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Article: Full-grain vs. Top-grain Leather

Full-grain vs. Top-grain Leather
full grain

Full-grain vs. Top-grain Leather

What sets "Full-grain" and "Top-grain" leather apart? For top-of-the line leather products, don't correlate the word 'top' to the highest grade. Instead, think full-grain. Full of character, full of quality. 


  • Full-grain leather comes from the outermost top layer of the hide, with no blemishes removed (there's that word "top" again!)
  • It's left in the most natural state and isn't split.
  • It contains a dense amount of fibers, which results in high durability.
  • Sometimes, it reveals natural 'flaws' such as branding marks, stretch marks, or bug bites. Only the hair is removed from the hide, but nothing else. These 'flaws' only add to the uniqueness of the hide.
  • Full-grain is the most durable and will achieve the best patina over time. Conversely, it is susceptible to staining more than top-grain because it's not sanded to remove impurities.
  • Over time, Full-grain leather will become more pliable.

Full-grain requires more upkeep and maintenance than top-grain since it is in the most natural state without sanding. A leather cleaner and conditioner, at most, are all that would be needed to keep full-grain products beautiful and add longevity. Most high-end brands use full-grain leather in their goods. 


While top-grain is very similar to full-grain leather, there's one main difference. Top-grain leather has undergone a sanding process, removing any natural 'flaws.' 

  • Full-grain remains the highest quality, but top-grain leather is still considered high-end.
  • Top-grain will stain less often than full-grain since it's usually treated to protect against staining.
  • Top-grain is not as durable as full-grain, and the fibers are not as strong.
  • Over time, top-grain leather will become more pliable.

In conclusion, when it comes to selecting top-of-the-line leather products, understanding the main differences between full-grain and top-grain leather is important. While both types are high-quality, full-grain leather stands out for its natural state, durability, and character. It may require more maintenance, but its unique qualities and longevity make it the superior choice.

Boyles Handmade exclusively uses full-grain leather from reputable tanneries in Europe and the USA, ensuring that every product is of the highest quality and full of character. Choose Boyles Handmade for leather goods that are not just accessories but enduring pieces of art.


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