man holding quality, full-grain leather

Leather Terminology / Leather


Definition of Leather

Leather has been man’s best friend throughout history. It’s actually believed to be the first fabric crafted with human hands.

It’s defined as the hides or skins treated through tanning to preserve them and make them suitable for human use.

Leather consists of intertwined collagen fibers, each consisting of up to two million fibrils. The density of intertwining varies from animal to animal, with the densest fiber being more resistant to scratches and tears and vice versa.

Even after centuries of use, leather is still desirable and a top choice for many, thanks to its amazing qualities such as its: 

  • Outstanding durability: If handled properly, a leather product will last for decades and be handed down to the next generations.
  • High resistance to stretching and tearing: This is due to the leather’s fine fibers that are closely intertwined together.
  • Incredible versatility: Leather can be produced from different animal species, treated with various agents, curved, embossed, and its grain pattern enhanced to produce the desired look and feel.
  • Breathability: Leather contains pores that absorb moisture on the inside then release it on the outside. This prevents rotting or the growth of mildew and mold on its surface.

Did You Know?

International standards and definitions prohibit the use of the word leather unless it’s derived from an animal.

Terms like “Vegan Leather,” “Faux Leather,” or “Synthetic Leather” are marketing terms manufacturers use to refer to man-made materials made to mimic the look and feel of natural leather at a lower price.

Example of “Leather” in a sentence

“I like belts made from real leather; they’re durable, sturdy, and look elegant."

Related Terms for 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