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What Is Patent Leather?

what is patent leather

With various leather types available, patent leather has unique characteristics that differentiate it from other types of leather. Leather is impressive and has a vast range of textures to offer. On one hand, you have nubuck leather which is napped and fuzzy, and on the other hand, there is cowhide that is supremely dense, rugged, and durable. Patent leather is individualistic and often spot it on a chic pedestrian. There’s so much to know and understand about this high-end leather, and this guide will serve to be the most authentic source of patent leather, 

What Is Patent Leather?

What Is Patent Leather?

What is patent leather and what is it made of? There are so many questions that pop into your mind when you first think about patent leather and all of its characteristics. Instantly recognized by its glossy appearance and shiny finish, patent leather is coated and grain-free. Patent leather is extremely soft and has a smooth texture. It is waterproof and requires almost no maintenance over time. The smooth-glass finish brings affluent and wealthy energy to the leather. Hence, it is often synonymous with luxurious lifestyle and grandeur. Patent leather is used to produce a variety of products like custom leather jackets, leather boots, wallets, etc. 

What Is Patent Leather Made Of?

Most leather types go through similar tanning processes after arriving at the tanneries. As soon as animal hides arrive at a tanning bed, they are soaked, limed, and batted and ultimately undergo the tanning process to get transformed into leather itself. This is when various chemicals are applied to give every type of leather its unique identity – patent leather is coated with synthetic resin through which it attains its glossy and shiny finish. 

Earlier these processes used to be manual because of which they occupied hours of employment and energy.  Today, thanks to the invention of modern technology, all of these processes have become more efficient and mechanized. 

Before natural oil was utilized for patent leather but now the texture is achieved with acrylic and polyurethane – polyurethane lends patent leather its hardness and glossy whereas flexibility is attained via acrylics. One can also make use of sprays and add layers of coating to turn it into patent leather but it is mostly inefficient and also doesn’t result with the right texture and appearance. 

Is Patent Leather Real Leather?

Is Patent Leather Real Leather?

Yes, patent leather is real leather – what makes it unique and separates its appearance from other types of leather is the process of tanning it goes through. Thus, if patent leather is made from full-grain leather, it is known as real leather. After that, it goes through a process of tanning that allows it to achieve its shiny appearance and glossy finish. 

How To Clean And Maintain Patent Leather?

You’ll be surprised to know that leather that looks super luxurious and affluent can be so easy to clean. In fact, you can find everyday, homely items to clean patent leather. From petroleum jelly to dish soap and kitchen oil, there are so many ways you can clean and maintain patent leather. 

The most effective way to get rid of dirt and clean patent leather is this: All you have to do is take a soft brush and gently clean the surface, aiming at the first that’s visible to the naked eye. Now take a mild liquid soap and mix it with lukewarm water. Using a microfibre cloth to wet the surface, dip the cloth in the mix and put it on the areas you need to clean. Leave it to air dry for a minimum of 24 hours before you use patent leather again. 

Advantages Of Patent Leather

There are several advantages of patent leather – previously we even highlighted its most important characteristics as well; the use of acrylic that makes it supremely flexible. The special coating protects the surface from developing cracks. The fact that patent leather is so thin and pliable makes it a worthy investment for leather goods manufacturers. 

This leather can be used to make a variety of products like leather jackets, shoes, bags, belts, and other commonly used accessories. Patent leather is quite robust – not only is it waterproof but it is resistant to dirt to a high degree. All you need is mild soap to get rid of the first and shield it from peeling and getting poor in condition over time. Hence, you could say that patent leather is low maintenance and easy to clean. 

Disadvantages Of  Patent Leather

Now, a point that we used earlier as an advantage is also like a double-edged sword; the coating of acrylic that lends patent leather its flexibility is also quite poor in quality which degrades the leather with time. Hence, you’ll find that patent leather darkens over some time and this discoloration is quite obvious to the naked eye. The discoloration is also a side-effect f being exposed to sunlight and UV rays. 

Another downside of the glossy finish is that with time it becomes too sticky and forms an odor – due to the use of plastic-based coating.  And the most crucial disadvantage is that it never forms a leather patina because the surface layer isn’t permeable at all. 

Patent Leather Vs Distressed Leather

Patent Leather Vs Distressed Leather

In the world of leather, patent, and distressed leather are poles apart. While patent leather is glossy and shiny, distressed is rugged and aged. From their appearance to usage and consumers even, everything is quite distinct. 

Uses Of Patent Leather

Uses Of Patent Leather

The shiny appearance of patent leather helps in making it the number-one choice for leather accessories. Therefore, you’ll find patent leather is used to make belts, wallets, patent leather boots, and watch straps. Documented way back into the 1900s, patent leather has been used as a primary choice for footwear; mostly cocktail and formal shoes for men. Fashion being cyclical, patent leather became a popular choice for knee-high boots for women that were sensationalized in the 60s. 

FAQs

Is Patent Leather Real Leather?

Is patent leather real leather? Well, yes, patent leather is real leather. 

Which Is Better Patent Leather Or Leather?

Patent leather vs leather is a long going debate with varying outcomes and opinions. Speaking strictly from the pricing point of view, value over time, and usage, leather is better than patent leather. Leather is expensive but durable and long-lasting in its actual state and has an extensive list of usage and purpose – not only restricted to the apparel and fashion line. 

How Long Can You Wear Patent Leather?

You can wear patent leather for a long run – however, after a few years, the peeling and cracks might become more visible and hard to get rid of. Furthermore, it develops an odor instead of the beautiful patine that allows it a vintage texture and appearance.

How Do You Take Care Of Patent Leather?

Patent leather is extremely low maintenance and can be cleaned using mild soap dipped in lukewarm water. You can also use baby wipes and kitchen oils to remove the dirt from its surface.  

Is Patent Leather Elegant?

Patent leather is extremely elegant and has a posh appearance that no other type of leather can compete with. The luxurious and glossy finish makes it seem wealthy and affluent. This is one of the main reasons why this leather is used for making bags and shoes. 

Conclusion

Patent leather is high-quality leather with a glossy finish and shiny appearance. It is easily distinguishable and categorized in luxurious products. Due to its thin and pliable texture, it is mostly used to produce patent leather shoes, bags, and belts. Having a handful of disadvantages, patent leather is a quality material that requires little maintenance and is extremely feasible as well. 

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