Top 10 Materials for Leather Bag Manufacturing in 2024

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Most customers prefer leather bags because they are durable and robust. People have been using leather bags for centuries. When buying your bag, you prefer leather because you know it is worth the money.

The top materials for leather bag manufacturing include various types of genuine leather. Cowhide and lambskin are the traditional leathers used by many companies. Cowhide is favored for its ruggedness and longevity. Likewise, lambskin provides a supple, lightweight option with a luxurious texture. Regarding grading, we can classify leather as full-grain, top-grain, or bonded leather.

However, did you know other types of leather used in bag making? The type of leather used to create a bag ultimately affects its look and life.

We will provide information on the top materials used to make leather bags. Stay tuned!

What Are the Common Materials Used in Leather Bag Manufacturing?

Not every material used to make bags or other items is the same leather. Every material has its feel, look, and quality. It means that these materials will create different styles and prices for bags.

Here are the five most commonly used materials in leather bag manufacturing;

  • Cowhide
  • Snakeskin
  • Crocodile skin
  • Sheepskin
  • Mixed leather

Top 10 Materials for Leather Bag Manufacturing

Here is the list of the top 10 leather materials for leather bag manufacturing

1) Full-Grain Leather

This leather material is natural since it’s made from whole animal skin. Companies source full-grain leather from animals like goats, pigs, cows, or sheep.

During processing, the material goes through three stages. They are;

Preparation– They start by treating and cleaning the skin to keep it hydrated. It then goes through liming to remove any natural fats. The next step is removing any hair or fur from the skin. The last step here is bleaching to help in the tanning process.

Tanning – The second stage is tanning, which involves treating the hide. The process takes place in the tannery. The hides are soaked in tanning liquor while in the tannery and left for some time.

Crusting– During the crusting process, the hide is thinned and lubricated. That is also where the hide is colored depending on the preferred shade. The leather is also oiled, brushed, sprayed, and glazed during crusting.

Full-Grain Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• It is sturdy and timeless.

• They are breathable compared to top-grain leather.

• Products made from full-grain leather are unique.

• It is water resistant compared to other leather materials.

• The material is expensive

• Full-grain leather is not aesthetically pleasing

• The bags are heavier since they are made from whole animal hides.

• Shoes

• Bags

• Belt

• Jackets

2) Top Grain leather

It is the second-best material after full-grain leather. The material goes through more processing to make it thinner.

For this to be possible, the outer layer of the hide is removed by sanding and buffing. The material also goes through a shaving-off process to remove wrinkles.

Its sleek finish makes it perfect for making luxurious products.

Top Grain Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• It is durable and perfect for making furniture and bags.

• The material is more affordable.

• The material has a smooth finish that makes it aesthetically pleasing.

• It is versatile as it can make a wide range of leather products.

• It takes longer to process this leather material.

• This type of   leather material is prone to stretching with time.

• Wallets

• Bags

• Shoes

• Belts

• Furniture

3) Nubuck Leather

The Nubuck material has a velvety feeling when touched. The best Nubuck leather comes from cattle, goats, or deer.

During processing, manufacturers use the top side of the hide. That is because the layer is more sturdy compared to the inner side.

Nubuck Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best   Uses and Applications
• The material is durable because it’s made from the top layer of cowhide.

• Nubuck leather is soft and perfect for making shoes.

• Products made from Nubuck are breathable.

• It can easily absorb water.

• The leather can easily be ruined by oil, dirt, and stains.

• Expensive

• Shoes

• Bags

• Furniture

• Car seats

4) Vegetable tanned leather

Manufacturers dip the hides in salt water solution to produce the vegetable-tanned leather. This process helps remove fur from the hides. The hides are then smeared with vegetable oil to moisturize them.

Vegetable-tanned leather is the most commonly used material by manufacturers.

To get this material, they take the following process;

The first step involves salting the hides to remove and prevent bacteria. The material is then limed to remove any fat from the hide. It is then soaked in lime milk.

The next step is putting the material in a tanning solution for 30 to 60 days. They are removed from the solution and are dried for a few days. The hides are then oiled, stretched, trimmed, and measured depending on the final use.

Vegetable Tanned Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best   Uses and Applications
• Vegetable-tanned leather is eco-friendly

• The material is durable and strong

• It is also easy to mold

• The material can absorb oil easily

• The process of making vegetable-tanned leather is long.

• The material is expensive.

• Saddles

• Bags and purses

• Shoes

5) Distressed Leather

As the name suggests, distressed leather is made by distressing the hide. The process is to attain a vintage, worn-out, and damaged look. That is done by cutting, burning, or putting the hide in water.

The whole process makes the material more sturdy and durable. Distressed leather is made from full-grain leather. Manufacturers can opt for a manual distressing or tanning process.

Distressed Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• Distressed leather is timeless and durable.

• The material is water-resistant and not prone to wear and tear.

• Products made from this material are easy to maintain.

• The vintage look of leather is aesthetically pleasing.

• Every distressed leather material is unique from the other.

• The process of making the material is expensive.

• The leather   takes a long process to make, and the process is tedious

• Bags made from the material are heavy to carry since they are made from full-grain leather.

• Coats

• Boots

• Bags

• Furniture

6) Plant-based Leather

Unlike traditional leather, plant-based leather is made from agricultural waste. It is also known as vegan leather.

It is made from pineapple leaves, mushrooms, and corn. They are eco-friendly compared to other leathers. They are also biodegradable and less cruel to animals.

Plant-Based Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• They are environmentally friendly.

• It is cheap compared to traditional leather.

• They are lightweight and flexible to work with.

• The waste is sometimes mixed with plastic, which does not decompose.

• Not durable

• Jacket/coats

• Trousers

• Bags/purses

• Shoe Accessories

7) Recycled Leather

Recycled leather is a sustainable alternative to other types. It is made by reusing leather scraps and discarded leather products. Manufacturers shred and grind down post-industrial leather waste to make it.

They combine it with synthetic binders and compress it into sheets. The process reduces waste and also helps the environment.

Recycled Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• This type reduces the need for new raw materials.

• Using waste materials can be more cost-effective.

• It offers the same durable nature as traditional leather.

• The supply of recycled leather is often limited.

• The quality of recycled leather products can vary depending on the source materials.

• Upholstery

• Automotive interiors

• Flooring and home decor

• Accessories

8) Sheepskin Leather

Sheepskin leather is the most used leather material. Bags made from this material are smooth, unique, and durable. Other products made from sheepskin leather are comfortable and long-lasting.

Sheepskin leather is produced from sheep hide. During processing, the manufacturers don’t remove the wool from the skin. The skin goes through the tanning process while the wool is still intact.

For this reason, the outer side will have leather, and the inside will have wool.

Sheepskin Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• Sheepskin leather coats are warm because of the wool.

• Sheepskin leather products are durable and can last a lifetime.

• Coats made from sheepskin are suitable for any weather

• It is water resistant because of wool.

• Products made from this material are dirt-resistant and self-cleaning.

• The material is prone to stretching as time goes by.

• The sheepskin leather can easily tear or stain.

• Jackets

• Coats

• Skirts

• Pants

• Bags

9) Crocodile Leather

It is produced from crocodile hide, the rarest leather material worldwide. The process of making crocodile leather requires exceptional craftsmanship.

The process of making crocodile leather is as follows.

The first step is washing the skin to remove any preservatives. Next is cleaning tanning to remove any remaining dirt and preservatives.

Finally, the leather goes through liming, which involves treating the hide with chemicals.

Crocodile Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
• Crocodile leather is the most durable leather material.

• The scars and bumps on crocodile leather make it unique.

• The material is water-resistant.

• Crocodile leather is hard to maintain.

• The material is expensive since crocodile hides are rare and exotic.

• Wallet

• Clothing

• Accessories

• Bags

10) Animal Print Leather

Animal print leather offers a bold look with its unique designs. It imitates the patterns and textures found on animal skins.

Manufacturers use advanced printing methods to apply animal patterns onto the leather surface. Also, the embossing technology is used to create a textured surface.

Buyers love leather bags having the following textures;

  • Leopard spots
  • Zebra stripes
  • Snake scales
  • Crocodile textures
Animal Print Leather
Advantages Disadvantages Best Uses and Applications
  • It offers Versatile design options
  • Animal print leather is often durable and long-lasting
  • It is natural-looking and made from top material.
  • Often more expensive than plain leather
  • It may require special care to maintain a pattern
  • Handbags
  • Wallets
  • Belts
  • Shoes
  • Jackets

Final Thoughts!

Investing in quality leather bag material is crucial. That will guarantee your style and timelessness. This list lets you choose the perfect material for your bag and other products.

In today’s market, what your bag is made of matters. Thus, choosing suitable materials is essential to attracting eco-conscious and quality-focused customers.

Be innovative and use excellent craftsmanship to make leather bags! This way, you can position your leather bag brand as an industry leader.

Ensure you study the above top 10 materials to create leather bags. These bags can meet your customers’ needs and drive success in 2024!

At Mherder, we craft premium leather bags from any material you desire. Be it full-grain leather, vegetable-tanned leather, or any other type!

We always welcome custom bag requests. So, if you have a specific material in mind that wasn’t mentioned above, just let us know.

Mandy Chou 

Hi, I’m the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 18 years. If you have any inquiries about Leather bags and Leather goods, pls feel free to ask me any questions.



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