What is Leather Made Of?

Understanding Genuine Leather

As an expert in leather works and a proud Italian with in-depth knowledge of handbags manufactured in Italy, I am excited to share with you the secrets of leather - the luxurious and timeless material that has been cherished for centuries. In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of leather, exploring what it is made of, how it is manufactured, and what sets genuine Italian leather apart. We will also touch upon related topics such as PU leather, faux leather, and bonded leather, to provide a comprehensive understanding of leather in all its forms.

Leather is a natural material that is created through a complex process of tanning animal hides or skins. The most commonly used animal hides come from cows, pigs, sheep, and goats, although leather can also be made from exotic animals such as alligators and snakes. Genuine leather is known for its unique texture, durability, and versatility, making it a prized material for various applications, including handbags, shoes, belts, and furniture.

How is Leather Made?

The process of making leather involves several stages, including preparation, tanning, and finishing. Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how genuine leather is made:

Preparation: The animal hides or skins are first cleaned and soaked in water to remove impurities such as dirt, blood, and flesh. They are then treated with chemicals to remove the hair or fur.

Tanning: The tanning process is crucial in converting the hides into leather. Tanning involves treating the hides with tannins, which are natural or synthetic compounds that stabilize the proteins in the hides and prevent them from decomposing. This process can be done using various methods, such as vegetable tanning, chrome tanning, and aldehyde tanning, each producing different types of leather with unique properties.

Finishing: After tanning, the leather is treated with dyes and other chemicals to enhance its color, texture, and durability. The leather is then stretched, dried, and polished to achieve the desired look and feel.

Genuine Italian Leather

Italian leather is renowned for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Italy has a long-standing tradition of producing some of the world's finest leather goods, including handbags that are highly sought after by fashion connoisseurs. What sets Italian leather apart is not only the use of high-quality raw materials, but also the skill and expertise of Italian artisans who meticulously handcraft each piece to perfection. Italian leather is known for its softness, suppleness, and natural grain, which gives it a luxurious look and feel.

PU Leather - What Does it Mean?

PU leather, or polyurethane leather, is a synthetic leather made from a layer of polyurethane applied to a fabric backing. It is designed to mimic the look and feel of genuine leather at a lower cost. PU leather has gained popularity in recent years as a more affordable alternative to genuine leather, but it is important to note that it is not real leather. While PU leather can offer some advantages such as being water-resistant and easy to clean, it lacks the durability and breathability of genuine leather.

Faux Leather - What is it Made Of?

Faux leather, also known as synthetic leather or vegan leather, is a man-made material that imitates the texture and appearance of genuine leather. It can be made from a variety of materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU), and other synthetic materials. Faux leather is often used as an animal-friendly alternative to genuine leather, as it does not involve the use of animal hides or skins. However, it is important to note that not all faux leathers are created equal, and their quality can vary greatly depending on the materials and manufacturing processes used. While faux leather may offer affordability and a cruelty-free option for consumers, it may not possess the same durability, breathability, and natural aging characteristics of genuine leather.

Bonded Leather - Is it Real Leather?

Bonded leather, also known as reconstituted leather, is a type of composite leather that is made by bonding together scraps of leather fibers with adhesives. While it may contain small amounts of genuine leather, bonded leather is not considered real leather as it is a man-made material that lacks the same properties and characteristics of genuine leather. Bonded leather is typically used as a lower-cost option in some products, but it may not offer the same quality, durability, or longevity as genuine leather.


To summarise, understanding what leather is made of and the various types of leather available in the market is essential for consumers who value the quality, authenticity, and sustainability of leather goods. Genuine Italian leather is known for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship, while PU leather, faux leather, and bonded leather are synthetic alternatives that may offer affordability and animal-friendly options but may not possess the same properties as genuine leather. As a consumer, it's important to carefully consider your preferences, budget, and values when choosing leather products. Investing in genuine Italian leather ensures a premium, long-lasting, and sustainable choice that will age beautifully over time, reflecting the rich heritage and craftsmanship of Italian leather goods.

We hope this comprehensive guide has shed light on the intriguing world of leather and provided valuable insights into what leather is made of and the different types of leather available. If you have any further questions or would like to explore our genuine Italian leather products, please visit our website at LeatherItaliano.com or contact our knowledgeable team for personalized assistance. Thank you for joining us on this journey of leather craftsmanship!


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