Are you wondering how long your newly-bought leather item is going to last before you have to buy a new one? How long does real leather last? And how can you make it last longer?
All this and more today as we explore how long real leather lasts depending on the quality of the leather in question!
Leather Longevity by Type of Leather
The answer to any nuanced question is never singular. In this instance at least, if we are to answer how long does leather last, we must ask what kind of 'real leather' is being referred to.
1. Full-Grain Leather
Being the highest quality and the most durable of all leathers, full-grain leather is going to last the longest, at least in terms of traditional leather. Check out vegan leather alternatives for more on the flip side of things.
If cared for in the right way, this genuine leather can last for a considerable amount of time. The idea is for such a product to last you a theoretical lifetime, so you should expect it to last as long as you are caring for it properly.
Buffalo leather is, for example, a full-grain leather, and over at Moonster, you shouldn't expect anything less.
2. Top-Grain Leather
This leather is still used in plenty of products - like leather shoes - and, while this is by no means faux leather or anything, this is still a compromised leather with a leather quality that will reflect that upon closer inspection.
Of course, this is no corrected grain leather and it will still be a quality leather found in great examples of the leather jacket. But, where full-grain leather might last you through a whole lifetime of use, top-grain leather might only be expected to last several decades.
You can expect to see belts, shoes, boots, briefcases, wallets, and leather furniture made from this variety of leather.
3. Genuine Leather
While the name might fool you, genuine leather is a lower quality leather still than those we have seen thus far.
While a leather product made from one or more full-grain leathers is intended to last a lifetime or more, and while those same products made with top-grain leather are intended to last several decades, leather items made with genuine leather can only really be expected to last between five to ten years.
The intention when producing products from leather of such low quality is to make the overall product more affordable for the average consumer.
Because of compromises in the tanning process, the split grain will fade, crack, and peel more quickly than any other leather thus far discussed. Even if taken good care of and conditioned repeatedly, you can only expect the typical products made from genuine leather like mass-produced wallets, bags, and belts to last up to a decade.
4. Bonded Leather
In much the same way as genuine leather, bonded leather is also replete with its own shortcomings. This is, again, to allow the average person more accessibility to leather products even if the quality is nowhere near close to being on par with higher quality leathers like top- or full-grain.
Bonded leather, though, is even less pure in quality than genuine leather, exhibiting even more compromises in time and dedication to the art. Bonded leather is, in fact, more prone to scratching, peeling, and flaking than genuine leather owing to shortcomings in the production process. Whole chunks of the material are likely to be torn away with repeated uses.
So, before you do invest in a bonded leather item, ask yourself: is it worth it when you consider how soon you will have to replace the damn thing?!
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you have learned something about how long you can expect your own leather item(s) to last come the dawning apocalypse!
FAQs How Long Does Leather Last?
HOW LONG DOES REAL LEATHER LAST?
Real leather can last anywhere from a year or less, all the way up to decades and centuries, depending on the type of real leather of which you speak.
WHAT TYPE OF LEATHER LASTS THE LONGEST?
Of the traditional types of leather made from cow and buffalo hide, it is the full-grain varieties of these leathers that exhibit the longest durability, sometimes lasting up to a century or more.
DOES REAL LEATHER WEAR OUT?
Indeed it does, the speed at which this deterioration occurs depends on the quality of the leather in question. Bonded leather lasts the shortest amount of time, whereas top-grain leather and full-grain leather last the longest.
WHY DOES LEATHER LAST SO LONG?
The reason for leather's strength and endurance under duress and pressure has to do largely with the fact that it comes from the hide of an animal. Once it is treated and tanned, it is basically unstoppable because an animal's hide has to be unstoppable to withstand the tests of nature.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE LEATHER LAST LONGER?
The easiest way to make leather last longer is to look after it on a regular basis, conditioning it when it needs it, ensuring that it is properly dried away from direct sunlight when it has been wet, and otherwise kept in a moisture-free environment.