What is Semi-Aniline Leather?

What is Semi Aniline Leather

When you are comparing leather goods like belts, wallets, purses, or furniture that you want to buy, you may read about the many different types of leather these products can be made out of. These include everything from full grain leather which is the best grade, top grain leather, split grain leather, to bonded leather which is the lowest quality. These names are often confusing and don’t give you a real understanding of what each type of leather means.

But then you throw in some terms such as aniline or semi-aniline, and brain of some people might simply explode. To avoid the explosion of brains, here we will simply and yet understandably explain what is semi-aniline leather and how it compares to full aniline leather. Therefore, without further ado, let’s dive straight in.

[Good Read: How To Tell Leather Quality]

Semi-Aniline Leather

Semi aniline leather is made much like full aniline counterpart, with one main difference. That difference is that semi-aniline leather is made with semi-aniline dye that contains just a small amount of pigment. This means that the leather will have a more uniform coloring than a full aniline leather. In addition, semi aniline leather still preserves the natural markings present in the leather while adding a thin protective layer which makes it more resistant to stains and wear than full aniline leather.

Most high-end leather bags have semi-aniline finishing due to its final looks. Not everybody likes the most natural leather possible, due to rigidness in form and looks it might present itself in. But no worries, because in such case semi-aniline finishing is the way to go.

[Good Read: What is Full Aniline Leather]

Advantages and Disadvantages


Semi aniline-leather is a high quality leather that has many advantages, but some disadvantages as well. One of the advantages of semi aniline-leather is that it is much more durable than full aniline leather. This is because of the thin protective coating on it. This durability makes it a perfect option for products that are going to be used a lot.

If you are buying a purse that you know will be your everyday purse, or if you are buying a leather sofa to go in the room that is used the most, semi aniline leather is the one that you want. It has a soft and supple feel to it, while still being durable. In addition, it still keeps the natural beauty of real leather while minimizing the chance for it obtaining some scratches or other damage. It is also easier to clean and maintain than full aniline leather.


While semi-aniline leather may seem too good to be true as it is less expensive than full aniline leather, is as durable, and maintains its natural beauty, there are some disadvantages to it as well. One of these disadvantages is that semi-aniline leather does have some pigment added to it. This could be a problem for those leather purists that want only the pure natural look of the leather.

Another disadvantage is that it will not develop a patina over time because it has a protective coating. This patina is that natural shine that your leather gets after natural wear and contact to your skin’s natural oils. Again for leather purists, this could be a deal breaker. However, if you are not one of them, then it should not be looked at as a disadvantage and thus be completely ignored.

Final Words

So what is semi-aniline leather in short? If we had to explain it in one sentence, it’d be something like that: semi-aniline leather is full grain or top grain leather dyed with semi-aniline dyes that contain small amount of pigment, which covers the leather with a tiny level of coating and gives it a more uniformal color and extra layer of protection against natural elements and forces. That was a heck of a sentence, but if you had to skip the entire article to find out in short, we believe it covers it well.

Overall, semi-aniline leather is a great option for someone who is not a leather purist, and wants a beautiful piece without the high price tag and all the extra maintenance that full aniline leather requires.

Luckily, most of our leather bags for men and some for women are of semi-aniline leather and might be of interest to you.

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14 thoughts on “What is Semi-Aniline Leather?

    • Evaldas Baniulis says:

      Hey Johanna,

      Semi-aniline leather furniture could be a great option, slightly on a more expensive side, but affordable and certainly durable. However, if you do have animals such as cats or energetic dogs, I would go with a pigmented leather. It is much more durable due to a surface coating that will give you an extra layer of protection. It will also be less expensive, as aniline and semi-aniline leathers are usually made out of a more expensive full grain leather, while pigmented leather is made out of top-grain leather (which undergoes buffing or sanding processes to remove imperfections).

      Hope that helped 🙂

      • Frank says:

        According to several professional reports that I have read, semi-aniline leather also uses a pigmented dye for color plus a clear coat for protection from sun, stain, and wear.

        • Evaldas Baniulis says:

          You are absolutely correct. My statement in no way contradicts yours 🙂 But the level of coating (and thus protection) is not entirely the same. Semi-aniline leather will more likely catch scratches and stains, compared to other more coated leathers. However, the look and feel of semi-aniline leather cannot be compared to the lower grade leathers, but the it comes at a higher price as well.

      • Yolanda says:

        Hi, Evaldas. I’ve been trying to find a yard of semi aniline in white for my Toyota Capstone upholstery. The dealership wants to charge me $2500 to replace the entire seatback cover. Any suggestions on where to find it if you don’t have it? Thanks!

  1. Eva says:

    Can you please compare aniline and semi-aniline leather in terms of feeling cold when sitting on it? I’m in process of deciding and would love to buy semi-aniline one but I’m afraid of feeling cold in winter and sweaty on summer.

    • Evaldas Baniulis says:

      Hey Eva,

      Well, to be honest with you, I’d say that both will feel about the same in terms of feeling cold (in winter) or hot (in summer). Leather is not the best material if home’s temperature tends to vary drastically in summer and winter, and if you would like something more stable. Also, you will pay much more for aniline leather, and it’d be quite difficult to find a coach/sofa or whatever you are planning on sitting on to be made fully out of aniline leather 🙂 Plus, semi-aniline leather would be more recommended in terms of durability if it’s going to be used a lot (once again, sofa/coach).

  2. George says:

    Thinking of buying a sofa made of this Leather. Normally what warranty period is covering it? Also how do you compare this with PU, Bonded leather? Is it any of their gamilies?

    • Evaldas Baniulis says:

      Hey George,

      Well, we cannot really comment on normal warranty period covering sofas, as we do not work with them, but as a general rule, if it’s a well-made semi-aniline leather sofa, it will last you at least a decade if not two. You should really consult with sofa makers 🙂

      And for your second question, semi-aniline leather cannot be compared with bonded leathers. Same goes with PU. PU will look like leather, but it’s really plastic, so the feel will not be the same. I really believe they would be very durable, but it’s like comparing gold with fake gold, you can’t do that. And as far as bonded leather goes, it’s made from leather scraps (trash) glued with plastic basically, so you won’t have the real feel nor durability from such a leather. So in my opinion, if your finances allow you to, avoid such leathers.


  3. Litiana Lyons says:

    Thanks for the great answers to good questions. I have two semi- aniline leather single chairs being delivered and suddenly have questions popping up. Thank you for these answers. I was panicking a bit.

    • Lori A. Black says:

      YES, have this question too! Just got a black Chloe semi aniline leather handbag & want to know what products can safely use.

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