The Blog

Leather 101: A Breakdown of Our Leathers

Leather 101: A Breakdown of Our Leathers

The rich smell, supple feel, and unique patina that develops over time are some of the best things about owning a full grain leather wallet. These characteristics only come with the highest quality leather goods, and ensuring that each product we send out meets the finest standards is something we take very seriously. We wanted to provide our readers with an explanation of our full grain leather and the various leathers we use, so it’s easy to see why our leather products are unsurpassed in quality and durability.

Full Grain Leather

To start with, let’s talk about what full grain leather is not. Other kinds of leather, like top grain, split grain, or enhanced grain, are made from a process involving separating or sanding down at least one layer of the hide to remove any natural imperfections and create uniformity. This process results in the leather becoming much more fragile and less breathable than full grain leather. Additionally, these types of leather have artificial grain stamped into them because no genuine grain remains, and they are most often covered with a finishing coat that creates a plastic feel and prevents any patina from developing. These leathers are easier for manufacturers to work with, so they are cheaper and much lower quality than full grain leather.

In opposition, each of our leather products is made of full grain leather. This type of leather comes from the top layer of the hide, meaning that all the layers are intact and the natural grain is included. Full grain leather is the highest quality grade of leather available. It is extremely strong and durable, and its natural surface means that each leather product is beautifully unique and individual. Another advantage of full grain leather is its extreme breathability, resulting in far less moisture from prolonged contact than other leathers. Our full grain leather has no plastic finishing coat, allowing the leather to develop a rich patina, or a softly weathered sheen, rather than breaking down as it ages.

Full grain leather can be used in making several specific types of leather; each type has particular qualities that are utilized to their full potential in our products. At Andar, we use three specific types of leather—vintage leather, nappa leather, and oil waxed leather—to best complement our goods.

Vintage Leather

All our wallets are made from a specific type of full grain leather called vintage leather. Vintage leather is produced by applying wax to a full grain cowhide leather. This wax complements and enhances the fibers in the leather, so that when the wallet is scratched or rubbed, it develops a rugged, antique appearance. The wax also adds to the water resistance and durability of the full grain leather. Additionally, vintage leather absorbs the oils from your hands, which aids in the development of your wallet’s distinct patina.

Nappa Leather

A select number of our leather products (like The Capsule in Black and Navy Blue) are made from nappa leather. This type of leather got its name because it was first produced in Napa, California. Nappa leather is extremely soft and pliable; but because it’s also made from full grain leather, it’s just as tough and durable as it is smooth and supple. This trait makes nappa leather the material of choice for luxury car furnishings, and it’s perfect for our on-the-go products like The Porter. Nappa leather is dyed with water-soluble colorants so that the leather will retain its rich color. This combination of vibrancy and pliability make nappa leather another highly desirable category of full grain leather.

Oil Waxed Leather

Several of our products—namely The ChaseThe CaddyThe MarshalThe Fitz, and The Capsule in Tan and Whiskey Brown—are made from our premium oil waxed leather. This type of leather is produced by applying an oily wax to smoothed-out full grain leather. This oil makes the leather extremely soft, supple, and moisture-resistant. It’s ideal for the development of an antique-looking patina that tells a story of where the leather has been with you. The applied wax is often tinted, which makes for very richly colored leather.

Caring for Leather

Full grain leather is specially designed to develop a beautiful patina, so that each scratch and rub gives the leather character and shows its individual story. Of course, some people prefer to keep their leather looking fresh and new. We offer a handmade Leather Cream to restore your wallet to its original look and keep it waterproofed and supple. Using our Leather Cream and following our directions for taking care of your full grain leather will ensure that the leather stays looking pristine through its long lifetime.

The Bottom Line

At Andar, we don’t just provide quality leather goods; we provide the full leather experience. Our meticulously polished products are made from the best grade of full grain leather to ensure that the look, feel, and even smell of each product is true to the finest that leather can provide. Best of all, our leather products age and develop right along with you—the more you use one of our products, the better it looks and feels. Shop our selection of rich leather goods here.