What is Hair On Leather?
Unlike a lot of the deceptive advertising leather terms, hair on leather is exactly what it sounds like. It is leather that has hair on it. Specifically it is leather that still has the original hair on it, making it look like it came straight off the cow!
But this isn’t just reserved for cow leather. Many exotic leathers, like buffalo or moose have hair on variants, that are not only stylish, but are very warm and soft.
This is especially true if they are made into coats, hats, gloves, etc. Basically if the animal has skin that is covered with a coat of hair, you can make hair on leather out of it. And I have yet to find a time when it doesn’t look awesome.
How Do They Do It?
It really isn’t that complicated. The normal leather tanning processes all involve steps where the hair is removed from the hide.
When you are making hair on leather, you skip those steps! It’s that easy. Frequently the hair will be clipped shorter than it was originally, to help it stay on and to stop it from being a hassle, though that isn’t always the case. The leather can still be dyed different colors, though many times it’s left to show off the cow’s natural mottling and markings. It all depends on what you are wanting to use it for really. Just as with all leather, versatility is one of its greatest assets.
What’s The Difference?
Alright, all the fun details and frills aside, when it comes down to it, you want to know what this means for your product. What’s the functional difference between regular leather and hair on leather? Well, the most obvious one would be the appearance. Clearly they look very different, and it gives your belt, wallet, chaps, purse, whatever a whole different look. It’s also a major textural difference. If you’ve never had a hair on wallet, it might freak you at first when you reach in your pocket and you feel something hairy in there. It can be a little bit of a panic moment while you try to figure out if someone shoved a ferret in your pants while you weren’t looking, or if you’re just imagining things. However, you’ll eventually realize that it’s just your super cool new wallet, and you’ll get used to it. It’s sort of like when you first start wearing a ring or a watch. At first it is weird, and then it becomes a part of who you are and you feel naked without it.
There is one downside to hair on leather. While it is just as durable as regular full-grain leather, the hair itself isn’t. Over time, the hair will eventually wear off. Luckily, you’ll still be left with a totally functional product that now has a cool antique look.
Long Story Short
Hair on leather is a really good option for some products, and if you like the look and feel, definitely go for it. If that’s not your thing, you aren’t missing out on anything crazy. Different strokes for different folks. There’s no functional difference when it comes to function, durability, ethicality, or really anything else that matters.