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What Is Top Grain Leather?

what is top grain leather

Whether you are buying a sofa or different types of leather jackets, the material used for manufacturing the product is extremely important. In the world of leather, you will notice various types of leather being spoken highly off – top grain leather being one of the best ones in every way possible. There are so many aspects of leather that one must consider before purchasing any product made of leather. Leather being an expensive material, it also becomes a responsible decision. Thus, in this guide, we’re going to discuss top-grain leather and what makes it so good – in terms of quality, appearance, maintenance, and all things in between. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

How Is Top Grain Leather Made?

How Is Top Grain Leather Made?

Made from the outermost layer of animal hide, top-grain leather is used to manufacture high-quality products. The layer is sanded off to remove all of the irregularities; the treatment is given to make it more durable and good-looking in terms of appearance. The sanding and buffing make the leather thinner so that it can be used to make different types of leather products; boots, bags, belts, etc. This is the second highest grade of leather, making it less expensive compared to full-grain leather. Top-grain leather also doesn’t have blemishes, darkened skin, and other types of imperfections because of the minor but effective chemical treatment it goes through during its tanning procedure. 

Top Grain Vs Full Grain Leather

Top Grain Vs Full Grain Leather

Top-grain leather is the second-highest quality grade after full-grain leather. Full-grain leather has visible imperfections of the animal hide reflecting upon its past whereas top-grain leather comes without irregularities – there are no wrinkles, scars, blemishes, and other visible imperfections. In terms of pricing, full grain leather is more expensive as it’s leather in its more raw and authentic version whereas top grain leather has been chemically treated (minimal) to make it more appealing to the naked eye. Because of the minor treatment, top-grain leather cannot develop the beautiful patina that full-grain leather can; making it super desirable. If you go for top grain cowhide leather, you’ll make up for the lost durability. 

Top Grain Leather Vs Genuine Leather

Top Grain Leather Vs Genuine Leather

Genuine leather is also understood as corrected leather – this type of grade has gone through chemical peeling and other processes to make it more appealing and pleasant to the eye. Genuine leather has been treated – sanded, buffed, dyed, sprayed, and even embossed – to make its surface completely flawless. In this process, the grade and quality face the consequences, and they no longer maintain the true essence of real leather; high durability and resistance to abrasions. Top-grain leather, on the other hand, has only been slightly buffed and sanded to remove obvious and largely visible imperfections. This way, the quality doesn’t take the beating nor does the durability and appearance take an offence. Like top grain vs genuine leather, there are necessary debates surrounding bonded leather vs top grain as well – with top grain leather beating the two in both quality and usage. 

Quality Of Top Grain Leather

The quality of top-grain leather is deemed as near-best; standing right behind full-grain leather which continues to maintain its first position. This one has been slightly buffed and sanded because of which it fails to retain its natural fibers; reducing the durability of leather. However, the quality is supported otherwise – the discoloration and blemishes that the animal hide received during its lifetime are removed and the surface texture and color are made consistent via buffing and sanding processes. 

Appearance Of Top Grain Leather

Top-grain leather has a consistent and uniform appearance. There are no irregularities and the leather appears to be extremely desirable to the naked eye. It can be stomped or embossed with a snake, alligator, and other patterns for a more glamorized look. 

Maintenance Of Top Grain Leather

Like any other thing in life, top-grain leather products can further their life through regular maintenance and care. You can keep a few notes in mind whenever you purchase a top grain leather product – wipe it off a wet or damped cloth whenever you accidentally spill something on it, store it in a cool and dry place, place heat upon it to stop cracks and wrinkles from emerging, and condition it twice a year,  

You can find out more about leather jacket repair here – and about the maintenance of specific leather products too. 

Pros And Cons Of Top Grain Leather

Pros And Cons Of Top Grain Leather

Pros Of Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather lasts longer than genuine, bonded, and other types of leather which are formed by the lowest grades of leather. This leather requires less maintenance and can firmly resist abrasions and water. It is consistent and pleasant in terms of appearance. The texture and quality make it one of the finest produced products. You can also emboss and print patterns on it to add likeability and preference. And lastly, it is less expensive than full-grain leather. Leather embossing is vastly seen in custom leather jackets and other leather accessories. 

Cons Of Top Grain Leather

Due to sanding and buffing, top-grain leather loses its breathability and durability. The processing is necessary to make the surface flawless and consistent but the quality in time takes a beating. Moreover, this treatment makes the surface layer less permeable due to which patina also doesn’t develop. 

What Is Made From Top Grain Leather?

What Is Made From Top Grain Leather?

Top-grain leather is the second-highest grade of leather in terms of quality. It is used to produce different leather products – like leather bags, footwear, jackets, belts, wrist bands, wallets, sofas, car seat covers, and much more. Top-grain Italian leather is unmatched and regarded highly in the world of leather. 


Is Top Grain Leather Good Quality Leather?

Yes, top-grain leather is good quality leather.

Does Top Grain Leather Crack?

With time and exposure, top-grain leather can crack. However, if it is regularly conditioned and given its due care, the cracks don’t appear for the longest of time and if they do they can be dealt with minimum care and attention. 

Is 100% Top Grain Leather Good?

Yes, 100% top grain leather is good quality – although full-grain leather is the best in terms of quality a sit has been untouched retaining the natural fiber and oil needed to give the animal hide its durability and life story. 

Is Top Grain Leather The Same As 100% Leather?

Top grain leather is 100% real leather; however, it has been buffed and sanded to remove irregularities and to make it more consistent and one-toned. 


Top-grain leather is consistent and one-toned in its appearance – a high-quality material that stands right behind full-grain leather. Due to sanding and buffing, it loses some of its durability but makes up for it with its flawless look. Top-grain leather is used to produce different products like top-grain leather jackets, footwear, bags, sofas, etc. It is better than other types of low-quality leather like genuine and bonded leather and less expensive than full-grain leather. 

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