How to Tell if a Jacket Is Real Leather?

Real leather jackets look great, they’re durable and last for many years. However, it can sometimes be tricky to tell if a jacket is made from real leather or not. It’s important to know how to spot the difference so you don’t end up paying for something that isn’t authentic. In this article, we’ll answer some commonly asked questions about how to tell if a jacket is real leather, and provide helpful tips.

Check price tag

Check price tag

The first step in determining whether a jacket is real leather or not is to look at the price tag. Real leather usually costs more than other materials, so if the price seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t genuine.[2]

Touch and feel

One of the easiest ways to differentiate between real and faux leather is to touch and feel the material. You’ll immediately note that real leather has a different texture than synthetic materials; it’s usually much softer, has an almost oily quality to it, and a slight pebbly texture depending on the type of hide used. Faux leather is often a lot smoother and more even in texture.

It’s also important to consider the weight of the material.

In general, genuine leather will be heavier than synthetic materials due to its thickness and density; however, some lightweight varieties of real leather such as lambskin are available on the market.[2]

Check The Borders

Looking at the borders of a jacket can be very informative when trying to determine its authenticity. If you’re looking at a leather jacket, there should be no inconsistencies in color or texture around the edges and seams.

Also, pay attention to any extra material such as piping, laces, or trims on the jacket. Many fake leather jackets will use vinyl or plastic to mimic a more expensive material.[2]

Check texture pattern

Check texture pattern

Real leather has a distinct twill or pebbled texture that you can see and feel. Artificial leather may have a consistent plastic-like surface pattern, while genuine leather will have an uneven grain which absorbs the finish differently.

If your jacket is made out of real leather, there should be wrinkles and fold lines that stay even after the material is stretched out. Natural leather will also have small pores or scars that are unique to each hide, unlike bonded leather or synthetic materials.[2]

If pushed, genuine leather creases

When pressed, genuine leather should crease easily and show signs of wrinkles. If the jacket does not crease or wrinkles very little when pushed, it is likely a synthetic product. Try pushing on different parts of the surface to check for flexibility and ease of creasing.[2]

Check out the price label

Price is a good indicator of what kind of leather you’re dealing with. If the jacket is labeled as genuine leather and it’s priced very low, chances are it’s not real. On the other hand, if the jacket is priced surprisingly high for its label, it could be a sign that you’re looking at fake leather or something that has been overpriced to look like a better deal.[1]

A genuine leather jacket resists cracking

A major indicator that you have a genuine leather jacket is the absence of cracking or stiffness in the material. Genuine leather becomes more flexible with wear but it will not crack, unlike faux leather which tends to become brittle over time. Another indicator of real leather is its odor; even after years of use, a genuine leather jacket should still retain the smell of leather.[1]

Set it ablaze

One of the oldest tests for determining if leather is genuine is to set a small sample alight. If it’s real, it will have a smell like burned hair and solidify upon cooling. The problem however is that setting things on fire is dangerous and can damage the item you’re testing. It’s not recommended that you do this test at home unless under strict safety guidelines.[1]

Smell the Leather

Smell the Leather

One way to tell if your jacket is real leather is to smell it. Genuine leather has a unique scent that artificial or faux leather does not. A great way to figure out if you have authentic leather is to go and take a whiff of some genuine leather in another item like furniture before heading back to inspect your jacket.[1]

Water absorbance test

When it comes to checking the authenticity of leather, the water absorbance test is one of the most reliable methods. To perform this test, moisten a cotton swab or cloth and lightly dab it on an area of your jacket that doesn’t easily show wetness. If the surface is genuine leather, you should notice slight darkening in the spot where you applied the moisture.

When it comes to synthetic leathers, they won’t absorb any water at all and will remain dry and unchanged. However, some fake leather may also absorb a bit of water, so you should take other factors into consideration as well.[1]

Check edges

The edges of real leather are usually smooth and will slightly curl up. To check, you can run your fingers along the edge to feel for any rough spots or seams. If the edges are hard, stiff and don’t have a natural curve to them, then it’s likely not genuine leather.[1]

Fire test

You can also perform a fire test if you want to check the authenticity of a leather jacket. To do this, take an inconspicuous area of the garment and carefully pass it over a flame. If it is real leather, the fiber will stay intact and won’t get burned or melt away. However, if it is not genuine leather, it will ignite and burn away. Keep in mind that this test is quite risky and should only be done with extreme care, as it can cause damage to the garment if not done properly.[3]

Bend comparison

Bend comparison

When using the bend comparison test for determining if a jacket is real leather, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Does the material crease when bent? Real leather should have some creasing along the bends.
  • Is there any cracking or peeling of the material? If so, it’s likely not real leather.
  • Does the material remain cool to the touch? Real leather should not feel hot after being bent.
  • Does it smell like genuine leather? Real leather should have a distinct, warm smell.[3]

Weight check

One of the easiest ways to determine whether a jacket is made from real leather or not is to check its weight. Genuine leather jackets are usually thicker and heavier than faux leather ones, since real leather holds more body heat and doesn’t have any type of plastic backing like fake leather does. Of course, it’s possible that some faux leather might be heavier than real leather, but it’s unlikely.

To be sure, compare the weight of the jacket in question with another known genuine leather jacket. If they weigh about the same, then chances are that your jacket is made from real leather.[3]

Differences Between Real and Fake Leather Jackets

Knowing how to spot real leather is essential when shopping for a leather jacket. There are several ways to tell the difference between real and fake leathers.

Firstly, you should look at the texture of the material. Genuine leather will have a very distinct grain pattern that cannot be replicated in fake leathers. Fake leathers tend to have a more uniform pattern than genuine leather.

Second, you should look at the color of the leather jacket. Real leather will have a slightly darker color and it may even have some natural markings from its previous life. Fake leathers usually come in uniform shades and don’t have any unique characteristics that make them stand out from other materials.

Thirdly, you should also consider the smell of the leather. Real leather will have a strong, natural smell that cannot be replicated in fake leathers. Fake leathers tend to have a chemical or plastic-like odor that is not present in genuine leather.

Finally, you should also look for signs of damage on the jacket. Genuine leather jackets are more prone to wear and tear over time, so they may have scratches, discolouration or other signs of damage. Fake leathers do not usually have such marks as they are made to look perfect and new for a longer period of time.[3]


How can you tell what kind of leather a jacket is?

The easiest way to tell what kind of leather a jacket is, is by looking at the label. Many jackets will have a label with information about the type of leather used. Some labels may also include general information such as “Real Leather” or “Genuine Leather” which indicate that the material is real animal hide and not an imitation material.

What is a real leather jacket?

A real leather jacket is made from animal hide, such as cowhide, deer hide, or sheepskin. It has been tanned and treated to make it more durable and resistant to water and wear. Real leather jackets will generally be heavier than other materials and have a distinctive smell. They will also become softer with age as the natural oils in the leather are released.

Does fake leather smell?

Fake leather, such as PVC, PU or other synthetic materials, do not have the same smell or texture as real leather. They are often treated with chemicals to give them a similar smell and look. These chemicals can sometimes be detected when sniffing close to the jacket.

Is it OK to wear real leather?

It is perfectly acceptable to wear real leather, as long as it has been ethically sourced. Most ethical retailers will label their jackets with information about where the material was sourced from. It’s important to be aware that some countries have very low standards for animal welfare when producing leather products and should be avoided.

Does cheap leather smell bad?

Cheap leather may not be of the same quality as more expensive pieces, but it should still have a pleasant smell. If you find that a jacket has an unpleasant or strong odor, it could indicate that the leather is of a lower quality and may not last for very long. It is best to avoid purchasing a jacket with an overwhelming smell, as it could be an indication of poor quality.

Does the leather smell ever go away?

The natural smell of leather does not usually go away over time, but it may become less noticeable as the jacket is worn. It is possible to use leather conditioners and cleaners to reduce or eliminate odors, but these products should be used sparingly so as not to damage the material.

How should real leather smell?

Real leather will often have a natural, musky smell that is not unpleasant. It can also be described as earthy or smoky, depending on the type of leather used and how it has been tanned. Some people may find the smell off-putting, but this is generally an indication that the material is genuine.

How do you smell real leather?

The best way to smell real leather is to cup your hands around the garment and take a few deep breaths. Focus on the scent and try to identify any notes that may indicate that it is genuine. If you still can’t tell, you can always ask an expert for help or take the jacket to a professional leather cleaner who should be able to provide advice on how to tell if a jacket is real leather.

Useful Video: Real vs fake Leather. How to spot faux Leather jacket material


Now that you know the basic tips on how to tell if a jacket is real leather, it should be easier for you to make an informed decision when shopping for jackets. Remember that even genuine leather can look cheap or fake when made poorly, so always check the quality of stitching and other details before investing in one.

Finally, as with anything else in life, some knowledge and common sense can go a long way when it comes to buying real leather jackets. Make sure you always do your research before purchasing one – it’ll help you save money and get yourself the best quality product available.Happy shopping!