How To Identify Good Quality Leather Goods

Quality leather goods are tough, easy on the eye, and full of character. There is likely no better example of this than a stylish modern work briefcase.

Poorer quality leather, on the other hand, is none of these things, and will also not last long when compared to their higher quality counterparts.

It’s often hard to tell the difference between good-quality leather and poor-quality leather. In fact, you may not think there’s much between them, considering they are the same material, but you’d be very wrong! 

Good-quality leather has so many amazing qualities that deserve recognition — qualities that easily distinguish it from poor-quality leather.

If you want to learn how to identify good quality leather goods, here are our top tips and tricks.

The Price Tag

Buying good quality leather may end up costing you a lot of money, regardless of whether you’re treating yourself to a new handy leather pencil case or a stylish leather jacket. 

These types of leather items not only have a rustic look but are also all but guaranteed to last a considerably long time, meaning you can truly make the most out of your money.

That being said, it’s true that genuine leather is pretty expensive. This is due to the time it takes to source the material and then the time it takes to turn it into goods for people to purchase later on.

Search for Specific Keywords

There are a couple of keywords that instantly point to a product not being genuine or made to a high quality. These often include words such as “laminated,” “coated,” or “bonded.”

If you’re looking at leather goods and spot any of these keywords, or anything similar, it’s a clear sign that the leather quality isn’t all that great. It might not even be a genuine leather product at all!

Check the Grade

Let’s say you’re planning to buy leather goods. If this is the case, one of the first things you must do is check the grade, which is a factor that shows how the leather has been bonded.

There are four leather grades:

      • Full grain leather
      • Top grain leather
      • Split grain leather
      • Genuine leather
      • Bonded leather
  • We’d recommend looking for high-grade leather as low-grade leather tends to be bonded with glue and is then sold on to deceive customers.  

    Pay Attention to How the Product Feels

    You can also identify good quality leather by touching the product. High-quality leather is pretty easy to spot. It will feel tough to the touch, and have a very fine texture, yet will also still be highly flexible.

    On the other hand, if the leather feels extremely smooth or resembles something that feels an awful lot like plastic, it might be a case of split leather topped with a PU coating (that is: low-quality leather).

    You should also keep an eye out for leather that looks like it has a lot of blemishes or one that appears to be machine-made.

    Smell the Item

    This one might seem a little strange, but taking the time to smell leather goods is a brilliant way to distinguish the good from the bad quality.

    Real leather has a distinct yet easily recognizable scent whereas fake leather often smells quite like plastic or a chemically-treated material. It won’t be hard for you to tell the difference between them!

    Our top advice is not to settle for a leather product that doesn’t have a legitimate scent as you’ll just be wasting your money on a product that is bound not to last.

    Look for Quality Stitching

    A factor of good quality leather lies in its stitching. If all of its stitches are of high quality, it’s safe to assume that the leather itself is also high quality! Any flaws made by hand or machine stitching leather can be obvious signs of low quality.

    Check the Edges

    The edging of good quality leather is yet another tell-tale sign of its quality. Poor quality leather usually has a uniform and machine-like cut to it, whereas real leather tends to have more imperfect edges. This occurs because leather is made up of many unpredictable natural strands which give the material its famed look and feel.


    These are the most straightforward ways of identifying good quality leather. Although it may cost you considerably more, we’d always recommend investing in good quality leather goods as they are bound to last you much longer than low-quality goods. Plus, they have a more authentic look, feel, and smell that enhances the beauty of the material.


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