What is Faux Leather?

How Faux Leather is made

I wish I were kidding, but they are literally pouring a giant bag labelled vinyl in the faux leather vat.

Faux leather is made of a petroleum base mixed with vinyl, and some UV and fire protection solutions that is coated on paper and baked with a couple different coats, and then stuck on a fabric backing. I want you to look through that short explanation and see if you see the words hide, leather, cow, tanning, or anything even vaguely leather related. If you didn’t take the time to look, the answer is no, none of those words were mentioned. That should give you a really big hint as to the answer to the next question. But if that hint isn’t big enough, take a look at these next photos of faux leather production, and see if you can see anything that isn’t dull colors and industrial vats.

How faux leather is made

Dull colors? Check

How Faux Leather is made

Industrial vats? Check

Is Faux Leather Really Leather?

Faux according to the dictionary means “imitation” from the French word meaning “false”. So no, it isn’t leather. At all.  Unlike genuine leather, which is at least leather, or even bonded leather(which comes in on average at 17{252f7dd7ba9e0baa00d1435eb90ef3fcba6524dd9f374f9bfcb092bf854c0baf} leather), faux leather is 0{252f7dd7ba9e0baa00d1435eb90ef3fcba6524dd9f374f9bfcb092bf854c0baf} leather. It is a bunch of plastic and vinyl mixed together and stuck on fabric. While leather is a natural material, there is nothing even remotely natural about faux leather. Often, it is referred to, somewhat disparagingly, as pleather.

Imitation leather

Looks just like leather, right? That’s the problem.

This is short for plastic leather, or plastic pretending to be leather.  It mimics many of the qualities of leather, such as being flame retardant, and very pliable, but when it comes down to durability, faux leather can’t keep up. It also doesn’t breathe or provide any form of ventilation, while real leather does. This creates a problem most prominently in shoes, where the lack of ventilation leads not only to stinky feet, but to fungus such as athlete’s foot.

Isn’t That Kind Of Harsh?

I’ll be honest, I’m biased as nobody’s business against faux leather. I don’t like it. I don’t like it even a little. I will not hesitate to tell you not to buy it in 99{252f7dd7ba9e0baa00d1435eb90ef3fcba6524dd9f374f9bfcb092bf854c0baf} of circumstances. The only circumstances I can think of where I would tell you to go ahead and buy faux leather would be:

1. You are on a really tight budget and you don’t actually care if something is leather, but the product you were buying because it was cheap happens to be faux leather. e.g: I wanted to buy this plastic phone case for 10 dollars, but then I found this faux leather one for $6. If you don’t care if it is leather, then sure, go for it.

2. You want something that looks generally like leather, but don’t actually care if it is nice. It is 100{252f7dd7ba9e0baa00d1435eb90ef3fcba6524dd9f374f9bfcb092bf854c0baf} to look like leather for a short duration. If that is your desire, faux leather can pull it off.

I would like to point out real quick that if you fall in that second category, I still care about you, but you are probably going to mildly frustrate me. If you are in that category, click here to check our product reviews for something in your price range.If there isn’t something that works there, e-mail me here, click here to send me a message on Facebook. I will do everything in my power to find you something that does fit your budget.(Within reason. I’m pretty good, but I can’t find you a real leather sofa for $50. I have my limits).