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Why Full/Top Grain Leather?


At Bad Mother Leather, we offer only the highest quality products possible. That is why we use full/top grain leather. These are probably terms you are not familiar with. To understand why we use only full/top grain leather, you need to first learn a little bit about the various kinds of leather used in the industry.

Leather Grades

  • Full grain leather
  • Top grain leather
  • Split grain leather
  • Genuine leather
  • Bonded leather

Full Grain Leather

Full grain leather or sometimes otherwise referred to as top-grain leather is the most prized and valued part of the hide. It is derived by “splitting” the animal hide using a machine with an extremely sharp blade. The uppermost layer is separated from the lower grade part of the hide. This process is similar to wood planing. The full-grain part of the hide is the most durable. It is what your great grandfather’s wallet or belt you might have that has lasted multiple generations is most likely made of. The saying “they just don’t make things like they used to” is very fitting. Most companies nowadays do not use full-grain leather due to a number of reasons but, mostly because of capitalistic reasons. Unlike giant corporations, we care about making products that can be cherished for a very long time. We aren’t willing to sacrifice quality for higher profits.

Top Grain Leather

There are many different types of top-grain leather. Not all top grain leather is equal in quality however. Top grain leather and full grain leather are terms sometimes used interchangeably but, they are not the same. Both are in the top tier of leather grades but, have their own characteristics and uses. To get this kind of leather, the top layer of the leather is split from the rest of the lower grade parts of the hide. It is then sanded or buffed on both sides to remove any imperfections such as scars or other blemishes. This makes the leather uniform and smooth. Next, it goes through a pigmentation process to achieve the desired tone or color. This also seals the pores and waterproofs it. If texture is desired such as pebble milled, then the hide is run through a machine with giant rollers. Many of the top designers in the world use this kind of leather.

Split Grain Leather

Split grain leather is most commonly known as suede. It is the part of the hide that doesn’t contain any of the grain. It is usually very soft and can found as liners in many goods such as wallets, shoes, hats, handbags, and more.

Genuine Leather

Contrary to what most people have been convinced to believe, genuine leather is not high quality leather. It does not warrant a premium price. The large corporations who mass produce products with this type of leather don’t want you to know this however. The term genuine leather is a made up term used by marketers who have tricked society into thinking it is quality. At Bad Mother Leather, we value quality over quantity so, you will never see a genuine leather item in our shop only full grain or top grain.

Bonded Leather

Bonded leather, as the name implies, is simply a bunch of leather dust, scraps, vinyl, glue, and plastic all bonded or compressed together. Some good analogies for comparison are spam vs. steak, particle board vs. solid hardwood, pan pot metal vs. stainless steel.