What does the Label ‘Genuine Leather’ Mean?

What Does the Label 'Genuine Leather' Mean

If I ask you: ” What does the label ‘genuine leather’ mean? “, would you give me an answer? In recent years, the term “genuine leather” has become widely used by retail companies all over the world. Anyone with some knowledge of English would think:”Wow, that is some great leather!”. We are sorry to be the ones to tell you, but genuine leather isn’t necessarily what you think it is.

Some time ago this label used to mean something, but today it is actually used by everyone and anyone without guarantees of providing high-quality products. The term “genuine leather” doesn’t mean great leather. It only means that the product in question contains some leather in the material. As this is very misleading, let’s explore a bit more. We will discuss what exactly genuine leather is, how it is made and what to expect from it.

Is It Fake?

Genuine Leather (1)

No. To be clear, you are not getting a fake leather when you buy a product with the “genuine leather” tag. You are just not getting the top quality leather. “Full grain” and “top grain” are the best, and “genuine leather” can mean many things, yet nothing specific. The term has been coined to be this vague on purpose. We cover the differences between top grain leather and bonded leather here, and you should certainly give it a read if the subject interests you even a little.

So, one sheet of hide contains multiple layers. The outer layer is the high-quality part, and is called “top grain” or “full grain”, depending on how high into the surface it goes. Genuine leather, on the contrary, is made from the lower part of the hide, which is referred as the weak side of the skin. Intermediate layers can also be used for the production of genuine leather, and sometimes it can also be mixed with scraps, artificial materials, glue, and other chemicals. Mixing the lower layers of the hide with various other materials give the leather yet another term, which is “bonded leather”. And the worst part is that some sellers use “genuine leather” labels on bonded leather products.

Therefore, unfortunately, at the end of the day that could mean that only around 10-20% of total material used in the production of genuine leather is actual leather.  So, in reality, you cannot really know what you are getting when you buy products labeled as “genuine leather”. You would really have to trust the seller to purchase such a product.


We’ll be honest with you as you shouldn’t expect too much when it comes to the quality of genuine leather products. It is leather, however, only partially, and that “partially” part is only of the lower quality. It can’t come close to full grain or top grain leather products. Naturally, it isn’t as durable as one would like it to be. Although the first impression might be great due to beautiful oily finishes, but don’t expect it to last for a very long time.

The price can be a good indicator. If someone is advertising leather bags costing in the range of $40-80, you should be alerted immediately and proceed with caution. Unless the price is the only thing of concern, you should not even consider such products with any expectation for quality.


If you don’t expect your product to be long-lasting and don’t want to spend a fortune, cheaper genuine leather products may satisfy you. They do look really good, and if you are the person who likes changing things up and not sticking with one accessory for a long time, genuine leather bags could be a good choice for you.

However, we mentioned that “genuine leather” can mean many things, and thus look differently too. So, if you decide to go on with such products, be sure to pick one that looks really amazing. Sometimes people pick items that they like without overthinking about such things as quality, longevity and so on. But you know what? In certain cases, why would they?

Advantages and Disadvantages

Lower quality genuine leather does have some advantages. As we already explained, it looks and feels pretty good. For those who don’t want to or can’t spend a lot of money on leather products, genuine leather is a great compromise. You can get the looks without spending too much.

In addition, it is very easy to maintain it. Simple care will extend its durability and make it look nice from a couple to several years. All you need is a damp cloth and some leather care balsam to wipe your genuine leather product with. This should be done regularly, especially if you spend time in dusty areas. Pay attention not to make the cloth too wet, though.

Genuine leather will be more prone to cracking. Therefore, certain actions should be taken to keep it from cracking which luckily are easy and painless to follow.

Finally, the name “genuine leather”, misleading as it is, can scam many customers who aren’t aware of the truth behind it. Some unscrupulous vendors might take advantage of people, and overcharge them by making them believe genuine leather is the best there is.

Leather Processing


So, now that you are aware of what does the label “genuine leather” mean, you should be able to make smarter decisions while purchasing a leather bag. Overall, genuine leather doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is hard to know what exactly you are buying, so it might be a gamble. However, as long as you don’t pay too much, it is fine. Genuine leather products look good and will last you for several years. If that is what you are looking for, then you should definitely go for it. Just be sure not to be tricked into paying too much, as top quality isn’t what you will get.

However, if you are searching for top quality leather bags, we invite you to take a look at our leather bags for men and women which are made of full and top grain leathers for your full satisfaction.

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