Leather vs. Patent Leather: What’s the Difference?

Leather vs. Patent Leather: What’s the Difference?

Leather vs. patent leather; it’s a question that has been asked by many, and answered by few. What’s the difference between the two? How can you tell them apart? Which one is better? In this comprehensive guide, we will answer all of those questions and more. We will explore the history of both leather and patent leather, discuss the various types of each, and give you some tips on how to choose the right type for your needs. So, let’s get started!

Genuine Leather in General

Genuine leather is a natural material made from animal hide. It comes in many forms, including cowhide, sheepskin, and goatskin. The hides are treated with chemicals before being tanned to create the desired finished product. Genuine leather is usually thicker than other types of materials and can be dyed into any number of colors or finishes. It’s highly durable and able to withstand regular wear and tear better than most synthetic fabrics. Leather also has a unique character that makes it one of the most popular fabrics for clothing, furniture, bags, shoes, and accessories.

Genuine leather is one of the most popular materials used in clothing, footwear, and other fashion accessories. Offering a timeless look, genuine leather exudes quality and sophistication that never goes out of style.

Genuine Leather in General

Apart from its stylish appearance, genuine leather is incredibly sturdy and durable. It can be treated to withstand even the toughest of climates or conditions, making it perfect for outdoor use such as camping or hiking trips. Genuine leather also comes in a variety of colors and finishes to suit any preference or occasion.

Another great thing about genuine leather is its breathability – it naturally allows air to circulate between the fibers which prevents body heat from being trapped inside the material as synthetic materials do. This makes it an ideal choice for footwear and clothing, ensuring your feet stay cool while looking stylish. [1] [2]

Patent Leather in General

Patent leather is a type of leather that has been treated with a special coating or resin to make it shiny, hard, and waterproof. This process originated in the 1800s in America. While patent leather can be made from any type of animal hide, most often it is made from synthetic products, which significantly reduces production costs. The shine and slick finish are what make patent leather stand out from other types of leather.

Patent leather is usually used for dress shoes, bags, belts, and wallets as well as accessories like keychains and jewelry boxes. It’s also commonly found on furniture such as chairs and sofas. The glossy finish and durability of patent leather make it an ideal material for these items. [1] [2] [3]

Comparison of the Genuine Leather and Patent Leather

As you can see, both genuine leather and patent leather have their own unique qualities. Both are incredibly durable and can last for years with proper care, but the main difference between these two types of leather lies in their look and feel. In this section, we’ll compare and contrast the two types of leather in terms of their main characteristics.

Patent Leather in General


When considering buying a leather item, appearance is usually one of the first considerations.

Genuine leather is a natural material derived from animal hides. It is characterized by its unique grain pattern, which results in an aesthetically pleasing finish. The thickness of genuine leather varies and can be soft and supple or rigid, depending on the type of hide used. Genuine leather also has considerable breathability, durability, flexibility, and strength when it’s properly maintained.

The grain pattern on the leather as well as the natural markings adds to its aesthetic appeal. The color of genuine leather is usually darker and slightly more muted when compared to other types of leather, such as patent leather.

Patent leather, on the other hand, has a glossy finish and look. Its striking shine is what makes it stand out in comparison to genuine leather. It is made with an embossed layer of plastic coating that gives it its characteristic sheen and color. Genuine patent leather items are often more expensive than regular leather due to their special treatment process and luxurious look. However, nowadays faux patent leather is also available at a more reasonable price.

The glossiness of patent leather makes it an eye-catching choice for shoes, bags, jackets, and other fashion accessories – its unique shine makes it stand out in any outfit! So, in terms of appearance, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a leather item. Genuine leather is more subtle and natural, while patent leather has a glossy finish and look that can be appealing to those who are looking for something bolder and more eye-catching.


Breathability is one of the most important factors to consider when buying leather items. You want your leather item to breathe and be able to release moisture, sweat, and heat from your body.

Genuine leather is a naturally porous material that allows air to pass through it easily. This makes it a great choice for items such as shoes or jackets that need to be worn close to the body. The breathability of genuine leather has made it a preferred material in the fashion industry since ancient times.

Patent leather, on the other hand, is not as breathable due to its plastic coating layer. Its glossy finish and coating also prevent air circulation and make it less ideal for items such as shoes or jackets that need to be worn close to the body.

Comparison of the Genuine Leather and Patent Leather


When purchasing an expensive item, such as a leather jacket or pair of shoes, it is important to consider the durability of the leather. After all, you want your luxury purchase to last!

Genuine leather is known for its durability, as it is strong and can withstand wear and tear over time. However, it’s very vulnerable to elements such as water, heat, and UV rays. To maintain your genuine leather item in good condition, it needs to be regularly conditioned and protected with a waterproofing spray. With proper care, you should expect your genuine leather item to last for many years. Patent leather has its own unique characteristics that make it more resistant to environmental factors than genuine leather. It is coated with a plastic material which gives it its glossy finish and helps protect the leather from stains due to exposure to sunlight or rain. 

However, this coating can wear off over time if not properly maintained, so regular care and conditioning are still important for keeping patent leather items looking great for years to come.

And another thing to note is the patent leather coating is more vulnerable to scratches and discoloration than genuine leather. Luckily this can be avoided by proper handling and care.

Stain resistance

Leather is a natural material that is both durable and luxurious. However, not all leather items are created equal when it comes to stain resistance. Depending on the leather grade or tannage used in its production, some leathers may be more prone to staining than others. Stains can be incredibly hard to remove from genuine leather and can involve complicated cleaning and conditioning processes.

Genuine leather can get stained even by water, so if you’re looking for something that is more stain-resistant, then patent leather may be the better choice.

Patent leather is typically more stain-resistant than genuine leather. Again, this is because patent leather has a protective coating that repels liquids, dust, and dirt. As long as you avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals on your patent leather items, they should remain relatively stain-proof.

Stain resistance

Water resistance

This leads us to another factor when it comes to water resistance, genuine leather is not as water-resistant as patent leather. Genuine leather has a tendency to absorb moisture, while patent leather is designed to repel it. Water can strip the leather of the natural oils it needs to stay soft and supple. Genuine leather, even the highest quality full-grain leather, needs to be treated with a water-resistant coating or sealant in order to withstand the elements and everyday wear and tear.

Patent leather, on the other hand, is naturally water-resistant and does not require any additional treatment. The plastic coating that gives it its glossy finish also protects it from moisture and dirt, which makes patent leather great for outdoor use and all-weather applications. Still, it’s not 100% water-proof; heavy rain and standing water can still seep through the coating eventually.

Scratch resistance

We have discussed that genuine leather and patent leather have their own distinct qualities when it comes to durability, stain resistance, and water resistance. But what about scratch resistance?

Genuine leather is known for its hardwearing nature and can usually withstand scratches without damage. Depending on the quality of the leather, some may be more resistant to scratches than others. However, no matter how high-quality your genuine leather item is, prolonged use will eventually take a toll and begin to show signs of wear. Patent leather , while durable, is less resistant to scratches than genuine leather. This is due to the plastic coating that gives it its glossy finish, which can be easily scratched and damaged if not handled carefully. To prevent damage from appearing, make sure to take extra precautions when using patent leather items. Careful handling and proper storage will help keep your patent leather looking great for years to come.

Color transferring is also an issue with patent leather. The plastic coating can be prone to fading and discoloration with prolonged exposure to the sun, dampness, or chemicals found in some cleaners. To maintain its original color, it is important to keep your patent leather items away from direct sunlight and heat sources and clean only with cleaning products specifically designed for patent leather.


You will need to maintain both genuine leather and patent leather in order to keep them looking their best. However, the way you go about it with each type of leather is different. Genuine leather maintenance consists mainly of using a quality leather conditioner once every couple of months in order to keep the material soft and supple, as well as prevent cracking and fading. Cleaning genuine leather is also harder than patent leather, as it should not be exposed to too much water and harsh chemicals. Patent leather, on the other hand, is quite low-maintenance due to the protective coating that prevents it from getting dirty or stained easily. However, if you do get dirt on your patent leather shoes, you should use a damp cloth with mild soap to clean them off and then buff them with a soft cloth. Still, usually just brushing the patent leather with a soft cloth is enough to keep it in great condition.


The smell is one of the key factors in determining quality. of leather items Genuine leather always has a distinct and pleasant natural smell that makes it a prized item. On the other hand, patent leather usually has no scent or odor similar to plastic. This can be attributed to its synthetic construction, as the material is not naturally derived from animals like genuine leather. 

The smell of genuine leather can also help you identify how well it has been processed and tanned by the manufacturers. High-quality pieces will have a natural smell that might make you think of soil. In contrast, low-grade products may emit an unpleasant scent reminiscent of chemicals used in tanning processes or factories.

When it comes to patent leather, the smell is usually caused by the synthetic materials used in its production. These materials are often composed of plastic or vinyl that has a chemical odor. This can be unappealing and may overwhelm some buyers.

However, compared to patent leather, genuine leather absorbs smells more easily. This means that if you keep a leather item in an environment with unpleasant smells, it may take on those odors. Therefore, it is important to store leather items in a well-ventilated area and away from any strong-smelling objects or substances.


Hue and color variety

When it comes to color and hue, genuine leather is available in a wide variety of colors, from classic black to vibrant red. Still, the selection is limited only to the natural hues of leather. This can make it harder to achieve a specific color for your outfit or to match it with other pieces of furniture.

Patent leather, on the other hand, is available in a much greater variety of colors and hues. You can easily find the exact shade you need without having to worry about whether it will match your other furniture.


Be it shoes or a purse, the feel and texture of the leather are one of its most important aspects. Since you will be touching and handling it frequently, it’s important to choose a type of leather that will feel comfortable on your skin. And there’s a pretty big difference between the feel of genuine leather and patent leather. 

Genuine leather is well-known for its buttery softness and can easily mold to your body shape, providing a more comfortable experience. It’s incredibly soft and often has a more natural look and feel. The sleek texture of the leather makes it perfect for classic and timeless designs.

On the other hand, patent leather has a much smoother surface that feels harder to the touch. Instead of being soft and pliable like genuine leather, patent leather is stiffer and almost plastic-like in texture. It’s also shinier than genuine leather, making it great for more contemporary or edgy looks.

But the most unfortunate thing is that because of its protective coating, patent leather feels sticky even after you’ve worn it for a few hours, which can make it more uncomfortable to wear in comparison to genuine leather.


The price of genuine leather and patent leather also plays a major role in deciding which type to buy. Genuine leather is generally more expensive than patent leather, but it can be well worth the investment if you choose wisely.

High-quality genuine leather comes with a hefty price tag because of its durability and natural characteristics. On the other hand, cheaper materials such as faux or bonded leather fall under the same category as genuine leather but are much less expensive and come with fewer features.

Patent leather, on the other hand, is usually made with synthetic materials that offer good protection against external elements like water or dirt. This makes them more affordable than genuine items and an excellent option for those who are looking for a budget-friendly choice.

In terms of affordability and quality, patent leather is usually the winner here. However, if you invest in a good quality genuine leather item, the difference in price may be worth it for its looks and longevity. You can also look for sales or discounts on high-end items to get better value for your money. [1] [2] [3]


Does patent leather scratch easily?

While patent leather has a smooth, shiny finish that makes it attractive and eye-catching, it doesn’t hold up to scratches as well as genuine leather. The surface of patent leather is covered with a synthetic coating that can be easily scratched with sharp objects like keys or jewelry, leaving permanent marks. However, the scratches may not be as visible on dark shades of patent leather like black or navy blue.

It is possible to buff out some of the scratches on patent leather with an eraser and patent leather polish, but it won’t be as effective as buffing genuine leather. However, if you want to maintain the glossy finish of your patent leather shoes or accessories, regular cleaning and polishing are recommended.

How to protect the leather from water damage?

Leather is a naturally porous material, and therefore susceptible to water damage. To help protect the leather from water damage, it is important to use a good quality waterproofing spray or cream that is specifically designed for the type of leather being treated. This will help form a protective barrier that will repel most liquids from penetrating and damaging the leather. Additionally, you should also condition your leather regularly with a proper conditioner to prevent it from cracking and drying out over time. Regularly cleaning your leather items can also help maintain their appearance and longevity.

Does patent leather scratch easily?

Which is better: patent leather or leather?

When it comes to deciding between patent leather and genuine leather, there is no clear-cut answer. The best option for you depends on your own particular needs, preferences, budget, and style.

Patent leather offers a unique look that can be difficult to achieve with traditional leather. It has an extra glossy finish which can add an eye-catching touch to an outfit. Patent leather is also more durable than regular leather, making it last longer with less maintenance needed. However, because of its shiny coating, patent leather may be more prone to scratches and scuffs than regular leather and lacks breathability.

Leather is the most common material used in shoes and accessories due to its pliability and durability. Generally speaking, genuine leather products will last longer than those made from synthetic materials. Leather also generally has a softer feel, which many people find more comfortable to wear. It can also be easily customized with dyes or other treatments for a unique look.

Is patent leather genuine leather?

Patent leather is a type of leather that has been treated with a layer of plastic or varnish. This treatment gives patent leather its high shine and glossy texture which makes it easily distinguishable from genuine leather.

Nowadays, patent leather is faux leather, meaning it is not 100% genuine leather. But you too can find patent leather made of genuine leather, even though it is not very common. This is because genuine patent leather needs special treatment that makes it expensive and time-consuming to produce.

Is patent leather waterproof?

Patent leather while it does offer a certain degree of water resistance, is not waterproof. It can withstand light rain and minor splashes; however if exposed to large amounts of water or moisture, the leather will eventually become saturated and start to show signs of wear over time. While it is not as waterproof as genuine leather, patent leather still offers excellent protection from spills and stains due to its smooth surface which makes cleaning up messes much easier.

Is patent leather waterproof?

The protective coating on patent leather also makes it more resistant to dirt and dust compared to genuine leather, making it easier to keep your shoes looking pristine.

Does patent leather hold up well?

Patent leather is known for its superior durability; it has a glossy finish that makes it resistant to wear and tear. It’s also more resistant to scratches and scuffs than genuine leather, so it can last much longer if properly cared for.

However, its high shine can make it prone to scratches and scuffs, so if you’re looking for something more durable than regular leather, patent leather may not be the best choice. To help preserve the glossy finish of your patent leather shoes or accessories, you should use proper cleaning and maintenance products specifically designed for this type of material. Additionally, storing your patent leather items in cloth bags or boxes will also help protect them from getting scratched up over time.

Useful Video: Patent Leather


When it comes to choosing an ideal leather for your shoes, purse, or another accessory, it’s important to know the differences between genuine leather and patent leather. Genuine leather is a classic material that is durable and can be seen in everything from purses to jackets. Patent leather has a glossy finish that makes it stand out more than genuine leather. Both types of leather are popular choices for garments and accessories, but they each have their own characteristics that make them suitable for different purposes.

Genuine leather is usually more expensive than patent leather due to its longevity. It also requires occasional maintenance such as cleaning and conditioning in order to maintain its appearance over time. Still, when cleaning is needed, then much more care must be taken when caring for genuine leather than with patent leather.

In addition, it’s hard to replicate the natural looks, feel, and smell of genuine leather – making it the preferred choice for fashionistas and luxury lovers.

Patent leather has a glossy finish that makes it stand out more than other leathers and it also helps with stain and water resistance. Patent leather is often used to make shoes and purses that want to look more luxurious or dressy. It’s also a great choice for individuals who are looking for an easy-care material that doesn’t require as much maintenance as genuine leather.

Ultimately, whether you choose genuine or patent leather depends entirely on your own personal preferences and what type of material best suits your needs. Both types of leather offer great benefits and can be used to create beautiful accessories that will last for years to come. Consider the features of each before making your decision so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and tastes. We hope this comprehensive guide to leather vs patent leather helps you make an informed choice! Thanks for reading!


  1. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-6/Patent-Leather.html
  2. https://favoredleather.com/patent-leather-vs-leather/
  3. https://www.carlfriedrik.com/int/magazine/patent-leather