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What is Genuine Leather?

Just about everyone has seen it. There, on a billboard, commercial, or tag is a big “Genuine Leather” or “100% Leather” or I’ve even seen a “Yeah…It’s Leather”. Advertisers know that leather is valuable and sought after, so they are willing to stretch that definition as far as they can to justify jacking up their prices even higher. It is a lot like how Taco Bell and McDonalds advertise saying their products are “100% Beef”.

Beef is a loose term

I wouldn’t be lying! It’s beef!

Technically, they are telling the truth, but by those standards, if I ground up a bunch of cow tongue and intestine and put it in a taco, that would be 100% beef too! While we’re at it, I could feed you my leather wallet and it would be 100% beef!

Advertisers do this all the time. It is the reason that you can see something that claims to be “All Natural” and then one that is “Organic” and they are two totally different things. Advertisers have phrases that they are and aren’t allowed to use.

The first thing you need to understand is that Genuine Leather is really an advertising phrase that usually identifies one of the lowest categories of leather.

So It’s Bad?

I should point out that this term is not necessarily always used to describe inferior leather. I have seen ads saying “Genuine Leather” that are from wonderful leather companies that I have written positive reviews on. The term Genuine Leather can be used to identify anything that is actually made out of 100% leather, such as bicast leather, which is helpful in differentiating it from its synthetic counterparts.

What I refer to as the real deal, or full grain leather, can accurately be described as Genuine Leather, because it is leather. There are many very skilled leather workers that advertise their quality leather as Genuine Leather, not knowing that there is a lot of potential misunderstanding with that term because of the way advertisers have twisted it.

Can you see how confusing this gets? How on earth are you supposed to actually know what your product is made out of? For the sake of clarity, in this article, and throughout my site, when I refer to Genuine Leather, I am referring to the low quality leather described below.

Don’t get me wrong. Genuine Leather is leather. It is leather in the same way that Ramen Noodles are fine pasta. It has all the technical requirements to qualify, but it has been processed and altered so much that it has lost all integrity.

So…What Do They Do To It?

What is Genuine Leather?

These big “Genuine Leather” labels can act as a warning

Genuine leather is most commonly actually bicast leather. You can read more about it here, but here’s the short version.

They take a cowhide, which is very thick and tough, and split it, usually many times. Then they take the thin sheet of material they have split off and sand it smooth, paint it, and print a pattern on it to make it look like real leather. What it ends up being is a frail imitation, like putting a latex mask over a scarecrow and calling it an NFL Quarterback. They have made it look that part, but it can’t perform.

Moral of the Story: Don’t trust advertisers claiming that their products are “leather”.  With a little research and help, you can get the product you want with better quality and a better price.

Is Genuine Leather Ever a Good Idea?

If you are on a very tight budget, and you are buying something that won’t see a whole lot of wear and tear, and you can get it really, really cheap, then maybe you can justify it. And that is a big maybe.

Most of the time that you are going to be purchasing just about anything, you can find a grade of leather higher than genuine leather for the same if not a lower price. If you are shopping for something and can’t find a good price on something that is actually leather, then let me know. I will find one for you.

Let’s Get A Visual

I thought it might be good to see it instead of just reading it. If you really want to see what is inside the Genuine Leather you buy, check out the video below.

For more details on Dave and the things he teaches, click here.

As for the close ups I promised:

What Is Genuine Leather? Bad Belt What Is Genuine Leather? Bad Belt 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you can see what I was talking about, and what Dave was talking about when we refer to cheaply tanned leather. The stuff that is in there isn’t even good, and there isn’t much of it to begin with.

 

bicast leather, which is helpful in differentiating it from its synthetic counterparts. What I refer to as the real deal, or full grain leather, can accurately be described as Genuine Leather, because it is leather. There are many very skilled leather workers that advertise their quality leather as Genuine Leather, not knowing that there is a lot of potential misunderstanding with that term because of the way advertisers have twisted it. Can you see how confusing this gets? How on earth are you supposed to actually know what your product is made out of?”,

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