How long does leather last?

Leather is absurdly durable, assuming we’re talking about real full grain leather. Honestly, I can’t think of any material that outdoes it as far as sheer long term endurance. It is, in the most literal sense of the word, time tested and proven.

Old saddles

Saddles made in the 1890s and still going

Even items that endure daily use and wear and tear can last decades, and even over a hundred years. I don’t know about you, but a lot of my shirts and pants start getting holes in them in less than a year! Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to buy something and not have to replace it for decades? That is the benefit of leather products.

Age with Beauty

As mentioned elsewhere, full grain leather actually gets prettier with age. As the leather gets used and worn, it develops the patina shine that gives it a nice glow, and it also experiences slight changes in color, depending on the leather, that give it a very unique and vibrant appearance. If only humans could age and have it make us more vibrant and smooth! Now there are a couple exceptions to that. For example, the pictures shown above are of items that are over 100 years old. Obviously they look a bit like they are old, but once again, this only adds to the value of leather. Those particular items have moved past the time where they are in constant use, and don’t have near as much value for their original purpose, but they are now wonderful authentic antiques! And the older they get, the more valuable antiques become! Good thing there is no expiration date on leather! Those saddles could probably sit there for another 100 years no worse for wear!

What if it does break?

I know what I’m telling you sounds too good to be true. A lot of people would feel like they were in dire straits if their leather product did break, or have a flaw. It’s like a foreign car, who’s going to fix it!? Leather working is an art, and there are artists that specialize in it all over the world. On many occasions, the person that sold you the product will be willing to alter or repair it for you, and if they won’t, there is probably someone nearby who will. Since leather workers are artisans, they are often very personable and accommodating, at least in my experience. This is another reason that I am not a huge fan of name brand companies. Not only do they usually have an inferior product, but they usually have comparatively inferior service. In short, don’t worry about your leather breaking. If it is real quality leather, there will be someone that can help you with it.