Difference between Suede and Velour Leather

Buyers Guide
Difference between Suede and Velour Leather

Velour Leather and Suede leathers are not the same thing. To understand the difference between the two types it is necessary to go down to a greater level of detail. The main distinction has to be made between:

  • Sheep or bovine skins with suede effect
  • Velour skins, intended as Chamois animal (alpine mammal belonging to the "Bovidi" family, with a similar appearance to a goat) and which also includes the so-called buckskin and reindeer skins

Suede Leather

Suede leathers are skins usually of bovine or sheep and goat origin (calves, goats, rams, lambs, etc.), which are worked on the flesh side, through the following main steps:

  • Splitting;
  • Tanning and re-tanning;
  • Dyeing;
  • Sanding.

To produce this material, the "less noble" inner part of the animal's dermis is used (the split), in order to obtain a leather with a silky and velvety effect. Since the inner side of the leather is used to produce this material instead of the "grain" side, it is easy to see how suede leathers are almost always cheaper than "full", “top” or "first" grains. For this reason, during the selection of the raw material to be tanned, different choices of leather are made and those with greater defects are usually destined to the "suede" finish.

Suede leathers in any case remain fine leathers, often characterized by high prices depending on the tanneries that produce them, but they can also represent an economic alternative for the production of shoes and boots (as in the case of the chrome-tanned bovine split leather).

suede leather
Suede Leather

Velour Leather

Velour leather, on the other hand, is a unique leather of its kind because it is worked by sanding the grain side of the animal’s skin (buckskins, chamois or reindeer), obtaining a greater writing effect and a surface even more delicate and silky to the touch. The production cost of this leather is greater than the classic suede but its diffusion on the market is much less if not almost non-existent, for the following reasons:

  • The chamois is a protected animal in danger of extinction, as well as the reindeer and therefore their hunting is prohibited and/or controlled.
  • The population of these animals is so small that it could never cope with the demand for leather.
  • The cost is much higher than their sheep and bovine counterparts.

Conclusions: the difference between Suede and Velour no longer exists

In light of the considerations just made, today we can argue that the difference between suede and velour leather no longer exists, as the latter have now almost completely disappeared for the reasons we have listed. It is therefore normal to use both terms as substitutes without further distinction, wanting to refer mainly to suede leathers as these are the only ones on the market.

On our site you can find these skins in the suede and velour leather in the same category.

suede and velour leather