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Unraveling the Mystery: What is Suede Made Of?

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When it comes to fashion, certain materials carry an air of sophistication and luxury. Suede is undoubtedly one of them. Whether it’s adorning a pair of sleek boots, a stylish jacket, or even furniture, suede’s velvety texture and rich appearance exude elegance. But have you ever wondered what exactly suede is made of? Let’s dive into the fascinating world of suede to uncover its origins, composition, and unique characteristics.

Origins of Suede:

Suede has a rich history that dates back centuries. The term “suede” originates from the French phrase “gants de Suède,” which translates to “gloves of Sweden.” Initially, suede referred specifically to soft leather gloves made from the underside of animal hides. Over time, the term broadened to include various items made from this velvety material.


So, what is suede made of? Suede is a type of leather, but it differs from traditional leather in its texture and production process. While leather can be crafted from the hides of various animals, suede is typically made from the underside of the skin, specifically from the split layer of the hide. This part of the hide is known for its softness and flexibility.

The production process involves splitting a thick piece of leather into two layers: the top grain and the split. The top grain, which contains the outer layer of the hide, is often used to make full-grain leather products. On the other hand, the split layer, which is thinner and more fibrous, is used to create suede.

Once the split layer is obtained, it undergoes a process called “sueding” or “napping.” During this process, the surface of the leather is abraded to create a soft, fuzzy texture. This distinctive nap is what gives suede its velvety feel and luxurious appearance.

Types of Suede:

Suede can be made from various animal hides, including those of cows, goats, pigs, and deer. Each type of suede has its own unique characteristics, such as texture, thickness, and durability.

Cowhide suede is perhaps the most common and durable type of suede. It is known for its strength and resilience, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, from ladies bag to upholstery.

Goatskin suede, often referred to as “chèvre,” is prized for its softness and suppleness. It tends to have a finer nap than cowhide suede, making it ideal for luxury goods such as gloves and high-end clothing.

Pigskin suede, also known as “pig suede,” is valued for its affordability and flexibility. While it may not be as durable as cowhide suede, it is still a popular choice for casual footwear and accessories.

Characteristics and Care:

One of the most appealing characteristics of suede is its luxurious texture. The soft nap gives suede a distinctive look and feel that sets it apart from other types of leather.

However, suede requires special care to maintain its appearance and longevity. Unlike smooth leather, suede is more susceptible to staining and moisture damage. To keep suede looking its best, it’s essential to treat it with a suede protector spray and avoid exposing it to water or harsh chemicals.

In addition, regular brushing with a suede brush can help remove dirt and restore the nap’s softness. For stubborn stains, suede cleaner kits are available to tackle specific issues without damaging the material.


In conclusion, suede is a luxurious material prized for its softness, texture, and versatility. Made from the underside of animal hides, suede undergoes a special process to create its distinctive velvety nap. Whether it’s adorning clothing, footwear, or furniture, suede adds a touch of elegance to any ensemble.

Understanding what suede is made of and how to care for it properly allows us to appreciate this timeless material even more. So, the next time you slip on a pair of suede boots or drape a suede jacket over your shoulders, take a moment to marvel at the craftsmanship and artistry behind this remarkable material.

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