What Kind Of Leather Bags Lasts The Longest?
Leather hardly needs any introduction, does it? It has significantly been a part of our lives from ancient times. Is there anyone who hasn’t used a leather product some time or the other? Not likely. Whether you swear by leather bags, have an exceptional love for leather shoes, or prefer to limit the use of leather in your life, the material has carved its presence forever.
But not everyone feels confident and comfortable buying leather bags. Why is that? With so many options in the market, how are we to know which is the best? And should we even add that the best comes at a terrifyingly high price? Just have a look at the price tags of the famous brands.
Sigh! We know that the price tag is more than enough to make us think twice.
But hey, guess what? By knowing a little more about leather, you can actually buy high-quality leather bags for cost-effective prices. Not cheap, mind you. But comparatively lesser than what the global brands cost.
That’s wonderful, isn’t it? We are elated when people want to know more about the material they love to use. The first thing you need to know about leather is the type. This depends on which layer of animal hide is used to make leather.
Types of Leather
Every product is graded based on the quality of the raw materials, and leather is no different. Since it comes from animal skin, we grade leather based on the same. That’s interesting, right?
If you hear the term full-grain, know that it’s the best quality of leather you can get. Why is that? We’ll explain.
Full-grain leather is made from the top layer of animal skin. This layer is naturally thick and resistant to water. The grains (texture) are also packed tightly to increase the durability and sturdiness of the material. So this top layer is tanned (carefully) to retain its natural strength and increase its life span. Then it is processed and sewed into a beautiful leather bag.
All that sounds good, but what makes full-grain leather special? Will you take a guess?
Well, we’ll answer it. Full-grain leather ages beautifully. It means that the older your leather bag gets, the smoother it will be. We could say that an aged full-grain leather bag is the epitome of class and quality.
Er... top grain? Aha! We knew it is rather confusing. Don’t fret, though. The explanation is simple enough. Top grain comes after full-grain and is made from the second layer of the skin. The imperfections in the surface are removed by sanding and buffing to make it smooth and soft.
Yeah, that makes top grain leather achieve the uniform look. But it also means that it's not as durable as full-grain and is thinner as well. Still, it is the second-best option and comes for a lesser price (not surprising, right?). We wouldn’t ignore top grin leather bags, mind you. These are beauties too.
Are you wondering why genuine leather comes in the middle? If it’s genuine, it should be at the top of the list, right? Actually, no. Genuine here doesn’t mean that the leather is of the best quality. In fact, it’s of the lowest quality. Yikes! Yes. But it is still made of real animal skin, so that’s something.
This type of leather is usually made by bonding several layers of low-quality leather. Naturally, genuine leather doesn’t last long and doesn’t look as good as full-grain and top-grain leather. However, it comes at an affordable price.
Also known as belting or strapping leather, this type is thicker and heavier. It is usually used in creating upholstery (yeah, that lovely couch you saw was probably made of this leather), though saddle leather is quite versatile.
Do you know that wallets and handbags can also be made of saddle leather? Not just that, your saddle leather bag could very well last for 100 years. Absolutely! Now, that’s an investment we’d love to make, isn’t it?
Next, we move on to know a little more about different types of animal leather. Already?
You’re right. There are many other types of leather manufactured in the market. But we’ve listed only the important ones used to make leather bags. Moreover, we need to focus on quality also, right?
Types of Animal Leather:
Another name for goat leather is Morocco leather since it was traditionally sourced from that region. Of course, by the early 1900s, European tanneries gained enough experience to process goat leather in the continent.
But what makes goat leather so famous that it hass been in demand for centuries? Well, for one, goat leather is soft. It is light, water-resistant (obviously), and resilient. The leather has dense fibres that give it a grainy and coarse texture. It’s just beautiful to touch. Goat leather bags can last for 5-6 years if they have a canvas lining inside.
But yeah, remember that you do need to take care of the bag. Just like other types of leather, goat leather also doesn’t do well in wet and humid conditions. Leave it to try naturally, and then give a light polish using leather wax.
Cowhide leather is the most common leather out there in the market. It’s so versatile that you can make just about any item out of it. It doesn’t matter whether the skin belongs to a younger cow or a seasoned one. These leather bags can last a lifetime.
And yes, it is water-resistant too. Is it heavier? Oh, yeah. Cowhide leather is rather heavy, but that’s hardly a problem. Cowhide bags are sturdy and reliable. You don’t have to doubt the quality of these bags, especially if you buy them from High on Leather. The bag will easily last for 7-10 years. Shall we see if we can stretch its durability beyond a decade? *wink*
Well, buffalo hide is not too different from cowhide, though it is even thicker and stronger. To be precise, buffalo leather is 2-3 times thicker than cow leather, and this translates to its durability and strength. Buffalo leather bags are quite famous for their dependability. This leather is also used for various items, be it a travel bag, a pair of sturdy shoes, or a thick jacket. Moreover, do you know that mats are also made using buffalo leather? The leather has great elasticity and is water-resistant. Why else do you think buffalo leather travel bags are so reliable and just as good-looking?
Hey, the list no way ends here. Leather is made from numerous other animal skins like pigs, a baby goat (kidskin), alligator, crocodile, snake, and even fish like stingray and catfish. Right! So how do we know that the leather bag is actually of good quality? Will the skin of any cow or a buffalo be considered the best, or are there any aspects we need to consider?
That’s a good question and something we already anticipated from you. We’ve got the answer right here. Read away.
Factors that Determine the Leather Quality
Not all cowhide is of the same quality. Some of it is superior, and some inferior (yeah, you guessed it right). But how do we know? Take a look below.
- Age of the Animal: The hide of a younger animal is of a higher quality. That said, the animal should not be too young either.
- Gender of the Animal: Guess if you can. The hide of female animals is denser with a finer grain structure. (Did you get it right?)
- Nutrition Provided to the Animal: This is quite obvious. Animals that eat fresh forage have better skin (same as humans, oops!).
- Climatic Conditions: Animals that live in harsher and colder climates have poor quality skin. The weather does its job on the hide, and that impacts the quality.
- Animal Husbandry: Animals that live in open pastures and have access to healthy grass (food) have superior skin.
To summarise, if you want a high-quality leather bag, it needs to be made from the hide of a younger female animal that has lived in neutral to warm temperatures and open pastures. Phew!
What’s next now? We’ll talk about the durability of the leather bags. We’ve already mentioned how long each type of leather bag can last. But that’s the average lifespan and is subject to various factors. So what are those factors? Check the next section.
Factors that Affect the Durability of Leather Bags
- Grain: Full-grain leather bags last the longest, followed by top-grain. Genuine leather has the shortest life span. If you want high-quality leather bags that are very durable and reliable, check out the lovely collection on High on Leather.
- Thickness: The thicker, the stronger it is. That makes it hard to tear or break and it will last longer.
- Lining: Lining is very crucial for leather bags. Different materials like cotton or canvas are used to provide a lining on the inside. This protects the leather from being poked and dented from inside the bag. That said, don’t drop sharp and pointy objects into the bag without proper protection.
- Type of Hide: We’ve already discussed this above, didn’t we? You know how durable different leathers are.
- Threads Used: Leather bags are stitched from pieces of leather cut into appropriate shapes, right? The thread used for this stitching is important, just as the stitching style. Not all kinds of stitches are suitable to hold together different layers of leather. Moreover, if the thread is not strong enough, the leather bag will start to rip off the seam. What use is full-grain hide if the thread doesn’t hold it together!
- Finish and Edges: The finish and edges need extra care. Uneven edges will make your leather bag appear odd. And when it comes to finish, it shouldn’t be too much or too little. Sigh! Rather hard to get it correct.
- Chemicals Used for Treatment of the Hide: The last thing you would want is for a leather bag to smell like acid, isn’t it? But how many times have you come across stinky leather bags? Too many, yup. A durable leather bag is one that’s processed using natural ingredients. Chemicals damage the grain of the hide and weaken it.
- Metals Used for Zippers, Buttons, and Buckles: How does metal affect leather? Well, think about it. If the metal is rough, will it not scratch the smooth surface of the leather? Yikes! Also, if the metal starts to rust, the zippers began to jam, and buttons come off, your leather bag is in no way going to look as good as new.
As you would have guessed there are many other factors that decide the durability of a leather bag. However, these are the primary ones you should ask about.
We hope you are now armed with all the information needed to buy a high-quality leather bag that matches your taste, style, and personality. Even full-grain leather doesn’t have to be too expensive if you know where to buy it.
Yep. High on Leather is a great place to buy awesome leather bags designed for men and women. Pick and choose from the multitude of designs listed on the site. Since the company sources leather from the meat industry, you don’t have to worry about harming an animal to make you a leather bag. Go ahead. Happy shopping!