What is Genuine Leather?

what is genuine leather

Genuine leather seems too good to be true. Often you are walking through a store with leather products and you see one that looks like an absolute steal. It has a beautiful look to it, and the price tag is significantly cheaper than the other leather products around it. It is calling to you and you see it is made out of “Genuine Leather.” You can’t believe how lucky you are to have found this bargain leather product for such a cheap price… Until you realize that “genuine leather” is not all it’s cracked up to be. So, what is genuine leather? We actually covered the topic in our older article, you can check it out here. But let’s talk about it once more, because many people are still confused about it.

[Good Read: What is Split Leather?]

So, What is Genuine Leather?

Although the name genuine leather has a nice ring to it, that’s about all that is good about this type of leather product. It is usually one the lowest quality leathers around, surpassing only the bonded leather, which is technically not even leather.

[Good Read: What Does Bonded Leather Mean?]

In the best-case scenario, genuine leather is made out of bottom part of the hide after it’s soaked and split into two parts – top part and lower part. In the most common scenario, genuine leather is made of scraps and other leftovers, much like bonded leather. This means that products made out of this kind of leather could actually be made out of anything, as long as there are 10-20% of actual leather. Much like the ground beef you can buy in a tube at your local market, genuine leather are the leftover scraps.

Therefore, when you see genuine leather label, just be prepared for anything. The price is actually the best indicator to what leather was used in the making of the product. You can also refer to our “How Much Does Leather Cost?” article to learn how to use the price to learn about what type of leather was used (works most of the time).


Many of the products you will find in your local mall are made out of genuine leather. These products will be anything from a belt, to a bag, to a wallet. Lower quality leather shoes can also be made out of such leather. You will most likely find items made from this leather in your local department stores, not your high-end retailers. These products will not be as expensive as their top grain leather or full grain leather counterparts.

Products made out of genuine leather are usually a much lower quality. They will form stretch marks and deteriorate over time. In addition, if you get an item like shoes or a jacket, such products won’t breathe like top grain leather or full grain leather. This means they will often make you overheat if you wear them during warmer times.

[Good Read: How to Tell Leather Quality]


After reading this article, you may be wondering if there is anything good about genuine leather. For people who have the money to spend on real leather products, those will definitely be the better option. However, one benefit to such leather products is that they are less pricey. And that is especially relevant in today’s consumeristic world, where an item purchased last year becomes uninteresting and, in some cases, obsolete.

Such leather is also easy to maintain as it only requires that you simply wipe them down with a damp cloth, and then polish them with a conditioner or cream. This will help increase their longevity a little bit and prevent them from cracking or drying out as quickly. However, if they do catch a scratch or a dent, you won’t be able to cover it with a cream as you would if you had a full grain leather item.


At the end it’s you who has to decide what he or she wants. If you like having a new bag, pair of shoes, a wallet or other leather accessory once a year, then opting for a genuine leather product might seem like a logical and economical way. However, if you are against main stream items and want something that is unique, long-lasting, durable and beautiful, full grain or top grain leather items should be your priority.

Here at Domini Leather majority of our items are made out of full grain leather, with a few exceptions.

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