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What is Leather Made Of

What is Leather Made Of

Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal skin. It is a light and strong material that can be cut and shaped easily! Leather is used to make a variety of items, including footwear, automobile seats, clothing, bags, book bindings, fashion accessories, furniture, saddles, and many more.

Where does leather come from?

Real leather is commonly made from cow-hide, but other animal skins can also be used such as goats or buffalos. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors hunt animals for food. They, later on, discovered that the skins of these animals could also be used as clothing to prevent them from elements such as heat and cold. In modern times,  different types of leather originating from different animals are used to make leather. In fact, 65% of these manufactured leather comes from cows, followed by sheep (15%), Pigs (11%), and other animals (9%) which mostly composed exotic animals.


Cowhides are considered as by-products of the food industry. However, instead of throwing away the skins, they are delivered to the tannery to be manufactured into good quality leather. These leathers are then transformed into your favorite designer shoes and bags!

What is Leather Made of?
What is Leather Made Of


Sheep produce thick wool instead of hair. Sheepskin is known for its durability and softness. Leather made from sheepskin is usually used to make winter clothing such as your leather jackets, gloves, or fluffy slippers!



Berkshire is a type of leather made from Pigskin! It is dense, durable, and has a soft feel which are similar qualities as goatskin. In fact, in 1852, tanner used Berkshire as an affordable substitute to goatskin.


Morocco or goat leather has a smooth and fine grain with a supple feel. It is also preferably used by others because it is water-resistant and can easily be air-dried.



Other animals are also used for leather such as crocodiles, snakes, seals, fish, kangaroos, horses, cats, and dogs. In fact, the most expensive leather is made from exotic animals such as crocodiles! A product made from this material would last up to 50-60 years if well-taken care of.

How Is Leather Made?

Making leather is a tough process. The process includes mainly 3 stages namely, pre-tanning, tanning, and crusting. Each of these stages is thoroughly discussed as follows:

1. Preparatory Stage/ Pre-Tanning

In this stage, the skin is prepared for the process of tanning and unwanted particles are removed from it. After arriving at the tannery, the rawhide is soaked in water to remove the excess salt used in preservation. For this purpose, large revolving drums that contain 200 hides per rotation are used. After that, hair and epidermis are removed. A solution of lime (Calcium Hydroxide) and Sodium Sulfide is applied to make it soft and flexible. Finally, the hide is split into two layers: grain (top) and suede(bottom part).

2. Tanning:

Tanning is the conversion of animal proteins from raw skin into a stable material. During this step, a tanning agent is applied onto the rawhide. After tanning, the material becomes more durable and less susceptible to decomposition.

3. Crusting:

In this step, the animal hide is thinned, retained, and lubricated. It follows the following short processes: Splitting, Stuffing, Drying, and Conditioning


Splitting is a process where the leather is sliced into thin layers. A splitting machine slices the leather according to the desired thickness. The layer without a grain surface can be turned into suede.


Leather is dyed into a variety of colors depending on the design. Some leathers are only dyed on their surface. While some are completely penetrated with the dye.


Fats, oils, and waxes are added between the fibers to make the leather soft. Without these oils, the leather will become hard as it dries.

Drying and Conditioning

Leather is dried and conditioned to keep it soft, and supple.

What Are Types Of Leather?

1. Full-grain or Top Grain Leather

The top or Full-Grain Leather is the strongest and most durable portion of the hide. Full-Grain Leather is used to make Crazy Horse Leather. This type of leather has not been sanded, buffed, or snuffed; thus, it retains its original and natural characteristics. Crazy Horse Leather is regarded as the highest quality leather and is used to make our leather products.

The Welch Briefcase | Vintage Leather Messenger Bag
The Welch Briefcase | Vintage Leather Messenger Bag

2. Suede

Suede is the bottom part of the hide. It has a velvety and rough texture.

3. Reconstituted Leather

Reconstituted leather, also known as bonded leather, is a cheap alternative to real leather.  It is of poor quality and tends to get damaged easily. Reconstituted leather is made from a mix of real and fake leather. Manufacturers take leftover scraps, grind them into a pulp, stick them together, and attach it to a polyurethane (PU) overlay.

Leather is an amazing material that has been around for ages. It is regarded as a great investment that is suitable for everyday use. If well taken care of, it could last for ages! It is important to invest in high-quality leather bags made from genuine Crazy Horse Leather. It is guaranteed to last for a long time, and even become more beautiful over time. For more high-quality Crazy Horse Leather Bags, visit our shop!

Handmade Leather Bags

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