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What is Protein Leather?

What is protein leather

Ever wondered about the headphones you use? What leather are they made of, either rexine or real leather? Is it safe, environmental friendly? We have it sorted out for you. As for the overview, the earpads usually consist primarily of protein leather. Let us tell you what it really is.



This type of leather lies in the vegan or artificial category. This works as a substitute for real leather because of its durable nature. 

Protein leather is composed of protein powder along with resin to form pliable sheets. These sheets are a look-alike to leather in appearance as well as durability. Also known as Pleather, protein leather is relatively a new term used by manufacturers to define a polyurethane product manufactured by bonding plastic to a fabric base. And lastly embossed on the top to make it look and feel like leather. 



Protein leather also comes in various qualities, low, medium, and high. The highest quality is used in car seats, headphones, and other pieces of equipment that offer harsh wear and tear. The highest quality offers the most durability as much as full-grain leather does. This level of durability is due to the fabric backing which is subtle enough to withstand wear and tear. 



Due to the embossed nature of the leather, protein leather looks similar to any full grain leather when it comes to appearance. But when you touch and feel the leather, that’s when you will be able to distinguish between the artificial and real leather.

The smell is also another factor that can be used to distinguish between real and fake; real leather has a distinct smell whereas protein leather a.k.a Pleather has relatively no smell or smell of the adhesive used for bonding the plastic. 



Pleather due to its durability is used in various applications such as car seats, headphones, and apparel. The leather is not breathable due to its artificial non-porous nature. Because of this, it is less likely to be used as outerwear apparel like custom leather jackets

Pros Of Protein Leather 

Synthetic leather has its pros and cons. One of many advantages of protein leather is it lies in the vegan category which means that no animals were used while producing the specific leather, alongside the cost of the leather that is way less than that of real or even genuine leather. Due to the fabric backing and plastic topcoat bonding, the leather provides extreme durability which is most essential for extreme wear and tears. 

Cons Of Protein Leather 

The leather has its disadvantages when compared to real leather, on top of the breathability of the leather. Due to its nonporous nature, the leather has no way to pass air through the top which makes it very difficult for the wearer when used as apparel. The leather also does not develop a patina over time, instead of getting soft, the leather tends to become harder and uncomfortable over time. Along with this, the process to make this type of leather involves many more harmful ingredients than real leather and that is the burning of large quantities of plastic. This is harmful to humans as well as the planet.

Protein leather care guide

In order to maintain protein leather, you need to be careful while cleaning, as synthetic materials can be harmed by real leather maintaining products. You need to use the dedicated cleaners available in the market for Pleather. Or it is always a better idea to go with DIY products, or products used to clean Faux leather. 

End Note

From the above information on protein leather, it is concluded that this leather is better than faux but not even close in comparison to real leather. It is durable and has the tendency to withstand extreme wear and tear due to which it is the best fit in making car seats. 

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Utkarsh Gupta
Utkarsh Gupta
March 22, 2022 12:26 am

What protein is used in protein leather? PETA says egg-shell protein. If yes, then it can’t be considered vegan.