The best leather conditioners keep moisture out while allowing air to circulate freely. They’re specifically made for leather and are designed to keep it breathable, thus the best long-lasting solution for breathability.

Example of Breathability in a Sentence

"The breathability of your leather wallet equally depends on its storage and maintenance as it does on the leather quality."

Related Terms for Breathability

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