Suede, rough leather, nubuk and velours – there are many terms that describe this special, velvety material. There is plenty of room for confusion, but it is not hard to tell the difference between them.
Nubuk and suede are types of rough leather. Typical of rough leather is its velvety touch that is achieved by sanding its surface. This results in a beautiful texture wihich is pleasant to touch. Although nubuk and suede appear quite similar by the end of their manufacturing process, the final product is significantly different. With nubuk, the grained side – meaning the outer side of the leather – is sanded which leaves a fine finish with the grained pattern still visible. Roughening the leather makes it more breathable which is not exclusively positive. The leather´s rough surface is more sensitive to dirt, grease and (sun)light which causes the colours to fade. There are two types of suede leather: The flesh-split (lower layer) and the grain-split (upper layer). The flesh-split has velvety sections on both sides while the grain split has a suede portion only on one side. The other side is the actual grain surface. Suede is extremely robust and breathable and is therefore often used for working boots and gloves.