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Top Grain Leather vs Full Grain Leather; The Comparison


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

What Is Full-grain Leather?

What Is Full-grain Leather?

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

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 considered the highest quality leather, which is also the reason that most 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 leather 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 in a minimal amount of coating, unlike sanded leather, which is covered in a thick layer of coating.

What is Top Grain Leather 

The top grain leather is made when the outermost part of the hide is sanded, full-grain leather is the outermost layer of the hide,  which shows all the natural grains of the skin. 

Physical Properties

The top-grain leather is sanded for a smooth uniform surface. It is the second highest-quality leather but the sanding is done in order to remove marks or blemishes. It is also known as corrected leather. 

The top grain leather is smooth and soft to touch and also shows a natural character. 

Looks and Appearance 

The top-grain leather is also durable in nature and also develops a patina over time, but due to its sanding and correction process, the leather still contains its natural flourishes, the processing also involves chemicals and contains a thick coating on it. 

Is Full-grain Leather Real Leather?

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to the terminology 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 terms. However, 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. As long as the seller is not lying about it, goods like the full-grain leather jackets are made of real leather.

Is Top-Grain Leather Real?

Yes! The top grain is real leather. It is just sanded to remove the marks and blemishes to make it look appealing. The leather is softer than the full-grain, the only difference is the outermost textured surface. 

IIs Full-grain Leather Expensive Than Top Grain

IIs Full-grain Leather Expensive Than Top Grain

When compared to the other types of leather available on the market, full-grain might appear to be expensive with prices above the normal range. If we look at it from an objective perspective, the cost associated with full-grain leather is completely justified and worth your 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.

Whereas the Top Grain Leather, when compared to Full Grain, is inexpensive as it is sanded down and neglects the natural grain. Sometimes the marks on full grain are left as it is, to beautify the overall look. But when the marks are messy they need to be sanded down, hence converting the grade of leather from full-grain to top-grain. 

How Long Will Full-grain Leather Last?

How Long Will Full-grain Leather Last?

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 storing it correctly, which might make it last for decades on end.

The same goes with the Top-grain Leather, it will last for decades due to its durable nature, but not as much as full-grain, but when compared to the other leather grades and qualities it outwits them quite easily.

Top Grain vs Other Types of Leather 

Leather has many varieties, all different from the other. According to the durability, texture, feel, and softness. The major comparisons are listed further;

Top Grain Leather vs Genuine Leather 

The top grain leather is real leather whereas in genuine leather the hide is chemically processed, it is also real leather but of very low quality. The definition of genuine leather for consumers is very different as they believe that it is the highest quality leather but it is the opposite.

Full Grain Vs Genuine Leather 

Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather, when compared to genuine leather, it is the low-quality leather used in making many products. The full-grain leather is the outermost layer of the hide, which is not sanded or weakened in any way, whereas the genuine leather is sanded and chemically processed to add extra texture to the surface. 

How to Protect Your Leather Goods?

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. However; 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 beloved leather product like leather boots and leather jackets by doing proper leather jacket care and 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 best 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 people who are unfamiliar with the leather and leather-related culture. 

Full-grain 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 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.

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

The top grain leather jacket is comparatively thinner in nature than the full-grain. As the outermost layer of the hide is shaved off the leather becomes smooth, soft, and handy to work on. Possessing a durable and sturdy nature the top grain is smooth to touch. 

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 leather, 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 jacket 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.

Where Can You Buy Full Grain Leather Jackets?

Where Can You Buy Full Grain Leather Jackets?

Full-grain in its unstitched 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 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 create the jacket of your dreams with the help of our talented designers.


Does top grain leather crack?

Yes! With time every leather cracks and peel of not taken care of. But top-grain being the second-highest quality leather possess a durable nature. The leather tends to age nicely just like a full-grain leather would. 

Which is better? Top grain or Genuine Leather?

Top grain leather is the best option than genuine leather. Genuine leather is the lowest quality of real leather whereas top-grain is the second-best quality. 

Should I care for top grain leather?

Yes! You definitely need to care for the top grain leather to need it to last for longer. Top grain is durable but it requires attention and care. 

What is cross-grain leather?

Cross-grain leather is embossed leather that helps to hide the imperfections of the hide. The leather contains an embossed pebble that helps disguise the imperfections in the natural hide. The cross-grain leather is seen in many high-end bags.


Your first 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 regularly. The full-grain as well as the top grain, both have their and uniqueness. Full-grain with its durable and natural nature and top grain with its smooth and softness. Both can be of your own choice.