Alcantara vs. Suede: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to two of the most popular and luxurious upholstery fabrics, alcantara and suede are often thought of as similar materials. While they may share a few similarities, there is in fact a world of difference between these two materials. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at alcantara vs. suede and explore their differences so you can make an informed decision when selecting the right fabric for your next project.

What Is Suede?

What Is Suede

Suede is a form of leather made from the underside of a cowhide. It is brushed to give it its signature soft and velvety texture that’s often associated with luxury apparel, bags, furniture, car upholstery and more. Suede can be dyed in many shades, allowing for unique design possibilities and flexibility in use.[2]

What Is Alcantara?

Alcantara is an artificial material that has a similar texture to suede, but without the associated animal product. It was developed over 40 years ago and made exclusively in Italy. Its production involves combining a polyester base with a polyurethane surface covering. This combination creates a material that is soft, velvety and highly durable. It has quickly become the go-to fabric for luxury upholstery in the automotive industry, as well as for furniture, bags and other accessories.[2]

How To Distinguish Alcantara Leather From Suede Leather?

How To Distinguish Alcantara Leather From Suede Leather

If you’re looking to buy a leather product, you may be wondering what distinguishes alcantara from suede. Here are some helpful tips for telling them apart:

  • Texture and Feel – Alcantara is typically softer and smoother than suede. It has a velvety texture, whereas suede tends to be coarser and more rough.
  • Color – Alcantara is typically available in bright, vibrant colors, whereas suede is usually found in a variety of earthy tones.
  • Weight – Suede leather is heavier than alcantara leather; this can make it difficult to tell the two apart by feel.
  • Pore Size – Alcantara has much smaller pores than suede does, making it more water-resistant and durable.
  • Price – Alcantara leather is generally more expensive than suede, so you can expect to pay a bit more for quality products made from this type of material.[1]

Origins Of Alcantara And Suede

Alcantara and suede are two fabrics that often get confused for each other. But, despite their similar looks and feel, they have very different origins.

Suede is a type of leather made from the underside of animal hide, usually sheepskin. It’s thin, soft and supple with a signature fuzzy nap. It can be treated to become resistant to water and dirt, so it’s often used in clothing and furniture upholstery.

Alcantara, on the other hand, is a man-made fabric made from 70% polyester and 30% polyurethane that mimics suede’s appearance but without using leather. It’s lightweight, durable and resistant to water and dirt, so it’s also often used in upholstery applications.[1]

Benefits Of Alcantara And Suede

Both alcantara and suede offer unique benefits that make them desirable materials for upholstery, apparel, automotive interiors, and even accessories.

Alcantara is soft to the touch, breathable, and incredibly durable. It’s also known for being water-resistant and stain-resistant, making it a great choice if you’re looking for something that is easy to maintain and long-lasting. Another great benefit of alcantara is its ability to be dyed any color, so it can match any décor or design scheme.

Suede, on the other hand, provides a different look; one that is luxurious and soft. It’s also more affordable than alcantara and is often used for fashion accessories. It can be dyed in a variety of colors and has the added benefit of being able to resist water and stains better than other fabrics, making it easier to clean.[3]

Disadvantages Of Alcantara And Suede

Disadvantages Of Alcantara And Suede

Alcantara and suede, while both aesthetically pleasing, have their own drawbacks.

When it comes to Alcantara, one of the main disadvantages is that it isn’t as hard-wearing as other fabrics in its price range. As such, it needs closer care and attention than some other fabrics.

It’s also susceptible to dye transfer, where color can be transferred onto the fabric by other materials.

Suede is also prone to some less desirable qualities. One of these is that it absorbs liquids much more readily than Alcantara, so spills can cause permanent damage and discoloration if not cleaned up quickly. It’s also more difficult to clean than other fabrics, and requires specialized tools and treatments to keep it looking its best.[3]

Uses Of Alcantara.

Due to its unique combination of properties, Alcantara has a wide range of uses. It is used in automobile upholstery and interiors, luxury handbags, clothing and accessories, home furnishings and decor objects such as rugs and wall coverings. It can also be used for architectural applications including soundproofing systems for walls and ceilings, and acoustic treatments.

Its durability also makes Alcantara ideal for product branding, as it can be embossed or printed with logos and other images. It is also used to produce shoe insoles, protective device covers such as cases for smartphones and tablets, medical equipment covers, sports gear such as tennis racquets and golf clubs, and furniture upholstery.

Alcantara is also used in other creative applications such as music instruments, art installations, fashion shows, theater sets and sculptures. Its unique properties have made it a popular choice for many designers and manufacturers looking to create something truly unique.[3]

Uses Of Suede.

Suede has many uses, making it a popular choice of material. It is often used to make shoes, clothing items and accessories. Suede fabric is also commonly used for furniture upholstery, as it gives the piece an aesthetically pleasing texture. Suede can be found in various colors, giving you plenty of options when it comes to interior design.

Suede is also a popular material for craft projects and DIY home décor items. For example, you can create custom pillows, wall art, jewelry boxes and more with suede. Many upholstery repair shops offer services that include the use of suede fabric, as well.[2]

How To Clean Alcantara?

Cleaning alcantara can be a tricky task, but with the right products and techniques you’ll have your material in top condition in no time!

How To Clean Alcantara

The first step is to vacuum up any dirt or dust. If a brush attachment isn’t available, use a soft cloth to do this instead. Do not use any vacuum with a beater bar as the bristles will damage the material.

Next, use a dry cloth to spot clean any remaining dirt or stains. For tougher stains, you can use a mild soap and water solution. Use a sponge or soft cloth to apply the mixture and wipe away excess liquid with another towel or cloth.

When finished, let the fabric air dry completely before using it again. If you’re in a rush, you can use a hair dryer set to low heat. Make sure not to leave the material too close to the heat source as this could cause damage and discoloration.

Finally, consider investing in a suitable protector spray. This will help to repel water and other liquids, as well as make it easier to clean in the future. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying any product.[1]

How To Clean Suede?

Cleaning suede can be a daunting task, so it’s important to know the right way. Start by using a soft brush or cloth to gently remove dirt and debris from the surface. You may also want to invest in a suede cleaning kit which contains special products designed to keep your suede looking good as new. When applying cleaning products, always test in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it won’t damage the material. For tougher stains, you may need to use a suede eraser or special suede cleaner. If all else fails, you can take your item to a professional cleaners for help.[3]

How To Protect Alcantara And Suede?

When it comes to protecting your alcantara and suede fabrics, there are a few simple steps you can take to keep them looking their best.

**Cleaning:** Regular dusting of both materials should be done using a soft cloth so as not to damage the fabric’s delicate fibers. For tougher spots or stains, you can use a damp cloth or upholstery cleaner.

**Protecting:** To maintain the original look of alcantara and suede fabrics, you should use protective sprays that are specifically designed for these materials. These sprays form a protective layer over the fabric, keeping it looking newer for longer.[2]

Comparison Of Suede And Alcantara Leather

When it comes to choosing leather for fashion items, you may have heard of the two types of materials: suede and alcantara. But what are the differences between these two?

Suede is made from a split layer of animal hide, usually cowhide or deer hide. The layer has been buffed down to give it a soft, velvety texture. It is generally less durable and more delicate than full-grain leather, but its luxurious texture makes it a popular choice for apparel like jackets, skirts and accessories.

On the other hand, alcantara is made from polyester fibers that are tightly woven together to create a unique material that resembles suede. It is incredibly durable, and its luxurious texture also makes it popular for apparel. Alcantara has the benefit of being easier to clean than suede as well as being more resistant to staining and discoloration over time.[3]

Caring For Suede And Alcantara Leather

Now that you know the differences between suede and alcantara leather, it’s time to talk about caring for these materials. Although both can be a bit delicate, properly maintaining them will help extend their life.

When it comes to cleaning alcantara, use a damp cloth or sponge with warm water and mild soap. Be sure to work in small circles and blot the fabric dry with a clean cloth afterwards. Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive scrubbing, as this could ruin the surface.

For suede, it’s important to use specific cleaners designed for the material.There are even some products that come with special erasers that can help take out scuffs and stains. It’s also important to brush the material regularly with a suede brush. This helps keep it clean and fluffy, as well as removing any dirt or debris on the surface.[3]

When Should You Choose Suede?

Suede has a more luxurious, supple feel than Alcantara and is ideal for creating fashionable apparel like leather jackets, gloves, and boots. It is also the preferred choice for upholstery and interior design applications such as sofas and curtains. Suede is incredibly durable and resistant to dirt or scuffs, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas.[3]

When Should You Choose Alcantara?

When it comes to deciding between alcantara and suede, the final choice is up to you. But there are some situations where one material may be a better fit than the other.

For instance, if you’re looking for a luxurious feel, alcantara may be your best bet. This fabric is beloved for its soft and silky texture, making it a great choice for furniture or car interiors. You can also use alcantara in apparel like jackets, shoes, or bags.

Or if you’re looking for something more stain-resistant and durable, alcantara may be the way to go.[2]

Why Do Most People Love Suede?

Suede has a unique texture that not only looks luxurious, but also feels amazing. It has a soft and velvety feel that is irresistible to the touch. The delicate yet distinguished look of suede makes it an ideal choice for any kind of clothing or footwear such as jackets, boots, shoes, and more.[1]

Why Do Most People Love Alcantara?

Alcantara is a synthetic material that has become increasingly popular for its highly durable and soft feel. It has been used in luxury cars, fashion accessories, and furniture pieces for years. Its unique composition gives it a suede-like appearance but with the durability of leather. As such, alcantara is often seen as an alternative to suede, as it is more resistant to stains and wear-and-tear. It also has a longer lifespan than traditional suede.[3]

How To Spot The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly?

How To Spot The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

When it comes to picking out the good, bad, and ugly between Alcantara vs. Suede, there are a few key characteristics to keep in mind. First of all, Alcantara has a much softer feel than suede and is often considered more luxurious because of this factor. Also, Alcantara is less likely to stain due to its microfiber composition. On the other hand, suede is more durable and less likely to wear over time. It also has a unique visual texture that makes it stand out from other materials. Lastly, Alcantara is an eco-friendly choice compared to suede since it doesn’t require any animal products during its production.[2]


Is Alcantara The Same As Suede?

No, Alcantara and suede are not the same. Suede is a type of leather made from the underside of an animal skin which has been buffed to give it its signature soft texture, while Alcantara is a synthetic material created using textile fibers spun together with polyurethane.

Which Is More Expensive, Alcantara Or Suede?

Alcantara is generally more expensive than suede. The cost of Alcantara depends on the quality and type of fabric used, while the cost of suede leather is determined by the animal it’s sourced from.

Does Alcantara Feel Like Suede?

Yes, Alcantara has a soft and luxurious feel that is very similar to suede. It has the same velvety texture and buttery smoothness as genuine suede, but without the disadvantages of being delicate or prone to wear-and-tear.

What Is So Special About Alcantara?

Alcantara is extremely durable and easy to clean. It’s also stain-resistant, hypoallergenic, breathable and eco-friendly. Unlike suede, it does not require regular maintenance or conditioning, making it ideal for furniture upholstery or car interior trim.

Why Do Luxury Cars Use Alcantara?

Luxury cars often use Alcantara because it offers greater comfort, durability and sophistication than suede. Its soft texture and superior insulation properties also provide an enhanced driving experience. Additionally, its light weight means that it doesn’t add any extra bulk to the car, improving fuel efficiency.

Does Ferrari Use Alcantara?

Yes, Ferrari uses Alcantara in the interiors of its cars. Specifically, the Italian carmaker uses a special version of the fabric that is treated with a light coating for greater protection against wear and tear. This makes it perfect for use in luxury vehicles, as it retains its luxurious look and feel even after years of use.

Does Bmw Use Real Alcantara?

Yes, BMW also uses real Alcantara in the interiors of its vehicles. The German carmaker has been using the fabric since 1997 and continues to use it in its high-end models.

Is Alcantara Fake Leather?

No, Alcantara is not fake leather. It is a unique synthetic fabric that combines textile fibers with polyurethane to create its signature soft and luxurious feel. Unlike genuine leather, it does not require regular maintenance or conditioning, which makes it ideal for furniture upholstery or car interior trim.

What Is More Expensive, Leather Or Alcantara?

Alcantara is generally more expensive than genuine leather. The cost of Alcantara depends on the quality and type of fabric used, while the cost of leather is determined by the animal it’s sourced from. However, as Alcantara does not require regular maintenance or conditioning like leather, it can be a more economical choice in the long run.

Can Alcantara Get Wet?

Yes, Alcantara is resistant to water and can be wiped down with a damp cloth. However, it’s important to note that like all fabrics, it should not be left wet for extended periods of time as this may cause damage. Additionally, if the fabric gets too wet or is exposed to strong detergents or solvents, it can cause discoloration.

Does Alcantara Last Long?

Yes, Alcantara is highly durable and can last for years with proper care. It is resistant to wear-and-tear so it won’t fade or become brittle like genuine leather. Additionally, as it does not require regular maintenance or conditioning like leather, it can be a more economical choice in the long run.

Useful Video: Suede And Alcantara | Everything YOU SHOULD KNOW with Jessica Tran


In conclusion, Alcantara and suede are two popular fabrics that can be used to make stylish clothing and accessories. While they are similar in many ways, there are some key differences between them. Alcantara is a synthetic fabric made from polyester and urethane with a soft feel, while suede is made from leather with a slightly rougher texture. Alcantara is more durable and easier to clean than suede, though both fabrics can be used for a variety of clothing and accessories. Ultimately, the choice between alcantara and suede comes down to personal preference and how you plan to use the fabric. Whichever material you choose, it’s sure to make a fashionable statement.

When taking care of either fabric, it’s important to remember that alcantara and suede should be treated with extra care due to their delicate nature. Regularly inspect your garments for signs of fading or wear and tear, and always follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer. With proper care, you can enjoy your alcantara or suede fabrics for years to come.

We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between alcantara and suede.