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文章: What is the difference between genuine leather and synthetic leather? Explain the advantages and disadvantages.

What is the difference between genuine leather and synthetic leather? Explain the advantages and disadvantages.

What is the difference between genuine leather and synthetic leather? Explain the advantages and disadvantages.

Hello, this is Hallelujah staff.

When buying wallets, bags, and other items, many people often wonder:

"What's better, genuine leather or synthetic leather?"

This time, we will explain the differences between genuine leather and synthetic leather in detail.

 

Synthetic leather

Synthetic leather is an artificial material made to resemble genuine leather. It is sometimes called "faux leather" to emphasize that it is an imitation of real leather. It is commonly used in products with a more affordable price range due to its lower cost.

While synthetic leather, artificial leather, and faux leather are slightly different terms, they are generally referred to as "synthetic leather" in common usage.

Synthetic leather structure

PUレザーの表面

Synthetic leather is known as a material that uses materials other than non-woven fabric as its base. It is created by using knitted or woven fabrics as the foundation, on which a thick layer of polyurethane resin is applied or bonded.

Moreover, the visible surface of synthetic leather is artificially crafted to mimic the wrinkles and patterns found in genuine leather, giving it a similar appearance to real leather.

Genuine leather structure

栃木レザーの表面

It is a material made from the skins of animals such as cows, horses, goats, sheep, and deer.

Just as human skin varies from person to person, animal skins also have wrinkles and grain patterns.

During the tanning process, specific chemicals are used, resulting in a distinctive smell that can be noticed when you touch the material.

 

Advantages of synthetic leather

It is easy to remove dirt or stains.

Synthetic resins such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane resin are commonly used.

They are similar to vinyl or plastic materials, making them resistant to water and less prone to getting dirty.

For daily use items, it's desirable to be able to use them without worrying about stains or scratches.

No maintenance required

Real leather requires frequent care in order to use it for a long time, but in the case of synthetic leather, it is not necessary.

If it gets wet in the rain, you only need to wipe it, so it is recommended for those who find daily care bothersome.

Relatively inexpensive

There are many synthetic leather products that are considerably cheaper and more readily available compared to genuine leather products. The standardized production process ensures uniformity and cost-effectiveness, making it a popular material.

Nowadays, there are synthetic leathers that closely resemble genuine leather in appearance, so even though they are inexpensive, they don't look cheap. It is recommended for those who like to change their items seasonally.

 

Disadvantages of synthetic leather

The lifespan of synthetic leather is relatively short.

Over time, it undergoes gradual deterioration due to various factors such as sweat, water, dirt accumulation, ultraviolet rays, and friction.

There may also be instances of the surface coating peeling off or becoming sticky. The lifespan is typically around 3 years, and if stored in a damp place, it may be even shorter. Deterioration is an inherent characteristic of the material and cannot be avoided.

sensitive to heat

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used in synthetic leather, is not water-absorbent and is a durable material.

However, it has the drawback of being weak in heat resistance. It should not be placed in a hot car interior during summer, under direct sunlight, or in high-temperature environments. Exposure to heat can cause it to melt and deform, as well as lead to cracking.

Poor flexibility and breathability

Synthetic leather is coated with synthetic resin, making it very sturdy, but it cannot be folded or stretched like fibers.

There is a possibility of creasing when folded forcefully, but it does not develop a natural patina like genuine leather.

Furthermore, due to the coating, it has poor breathability.

 

Advantages of genuine leather

栃木レザー

You can enjoy the aging process (aging) over time

One of the greatest charms of genuine leather is undoubtedly its aging process, often referred to as "patina".

Through regular use, leather products gain more depth and undergo changes in color, making them even more captivating than when first acquired. This quality allows leather items to be cherished and utilized for a long time without losing their appeal.

Among them, Tochigi Leather, known for its texture, luster, and various expressions, offers a unique experience that can be enjoyed from various perspectives.

 

栃木レザーを使用した革の経年変化(エイジング)

【Bシリーズ】栃木レザー ラウンドー長財布

【Bシリーズ】Tochigi Leather Round Wallet

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durable and long lasting

If you take care of genuine leather carefully, you can continue using it for a long time. It is said that with proper usage, it can last for 10 to 20 years.

Even if it gets scratched, minor scratches can be made less noticeable by gently rubbing and massaging the affected area with your fingers.

There are individual differences

Just like human skin varies from person to person, animal hides also have individual differences. Natural leather preserves its unique character with features such as color variations, scars, bloodlines, wrinkles, and grain patterns. The rich expression of genuine leather is a reflection of its individuality. Not every product will exhibit these characteristics, and some hides may even have rare and distinct patterns.

This is something you will never find in synthetic leather materials. Each piece of natural leather offers a unique texture to be appreciated and enjoyed.

 

Disadvantages of genuine leather

Weak against sweat and water

Indeed, leather, regardless of the type or processing, is generally susceptible to water damage. Leaving it wet can lead to the formation of mold or stains, and water absorption may cause the leather to swell and become more vulnerable to scratches.

In some cases, water can penetrate deep into the leather and cause deformation until it fully dries. However, there are types of leather, like water buffalo leather treated with waterproofing agents, that are more resistant to water. Such water-resistant leather is recommended for those concerned about sweat or water exposure.

TIDY Noble L字長財布 Brandy

TIDY Noble L-shaped long wallet Brandy

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Needs regular maintenance

When leather dries, it can develop cracks similar to human skin. Once the surface of the leather (grain side) cracks, it cannot be restored, making regular maintenance essential for prolonged use.

Frequent care may seem time-consuming, but the actual process is surprisingly simple, and many people find it enjoyable. Regular maintenance helps preserve the beauty and longevity of leather products.

【レザーケア】Hallelujah オリジナル ケアセット

[Leather Care] Hallelujah Original Care Set

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Heavier than synthetic leather

You may not notice it much with wallets or key cases, but with items like a rider's jacket or shoes that you wear, you may often feel they are heavy.

Be careful as they may get stained if they get wet with sweat while wearing them.

 

Summary of comparison between genuine leather and synthetic leather

How was it?

Both genuine leather and synthetic leather have their own merits and drawbacks.

If you want to enjoy the aging process while using it for a long time, I recommend "genuine leather."

On the other hand, if you prefer to buy more affordable items and replace them seasonally, I recommend "synthetic leather."

Why not choose the one that suits your needs?

I hope this article has been helpful to everyone.

See you in the next article.

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