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What Is Bonded Leather?

what is bonded leather

Leather as a whole is a very vast material that comes in various hides. But as of technological and scientific advancements, it’s fairly easy now to replicate the quality and texture of leather.

The types of leather contain many, some of which are, sheepskin, lambskin, cowhide, calfskin goatskin, and faux. But the sound of bonded leather is rather different. So, what is bonded leather?

What Is Bonded Leather?

Bonded Leather

The first thing you need to know about bonded leather is that it is not real leather but rather a manufactured upholstery material that contains animal hide. You can learn more about this in the 5 grades of leather.

Bonded leather is made up of shredded leather fibers mixed with rubber or polyurethane acting as the base and layered structure of fibers on the top that gives out the leather-like texture. 

How Is Bonded Leather Made?

Bonded leather is made from the pulp of scraps of leather. Then it is bonded on the fiber or the paper backer and then coated with Polyurethane and then embossed with a leather-like texture for a genuine look. It is basically 10% to 20% leather. 

Is Bonded Leather Expensive?

The main point that is considered while differentiating bonded leather from real or genuine leather is the price. Since it consists of scraps of leather, bonded leather is comparatively inexpensive. Whereas real leather is considered to be an asset as it is an expensive, long-lasting, and high-end material. 

Difference Between Bonded Leather & Real Leather

Bonded leather vs real leather

Now that you know bonded leather is not real but it consists of scraps of real leather. There are ways in which you can differentiate Bonded from other leathers.


Many manufacturers who use bonded or faux leather do not use any labels to describe their products, whereas in real or even genuine leather the product description consists of the label and even a piece of the leather from which the product is manufactured. 


The surface of the bonded leather is uniform with no deformities as it is resurfaced and printed by a machine that resembles genuine leather as it is also uniform and textured, whereas when we talk about real leather it has imperfections that were present in the animal skin.


When we touch bonded leather it feels very smooth and uniform as it is printed by a machine whereas in real leather; being a natural material that has all the imperfections it is also smooth but it has a grainy texture to it when you run your finger across the material.

Bonded leather when pressed by the finger depresses under your finger while retaining its shape, whereas real leather acts like real skin which stretches and wrinkles when you press it. 


The organic natural skin scent can never be replicated which is emitted by real leather. Bonded leather is mainly odorless but if present it might be leather scraps mixed with many chemicals emitting a more plastic odor. 

Bonded Leather vs Full Grain Leather 

Full-grain leather is the finest quality leather which is from the top layer of the hide including all the grains of hair. It gets beautiful for a long time. The more they use the better the look. It has imperfections from the skin as it is not buffed and it is also not uniform and smooth to feel which gives it a fantastic look.

Bonded leather on the other hand will wear and tear in just a couple of months as the adhesive will lose over time. You can say the more you use the more it will wear off. 

Bonded Leather vs Top Grain Leather 

Top Grain leather is the second finest grade of leather. It is split from the top layer of the blemished hide and then sanded and refined to eliminate the imperfections that were present on the skin. Whereas Bonded leather is scraps of leather glued upon a layer with chemicals.

Top grain leather is durable, differentiating from bonded, but in comparison with bonded leather, the top grain is considered to be more durable as it wears off and cracks slowly. 

Bonded Leather vs Genuine Leather 

Genuine leather is the corrected grain leather. It is the most inexpensive good quality leather as it is made up of real leather but from the bottom layer. It is mostly used in making low-priced belts, shoes and bags. It is basically layers of high-quality leftover leather glued together, sanded, and then dyed to give a uniform and smooth appearance.

Bonded Leather is basically the scraps of low-quality leather glued upon a layer of the mixed base with chemical adhesives. It is also not as durable and long-lasting as genuine leather. 


What other names are used for bonded leather?

It is also known as LeatherSoft, Vinyl, Reconstituted, and Composite. 

Is Faux and Bonded Leather the same?

No! Faux leather is completely synthetic and based on polyurethane whereas bonded leather consists of real leather fibers glued upon a layer with adhesives. 

Is Bonded Leather cheap?

Yes! Bonded leather is cheap and inexpensive compared to other types of leather. 

Final Thoughts on Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is basically a by-product of real leather, made with real leather fiber scraps bonded upon a layer of shredded leather fibers mixed with polyurethane and rubber.

It is an inexpensive and nondurable material that can easily be worn out. It has a leather-like texture which is printed by machines which gives it a uniform and smooth appearance. It is used in manufacturing low-priced shoes, bags, belts, and furniture. 

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