Bonded vs Genuine leather

After so much persuasion, you decided to join in the leather jacket frenzy but you’re shocked because it’s way cheaper than what you expected. You check to see if the shop is having a discount sale, but they’re not. You may wonder why the leather is so cheap, contrary to what you’ve heard before. Perhaps after so much inquiry, you find out that it’s bonded leather. Well, it’s leather, you tell yourself and you buy it.

Don’t be deceived. Not all leather is the same. So then is bonded leather, genuine leather? If by genuine you mean ‘authentic’ or ‘real,’ then yes, it is genuine leather. But you must note that in terms of classification or grading, bonded leather isn’t genuine leather. Confused?

Don’t be.

There are four types of leather: Full-grain leather, Top-grain leather, genuine leather (corrected-grain leather), and bonded leather (reconstituted or blended leather).

So bonded leather and genuine leather are two different types of leather. What then is the difference between a bonded leather and genuine leather?

Bonded leather

Bonded leather is also known as reconstituted or blended leather. It is the lowest grade of leather, comprising about 20% of real leather. The looks of a bonded leather can be so convincing that an average person might not be able to differentiate it from a real cut leather.

How is bonded leather made? Leather manufacturers work with natural animal hide. Meaning, in the cause of leather production, there would be so many waste products and cut-offs. Rather than throwing away these scraps of leather, they’re been sent to a specialized factory. These scraps of leather are then ground together and joined to a sheet of fiber backing. The sheet made with scrapped leather is then glued with polyurethane. To make it look realistic, like real leather, it is stamped to have that similarity of a grain pattern.

Does bonded leather last?

Due to the shredding process of bonded leather, it is less durable than genuine leather. A bonded leather is practically a sheet of tiny scraps of leather bonded together and so isn’t a tough surface. So with time, the bond would fail. This would result in the leather peeling. Continuous use could cause stretching of the leather, making the tiny pieces of leather bonded together to separate, which results in the hideous peeling of the leather.

But with proper maintenance and the right care, a good bonded leather should be able to last about two to three years.

How to care for a bonded leather?

To ensure that you get the most out of your leather, regular cleaning is needed. Here are some tips to make sure that your bonded leather lasts.
  • Always clean your bonded leather regularly. Accumulated dirt and grit could act as an abrasive and this would lessen the life of your bonded leather. So make sure to clean with a damp cloth to remove oil and dirt on the leather.
  • When cleaning your bonded leather, avoid using harsh chemicals, since these could strip the coating of the material.
  • Always use a leather conditioner on your bonded leather, as it would help protect and also preserve the surface of the leather.
  • Avoid drying your bonded leather in direct sunlight as this would cause the leather to dry, thereby prompting peeling. Heat should also be avoided, as this would cause the material to fade.

Genuine leather

Genuine leather doesn’t necessarily mean great leather unless you’re going by the literal meaning. As mentioned earlier, genuine leather also known as corrected-grain leather is a type of leather. Read about Vintage leather.

How is genuine leather made? Compared to Full-grain and Top-grain leathers, genuine leather is inferior but it’s better than bonded leather. Genuine leather is made from one solid piece of an animal hide. Genuine leather is gotten after the top-grain of leather is collected. Genuine leather is the layer gotten after top-grain leather has been taken off. At times, genuine leather could be mixed with scraps of leather, artificial materials, and some adhesive agents.

How long does genuine leather last?

Although it’s an attractive product, it’s not as durable as other better leather products. But compared to bonded leather, it’s a way better substitute. With proper care though, genuine leather could last for a good number of years. Check our handmade leather bags.

How to care for genuine leather?

To make sure that your genuine leather lasts for a long period, you need to make sure to care for it properly. Here are tips to make sure that your genuine leather lasts longer.
  • Clean your genuine leather regularly. Remember to use a damp cloth and not a wet one.
  • To make sure your genuine leather looks good, a leather polish is recommended. This would bring out the leather’s luster.
  • Use a leather conditioner, as this helps protects and preserve the life span of your genuine leather.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight, to prevent cracking the leather.

Bonded leather vs Genuine leather

Compared to genuine leather, bonded leather is way cheaper. So if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly leather product that would still look nonetheless, bonded leather is a good option.

Genuine leather is more durable than bonded leather. Although the price might be inviting and it could pass out as real leather, bonded leather isn’t strong enough to last for a long time. But genuine leather, on the other hand, would last longer, acquiring that unique patina overtime.

Unlike genuine leather which is very easy to repair in cases of tear, bonded leathers are awfully difficult to repair. You need to understand that once a bonded leather starts peeling, it would continue peeling, despite the repairs you do.
Compared to bonded leather, genuine leather can adjust to your body temperature as well as the room temperature also, allowing it to breathe.


To sum everything up, if you want a quality product that will feel and look great for a long time, genuine leather is the best choice. However, for a more budget-friendly product, that is both stylish and easily replaceable, then bonded leather is the way to go.