What Is the Difference Between Nubuck and Suede Leather?

Buyers Guide
What Is the Difference Between Nubuck and Suede Leather?

Nubuck Leather Vs Suede Leather: difference and features

Nubuck and suede leather (also called "velour") are materials that are obtained from cows, calf, sheepskin and other animal skins. These two types of leather may look quite similar to both sight and touch but the main difference comes from the type of process with which they are produced. What characterizes and differentiates these leathers is therefore the manufacturing process, the treatment and not least the price.

The substantial difference between Nubuck and suede consists in the fact that Nabuk is obtained by working the external part of the animal's skin, i.e. the grain side, while suede is obtained by working the inside of the animal's skin, i.e. the split (also called flesh side).

As regards the the price, suede, is usually cheaper than Nabuk because it is produced using a less valuable part of the animal (split or flesh side) while Nubuck is usually one of the most expensive leathers as it requires a high quality raw hides to be produced.

For what concerns the finishing phase, these two leathers are both obtained through a brushing and sanding process with special machines that rub and smooth the surface of the leather after it has been tanned.

nubuck leather hides

What is Nubuck leather?

By Nubuck leather we mean a full-grain leather of bovine or ovine origin, chrome or vegetable tanned, whose surface has been smoothed and sanded through special machinery with the aim of obtaining a soft and velvety surface to the touch. Nubuck leather is generally considered very valuable as only the best raw hides are suitable for this type of processing, but it is also quite delicate and must be carefully maintained.

What is suede leather?

By suede we mean a leather of bovine or ovine origin, chrome tanned, which is usually obtained using the lower less valuable layer of the leather, called split, which is smoothed and sanded in order to obtain a soft and silky surface. Suede can also be obtained from a grain leather, but in any case the main side will always be that of the "flesh". This type of leather is usually considered less valuable than other types of leather, as it uses the least valuable layer of leather.

How to distinguish Nubuck leather from Suede leather

Nubuck leather and suede are two rather similar kinds of leather and it is often difficult to distinguish them from one another simply from the outward appearance. The outer part of the Nabuk, however, generally has small imperfections and signs that the suede instead never has; furthermore, on the Nabuk it is possible to distinguish the characteristics of the animal's epidermis (such as small veins and pores) which cannot be seen on suede. The surface of the Nabuk, being obtained from the grain part of the animal, is more resistant than suede. In conclusion, to distinguish the two types it is therefore necessary to carefully observe the external surface and finally, speaking of prices, we can say that generally the Nabuk is more expensive and "valuable" compared to suede leather.

Suede Leather Nubuck Leather
suede nubuck


Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

It must be remembered that the suede leather tends more to ruin over time than the Nabuk, which is in fact more valuable and expensive than the first and is therefore more durable. In both cases, however, it is necessary to treat the skin to keep it always in good condition. Nubuck leather should be cleaned with a soft brush, which does not damage the grain, while for the suede it is advisable to choose a harder brush that will remove dirt. Here are other important tips:

To preserve every type of leather it is important:

  • Protect it from damage caused by direct sunlight
  • Protect it from damage caused by excessive heat sources
  • Protect it from damage caused by sharp objects

Below we list some tips for Nubuck skin cleaning:

  1. For normal cleaning it is advisable to use a soft brush, such as those commonly used for clothing; alternatively you can also use a soft and dry cloth or, alternatively, damp. On the contrary, it is recommended not to use liquid products for cleaning the skin or balsams, but you can try the products specially formulated for Nubuck skins.
  2. In case of specific stains on the surface of the skin, it is possible to use emery cloth on the affected area.
  3. It is also advisable to test each product for cleaning and maintenance on an inconspicuous part of the sofa before using it on larger areas, to check its effect. We recommend that you follow this procedure only with specific products for Nubuck leathers.
  4. Finally, it is important to sprinkle and turn the cushions regularly to avoid the exclusive and repeated wear of some parts of the upholstery.

Where to buy Nubuck and Suede Leather Hides?

If you are interested in buying Nubuck or Suede Leather to make leather craft or DIY projects, then you are in the right place. Buyleatheronline.com is the largest worldwide website for leather hides for sale. Here you will find the leather material you need, at the best price and with the quality of Made in Italy. With a few clicks and no minimum order, you will receive at home what you need. In particular you can access the categories dedicated to the sale of suede and Nabuk leathers from the links below: