Is Patent Leather Real Leather?

Patent leather is a type of leather that has a shiny, glossy, and waterproof surface.

It is often used for shoes, bags, belts, and other accessories that require a dressy and elegant look.

But is it real leather? How is it made and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

In this article, we will answer these questions and more.

We will also give you some tips on how to care for patent leather and how to choose the best quality patent leather products.

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What is Patent Leather?

It is a type of coated leather that has a high-gloss finish.

It is made by applying a special resin or lacquer to the surface of natural leather, usually cowhide, sheepskin, or goatskin.

The coating gives patent leather its distinctive shine and makes it resistant to water, stains, and scratches.

However, it also makes patent leather less breathable and more prone to cracking and creasing than regular leather.

It was invented in the 19th century by an American inventor named Seth Boyden.

He used linseed oil as the base for his coating process, which he did not patent.

Later, other inventors improved the process by using different materials such as plastic or vinyl.

Today, patent leather can be made from synthetic materials as well as natural leather

What are the Pros and Cons of Patent Leather?

It has some advantages and disadvantages compared to regular leather. Here are some of them:


  • It is very attractive and eye-catching. It can add a touch of glamour and sophistication to any outfit or accessory.
  • It is easy to clean and maintain. It does not need any special products or treatments to keep its shine. A simple wipe with a damp cloth or a sponge is enough to remove any dirt or dust.
  • It is durable and sturdy. It can withstand regular wear and tear better than most synthetic fabrics.
  • It comes in a variety of colors and finishes. It can be dyed into any hue or shade, from classic black or white to vibrant red or pink. It can also have different effects such as metallic, glittery, or holographic.


  • It is not breathable. It does not allow air to circulate between the fibers, which can cause sweating and discomfort, especially for shoes or clothing that have close contact with the skin.
  • It can crack and crease over time. The coating can become brittle and break due to bending or folding. This can ruin the appearance and quality of its products.
  • It can smell unpleasant. The synthetic materials used in its production can have a chemical odor that can be unappealing and overwhelming for some buyers.
  • It can look cheap or tacky if not done well. The quality of patent leather depends on the type of natural leather used as the base and the type of coating applied on top. Low-quality patent leather can have a plastic-like look that can detract from its elegance.

How to Care for Patent Leather?

It requires some basic care to keep its shine and prevent damage. Here are some tips on how to care for patent leather:

  • Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, heat, or humidity. These can cause fading, discoloration, or cracking of the coating.
  • Store its products in a cool, dry, and dark place. Use dust bags or tissue paper to wrap them and prevent them from rubbing against each other.
  • Clean its products regularly with a soft cloth or a sponge dampened with water or mild soap. Do not use alcohol, acetone, or any harsh chemicals that can damage the coating.
  • Polish its products occasionally with a silicone-based spray or wax. This can restore their shine and protect them from scratches.
  • Repair any cracks or tears in its products as soon as possible. Use a matching color of nail polish or glue to seal them.

How to Choose the Best Quality Patent Leather Products?

Its products can vary in quality depending on the materials and methods used in their production. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best quality patent leather products:

  • The type of natural leather used as the base. The best quality patent leather products are made from full-grain or top-grain natural leather, which are the highest grades of natural leather. These types of natural leather have a smooth and uniform surface that can hold the coating well and create a flawless finish.
  • The type of coating applied on top. The best quality patent leather products are coated with resin or lacquer that are durable, flexible, and glossy. These types of coating can resist water, stains, and scratches better than plastic or vinyl coatings.
  • The thickness of the coating applied on top. The best quality patent leather products have a thin layer of coating that does not cover the natural texture and grain of the natural leather underneath. This gives its products a more natural and luxurious look than those with a thick layer of coating that hides the natural leather completely.
  • The color and finish of the patent leather. The best quality patent  products have a rich and vibrant color that does not fade or change over time. They also have a smooth and even finish that does not have any bubbles, streaks, or cracks.

ALSO READ: How To Clean Patent Leather: Your Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Patent Leather.

ALSO READ: What Is Patent Leather?A Guide To The Shiny And Waterproof Material.

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