full-grain leather

What Is Full Grain Leather & Why It Is the Best Leather?

Leather jackets, along with leather boots and other leather accessories, are a staple of men’s fashion. This creates a high demand for quality leather. But if you go online looking for top quality leather products, you will be bombarded with a lot of unfamiliar terms like full-grain leather. What is this full-grain leather, and is it any good? Let’s take a look.

What Is Full-grain Leather?

When someone uses the term “full-grain leather,” they are referring to the most sturdy and tough section of an animal hide, which is found just under the hairs.

Physical Properties

For a piece of leather to be considered full-grain, it should not be smoothed or sanded for grain correction because doing so will make it grain corrected leather.

As most of the initial surface is completely preserved and left intact before coating, it is considered a very natural grain leather. This also results in an overall stronger and more durable material. Full-grain leather is usually considered the highest quality leather, which is also the reason that most of the high-end leather jackets and leather products like boots, wallets, belts, and bags are made from full-grain leather.

Looks and Appearance

Full-grain leather is tough and lasts for a long time. This long age means that it develops a distinct patina over its lifetime, which is a very desirable feature. It is also known for showing its grain through the smooth aniline finish, which covers it into a minimal amount of coating, unlike sanded leather, which is covered in a thick layer of coating.

Is Full-grain Leather Real Leather?

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the terminologies used to describe a different kind of leather, and it can be difficult for someone not very well versed in the leather industry to understand the meaning of these confusing terminologies. But you can rest assured that full-grain leather is 100% real leather, in fact, the highest grade of leather most of the time. Due to its cost and relative rarity, most people are not familiar with the look and feel of full-grain leather, and it can appear synthetic to them. But as long as the seller is not lying about it, goods like the full-grain leather jackets are made of completely real leather.

Is Full-grain Leather Expensive?

When compared to the other types of leather available on the market, full-grain leather might appear to be expensive and price above anything else. But if we look at it from an objective perspective, the cost associated with full-grain leather is completely justified and worth your hard-earned money.

Full-grain is the highest quality leather money can buy, and its high-end nature is due to its tedious and difficult production process that requires a lot of expertise, expensive equipment, and extreme quality control to get to finished leather as good as possible.

The cost is also negated when considering the lifetime of full grain leather products. It is known to be highly durable and tends to last very long. If we divide the price over the number of years it is going to last, it suddenly becomes very economical, sometimes even a better value per dollar than the cheap alternatives.

How Long Will Full-grain Leather Last?

As mentioned earlier, full-grain leather is known for its resilience and durability. It is estimated to last five times longer than ordinary fabric. You can also extend its lifespan by maintaining it properly and taking care of it, which might make it last for decades on end.

What Is the Difference Between Full Grain and Top Grain Leather?

The toughest and most durable part of a piece of leather is its outermost layer, right below the hair. This outer layer of the hide is known as the grain. Thus, the variety of leather that keeps this layer intact is known as the full-grain leather.

Top-grain, on the other hand, is obtained by sanding down the uppermost layer and getting to the soft, suede-like second layer. It is the second-best kind of leather to make anything out of and use on an everyday basis. 

Quality and Cost

Full-grain leather is the highest grade of leather, thus costing the most among all types of leather. But the long-lasting nature and overall amazing quality make the higher cost well worth it.

Top-grain, on the other hand, is considerably less expensive. But don’t think that it is of poor quality or weak in any shape or form. Top-grain leather jackets are still extremely sturdy and reliable over years of use.

Make Sure You Buy the Correct Type of Leather

Whenever you go out looking for, let’s say, a sheepskin leather jacket in full-grain quality, make sure to specifically check for “full-grain” certification. Top-grain is much easier to work with and is a lot more prevalent in the premium leather market, and the marketing terms and branding can, in some cases, hide the fact that the jacket you are looking to buy is not full-grain. So, before you spend any money, make sure to confirm the type of leather used in the production of the jacket you want to get.

How to Protect Your Leather Goods?

Leather is an extremely strong and flexible material that is used in a variety of garments and other accessories due to its long-lasting nature. But leather is not a plastic that can stay unaltered for hundreds of years. It does need some protection and maintenance to stay in tip-top condition.

You can extend the lifespan of a leather product by applying commercially available protectants and sealants. This maintains the level of natural oils and moisture in the skin. Another great way of shielding your full-grain leather from dust and elements is by applying polish on the outside layer. This is, however, not mandatory and comes down to personal preference.

How to Figure Out if Your Leather Jacket Is Full Grain?

The world of premium leather jackets is filled with all sorts of different kinds of leather. The crossover between the properties of two different types of leather can be a bit confusing and will make determining the type of leather a bit cumbersome, especially for folk that is not as well versed in leather and leather related culture. 

A clear example of this confusion lies in the difficulty to distinguish aniline and semi-aniline leather finishes.  While the production process of both of these leather types is the same, the finishing is different. With both leather types, the surface is coated with a transparent material that allows more comfort in hot and cold climates. However, the semi-aniline leather is covered with an additional layer of protection to resist wear and tear. 

Full-grain leather clearly shows the natural leather surface in its original form, with all of its unique patterns and imperfections. Let’s say the jacket is made from goatskin leather, and the goat from which the leather came from might have run into a wired fence and cut itself in its lifetime. You will see that scar present on a full-grain leather jacket.

Where Can You Buy Full Grain Leather Jackets?

Full-grain leather in its raw form can be acquired from a vast number of leather merchants all over the world through the internet. The Jacket Maker gets the highest quality of leather and turns it into hand-crafted jackets of all styles, designs, and sizes. We also offer a custom jacket making service that allows you to, with the help of our talented designers, create the jacket of your dreams.


A leather jacket is not something that you buy for a season and then toss into the trash. A high-quality leather jacket will last you years, if not decades. Thus, before you make any purchasing decision, make sure you know about the types of leather and the pros and cons beforehand. Especially in the case of full grain leather, weigh your budget and the value that you are looking to get out of a purchase, and then get what you truly like and would want to wear on a regular basis.

Ali Silat is a tech-savvy digital marketer. He looks after SEO & Content Marketing at The Jacket Maker. He loves to write about men's fashions, technology, and digital marketing.