A summary of some of the common terms.


FULL GRAIN LEATHER – A leather whose surface has not been sanded or buffed.

CORRECTED GRAIN – The surface is buffed to smooth out imperfections, a pigment is applied to the surface.The leather can then be used as a smooth hi-shine or embossed with a croc or snake grain.

PATENT – High gloss coating on the surface of the leather. It is flexible and retains some breathability.

NUBUCK/ OILY NUBUCK – Aniline dyed leather which has been lightly abraded on the grain surface to create a velvety finish or nap. The nap is very fine because of the tight fibre structure in the grain layer. Nubuck can also be made with an oily top to give a ‘distressed’ or worn look used mainly on casual boots and shoes. The oil gives a temporary waterproofing effect until it wears off or dries out.

PULL UP (ALSO CALLED – waxy or oily pull-up) The leather has had a surface finsh of a dark wax, when the leather is flexed in shoes or creased in use the top colour lightens to give a ‘worn’ or used look.
SUEDE SPLIT – Generally this is the underside of the skin , split away from the top grain, dyed and fine buffed. Suede split can be made in to many different effects, from oily worn look to imitation snake or croc or simply a soft fine nap. On occasion it can be the full substance skin, buffed on the flesh side, this is usually only on calf skins as the flesh side of older animals is too coarse.

SIDES – Half a whole hide, generally a cow hide, cut down the back bone
BELLIES – Taken from the edge of the ‘bend or butt’, vegetable tanned, the flank. This article is smaller & narrower in cutting area, it gives the user a classic veg leather at an economic price.

BUTTS – A part of the hide, usually vegatable tanned, below the shoulders. The leather is generally thicker, less marked and longer & wider in size, suitable for cutting items such as belts.
BEND – Term used for sole leather which denotes a half butt, vegetable tanned and rolled flat and hard for use in soles and heels.

SHOULDERS – These are used in both heavy vegetable form for insoles heels etc or in lighter weights for leather goods, we offer dyed through shoulders from 1.6 to 3.0mm suitable for all leather goods applications.


Type of leather dyed exclusively with soluble dyes. Only the skin is dyed, the surface is not coated with a pigment, a dye coat top is sometimes applied to give a more even colour. It’s lack of cover means it is the most attractive, supple and expensive leather, it also the leather which needs the most care.
This finish is more durable than aniline it still retains a natural appearance and the light pigment top coat gives a more consistent colour.

Used in the majority of furniture upholstery and almost all car upholstery. The durable finish is provided by a polymer surface coating which contains pigments.

Generally made on a split, there is polymer coating applied to the surface which can be embossed to mimic a grain leather. The flexibility and breathability of the leather can be significantly different with a finished split.