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What is PU Leather? PU Leather vs Real Leather: Which one is better?

What is PU Leather? PU Leather vs Real Leather: Which one is better?


There are different types of products known as “Leather”, but do you know the difference between the PU Leather (Polyurethane Leather) and Real leather? Let us explain it to you.

It's clear genuine leather is a preferable material for a wide range of products. It's known for its sturdiness and its attractive appearance. There are many inexpensive knock-offs that are meant to mimic the genuine offer in look just. These goods are made from cheap materials that can't endure the test of time. As a buyer, it is essential to comprehend the difference in between genuine leather and imitation products-- especially PU leather.


What is PU Leather?


The PU leather, also known as synthetic leather, it’s an imitation of the real leather created from polyurethane, a plastic with similar feel and aspect to the leather, but without involving animals. 100% PU leather is an artificial material that does not involve animals.  PU leather is considered Vegan.


The most common way to create PU leather is using a cover of plastic polyurethane and apply it to a base made of fiber (generally polyester). The PU leather can be combined with real leather to make something called “double-cast” leather. The “double-cast” leather can use a base of divided real leather which later is covered by PVC or PU layer.  


The PU leather generally has the same texture as the animal skin (real leather), but in most cases, it’s lighter, and at the same time it is not as durable as real leather and tends to tear easily. It is also more resistant to sunlight, and this is why it is frequently used to cover car seats and furniture.

What is PU Leather? PU Leather vs. Real Leather | Steel Horse Leather 

About maintenance, the PU leather can also be manufactured in a larger set of textures and colors. You can even give it a glossy finish with ease. Also, the PU leather rarely requires much attention, usually just cleaning with a damp cloth.


As opposed to genuine leather, PU leather is not as breathable. However, it is more breathable than other types of synthetic leather, such as PVC. While genuine leather tends to become more attractive and softer overtime, this is not the case with PU leather, which will maintain a uniform look and feel throughout its life. And finally, PU leather tends to be substantially cheaper than genuine leather.


How can you identify PU Leather?


Depending upon whether you are searching for PU leather or authentic leather, it is best to understand how to discriminate between them. Say you are buying a leather bag, the simplest method to discriminate is by looking at the tag or description. In some cases, products might not have a tag, so being able to know the distinctions will be useful.

The primary difference you will find is the expense. PU leather will normally be less expensive than genuine leather since it is simpler to produce and a much cheaper material.

PU leather will have a unique smell to it. PU will have a plastic or chemical smell to it that real leather will not have.

Doing a water test is also an easy way to figure out if it is real or fake leather. Although it wouldn't be advised to do a water test to an item you do not own, genuine leather will absorb the water. PU leather will not absorb the water.

If you have a keen eye, you may be able to tell the difference just by looking at the product. Real leather will have some imperfections and have a genuine grain, this is what gives our bags their vintage look. PU leather will in fact look phony, and will almost have an ideal, patterned texture look.

What is Genuine or Real Leather?




Real leather is crafted from animal skin, which in our case is cowhide, and must be tanned to avoid decomposition and become usable leather.


It can last a long time and generally gains a nice texture as it ages. If given proper care, an accessory made of this material can last between 10 and 20 years. Genuine leather is difficult to tear or puncture and is also much more breathable and humidity-resistant than most artificial leathers, which can begin to crack and warp in just a few years. And also, unlike synthetic leather, some genuine leathers have hypoallergenic features, which means they repel certain allergens.


The maintenance of leather is a little more complicated than that of PU leather. You can clean leather with soap or water over using a damp cloth, but if it gets stained with oil or sweat you will need a special leather cleaner. Genuine leather may need a leather conditioner applied from time to time to keep it supple, or it will become stiff or brittle. This is because the natural oils in leather dry out over time.

What are the Benefits of Genuine Leather?

Is it really worth the additional money to acquire an authentic product over the numerous counterfeit options out there? Exactly what are the advantages of purchasing real products? Besides their remarkable sturdiness, here are a few of the reasons many people choose the real deal over more affordable faux choices:

- Genuine Leather is water-resistant

- It has breathability to it 

-The timeless nature of the look of real leather will never go out of style

-Genuine Leather is much more durable as a material and will stand the test of time.

-Genuine leather ages beautifully

Differences Between PU Leather and Real Leather


Now, let's list the most important features of each, and compare. 


Strength and durability



Being this the biggest difference between them, despite both types of leather have a very similar texture, the leather made with PU material is usually thinner, which means that it has less durability as it can be torn more easily and unlike real leather, the PU leather tends to crack and bend over the course of a few years.


Resistance to sunlight

 Bjarke weekender


On the other hand, PU leather is more resistant to the sun's rays than animal leather, which is why it is often used for couches, armchairs and for car and motorcycle seats.




                        The Dagny Weekender | Large Leather Duffle Bag

While PU leather has a greater variety of thicknesses, colors, and textures than traditional leather, and often has brighter finishes. It is also easier and more convenient to maintain, with cleaning requiring only the occasional wet cloth, while animal leather tends to dry out and always needs care to prevent deterioration.



Although PU leather is more breathable than other synthetic leathers such as the PVC, it is much less breathable than genuine leather.




While PU leather will always maintain the same feel and appearance, genuine leather tends to become softer and way more attractive over time.




One of the reasons, perhaps the main one, why people are choosing PU leather over genuine leather is that the first one is significantly cheaper. This is the most effective way to find out if the product you are buying is made of one material or another. Even so, if you are doubting, you only have to look at the composition that should appear on its label. However, if you're looking for a lasting experience that you can wear practically all the time, more comfortable and with a more classic look, real leather is your best option by far.  We have partnered with many online companies to provide discount codes.


Which one do you think is better? If you're on the team of genuine leather, either because you are a big fan of its vintage look or you are in the search of things that last forever, you should put an eye to the backpacks below!