How To Protect Suede & Nubuck
April 11, 2023
Jane Smith, Managing Director
When it comes to luxurious, elegant and stylish material, look no further than suede and nubuck, both of which are popular types of leather that have their own distinct characteristics and qualities.
Suede is generally made from the underside of the animal skin, which makes it very soft to the touch. It’s actually a split leather, where the underside of the animal skin is separated from the top, so it’s also thinner as a material and isn’t as strong as full-grain traditional leather.
There are lots of different types of suede you can find, depending on which animal hide is used. Suede made from sheepskin is the softest and most delicate you can find, while cowhide suede is the roughest you’ll come across.
Because it’s such a luxurious fabric, suede is a really popular choice for fashion and there’s certainly no denying that suede shoes and boots look very stylish indeed, as well as being a practical choice because the material is durable but lighter than traditional leather so great as an option for footwear.
Nubuck leather, meanwhile, may feel very much like suede to the touch but it’s the more durable of the two because it’s taken from the top grain of the hide, instead of the underside. The top grain itself may have markings and slight defections on it, so it’s sanded down and buffed to improve its appearance, with the end result being a very velvety finish.
This kind of leather is usually used for fashion accessories like handbags and wallets, as well as jackets, boots and shoes… so it’s very similar to suede in that respect, as well.
Both suede and nubuck have another common characteristic that leather fans should perhaps be aware of… neither of them do particularly well with water, which is why it’s important to know how best to take care of the fabric.
Nubuck is most similar to leather and is naturally water resistant up to a point, able to withstand a small amount of water. However, if you want to really protect your leather investments, it’s advisable to use a waterproofing spray to ensure the material continues looking its best.
Suede, however, is very vulnerable to water and even the smallest of splashes can leave permanent marks and scuffs if you’re not careful. Again, a waterproofing spray will prove particularly useful with suede - but even then, it’s best not to wear your suede shoes in the rain!
A suede brush can be used to help keep the nap fresh and suede erasers can help you get rid of any stains that may have accumulated. A good practice to get into is to give your suede a brush down immediately after use, storing items well away from anything that may potentially cause damage.
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