Where does real leather come from?

If you are going to invest in a leather product such as a bag or belt, it may be useful to understand where the production process of the product began. Often high street retailers sell leather jackets which may look genuine but can sometimes be made from fake leather. This section will focus on where real leather comes from, and the main differences to look out for between real and fake leather.

Where does real leather come from

Real leather comes from the hide of animals such as cows, sheep, pigs. Cowhide is the most popular way to make leather due to it being widely available across the world. Cowhide leather tends to be heavier and is therefore a better choice for clothing such as coats and furniture such as sofas. Sheepskin is often used to make clothing items such as slippers and rugs. Leather made from the hide of pigs often lends itself to creating items such as gloves, shoes and sportswear. Real leather is made from animal skin – usually cow, sheep or goat. To become leather, the animal skins are prepared, tanned and then crusted. Depending on the end product, sometimes leather producers also add an additional layer coating after the leather is ready.


What are the main differences between fake and real leather?

There are many differences between fake and real leather, although these differences are sometimes hard to spot for the consumer/customer. These are the smell, feel, pores, elasticity, and the look.


The smell of a leather product is a big indicator of whether it is fake leather or real leather. Real leather is known for having a distinct smell that cannot be replicated by fake or synthetic leather.


The feel of a product can also determine whether it is real or fake leather. Real leather is generally less smooth and consistent in texture, whereas fake leather can feel smooth and plastic like. The edges of a leather product are also a good indicator, as real leather has a more natural rough edge. Synthetic or fake leather on the other hand often has a smooth, almost perfect edge to it.


The pores of leather can also demonstrate whether a product is fake or genuine. Real leather has an inconsistent pattern of pores due to it being a natural product, whereas synthetic or fake leather has a consistent, repeating pattern.


The elasticity of leather is also a good indicator of whether it is real or fake. Faux leather stretches wider than genuine leather does, but real leather has better elasticity. Faux or synthetic leather is made from fabric that tends to be treated with dye, wax or polyurethane.

hide pits


Faux or synthetic leather can end up looking a lot like real leather, but it does not have the same quality as the real kind. Genuine leather has a protein from the animal skin that has been put through the tanning process, so the end result is a stable yet flexible material that is suitable for various uses.

How much should real leather cost?

Depending on the product, real leather can vary massively in price. All Saints are an upmarket retailer who are popular for their real leather jackets. Real leather jackets on their website range from £300 to £400. All Saints also sell real leather belts, ranging from £40 to £100. At Peachy Belts, we produce leather belts which start at around £50. This is the rough figure most retailers will start selling real leather belts and similar products at.

See our other post: all you ever wanted to know about leather.