Suede leather is made from the innermost layer of the hide, by sanding down the underside rather than the outside of the leather. This means it’s softer and more supple than nubuck or full-grain leather.
The name “suede” comes from the French phrase “gants de Suède” which literally means “gloves from Sweden.” Like the name suggests, this material is great for delicate items like gloves or casual everyday shoes where you’re looking for a soft, flexible fit, because suede is both lightweight and pliable.
Suede is a high-quality product generally, but not for the same reasons as nubuck or full-grain leather. Since it is thinner and softer, suede is a bit more vulnerable to stains and damage, but it’s the sought-after features of softness and pliability that are so valued. Since suede is soft and thin, it’s great for clothing and other items where a thicker leather would be too rigid. Suede is common in bags, shoes, upholstery, curtains, gloves and other accessories. It makes a great inner lining for other leather products as well, due to its breathability.
Having both a luxurious feel and decorative appearance, genuine suede leather is an established product with a great reputation. When suede is properly brushed, it has a consistent color and grain. If it’s ruffled, it may sometimes appear less dense or darker. Suede can also be dyed, which is why we can often see quality suede in a broad array of hues.
The softness and pliability of suede leather make for a unique, quality item you probably won't find anywhere else. It does take a little more care but it gives a luxurious, comfortable look and feel that you’ll appreciate for a long time.
During the 20th century, suede leather became much more popular in the fashion industry and was considered a symbol of status due to its delicate and luxurious nature. In fact, even to this day, luxury designers work with tanneries to create totally unique suede leather for their collections.