Common "Leather myths and misconceptions"

Hi folks, posted this over one Reddit and it was fun to hear what people have heard over the years from customers or even other leatherworkers…let’s talk misconceptions and myths common to our craft!

I’m sure over the years a lot of us have gotten customers who will insist on something they’ve heard on the internet about a particular type of leather is true, insisting that I do or don’t use a specific type of leather because of something they’ve read.

Here are a few that I hear frequently some are very egregious, others just assumptions that are more or less harmless:

  • Full grain leather is the full thickness of the original hide. (probably the most demonstrably false of the bunch).
  • Genuine is a specific kind of (low quality) leather
  • Leather that has a light edge isn’t fully tanned
  • “x” type of leather is the best (veg-tan, full grain, bridle, CXL, etc…we all know there are a lot of good leathers)
  • All veg tan is natural veg (not that people say it but they get confused if I show them a “normal” leather like Essex or Dublin that happens to be veg).

Anyway those are a few I’ve heard…one bonus one I heard just this week: “You wouldn’t want to use veg-tan for a backpack because it will bleed color”…

Obviously some of these have a grain of truth that got exaggerated.

Which ones have you heard that bother you?

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Hey, great thoughts and gaining more educated insights into these can be really helpful to a lot of us. Thanks for sharing.

For me, a big one is “vegan leather”, and the many similar names for synthetic leather, that in most cases is just, plastic. It can in some ways lead to more confusion about leather, and even some misperceptions about quality if someone has something “leather” that is just plastic, and wonders why it cracks and the surface wears off so quickly.

There are some interesting “vegan leathers” that are now being developed that include natural plant fibers (pineapple leather, fruit leathers, etc.) which can get closer to the more natural fiber structure of leather than plastics can. So there might be some good ones ahead.

Oh yeah that’s an annoying one…

And also to a more general one, that if something is leather that it is higher quality or more suited to a task than another material. Sometimes yes, and sometimes it varies.