The Blog

What Is Cork Leather?

what is cork leather

Are you curious about ‘What is cork leather?'

Cork leather, a vegan alternative to traditional leather, is crafted from the bark of cork oak trees. It's lightweight, water-resistant, and hypoallergenic as well as perfect for fashion, accessories, and even furniture upholstery.

If you're wondering, ‘What is responsible leather?' Our findings reveal that cork leather is both durable and eco-friendly, aligning seamlessly with the values of eco-conscious consumers.

At Andar, we specialize in handcrafted full-grain leather products and cork versions and are here to guide you through the wonders of cork leather.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the benefits, uses, and comparisons of this remarkable material.

Let's get started!

What this article covers:

What Is Cork Leather?

Cork leather, also known as cork fabric, is a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional leather.

If you're wondering, ‘What is natural leather?' cork leather is an all-natural material made from the bark of cork oak trees. Additionally, it's a naturally hypoallergenic, water-resistant, and lightweight material.

Cork leather embodies resilience and environmental consciousness, aligning seamlessly with our brand's values at Andar. Unlike animal leather, cork leather is cruelty-free and biodegradable, making it an ethical choice for conscious consumers.

At Andar, we incorporate cork leather into our slim wallets for men, offering our customers trendy and renewable options for their everyday carry essentials.

For instance, the cork version of The Freeman wallet here Andar is an ideal carrying companion due to its unique properties. After trying out this product, cork's natural water resistance enhances its suitability during outdoor activities, ensuring that The Freeman remains intact in various weather conditions.

How Is Cork Leather Made?

Making cork leather starts with harvesting the bark of cork oak trees. Once harvested, the bark is dried for six months, steamed, boiled, and cut into thin sheets. These sheets are then attached to a fabric backing, creating a robust and versatile material.

What Are the Benefits of Cork Leather?

Below, we've outlined the advantages of cork leather in comparison to traditional leather:

Table: Benefits Of Cork Leather


Cork Leather

Traditional Leather


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Smooth
  • Soft and luxurious feel
  • Durable and long-lasting material
  • Naturally water-resistant
  • Often heavier and bulkier depending on leather grain
  • Requires initial breaking in
  • Develops aesthetically-pleasing marks and patina
  • More susceptible to water damage
  • Requires treatments and special products leather to protect against damage


  • Harvested from cork oak trees without harm to the tree
  • Promotes biodiversity
  • Full-grain leather is biodegradable
  • Shift towards producing vegan leather products from Saguaro cactus that are eco-friendly


  • Cruelty-free
  • Doesn't involve animal use or suffering
  • Contributes positively to environment and society
  • Involves some animal use and potential suffering


Cork leather offers numerous physical advantages over traditional leather. It's lightweight, making it easy to carry, in contrast to its bulkier traditional leather counterparts. If you want to know ‘What is breathable leather?', cork leather is extremely porous and breathable, effectively absorbing and releasing moisture.

Moreover, cork leather boasts a smooth, soft texture, providing a luxurious feel from the start. Conversely, traditional leather can often be rough and requires breaking in to achieve a similar level of comfort.

In terms of durability, cork leather is a resilient material, outperforming traditional leather, which may wear out faster with time.

Finally, cork leather is naturally water-resistant, offering protection against water damage. Conversely, traditional leather is more susceptible to such damage and requires specific treatments to prevent the material from warping.


Cork leather stands out for its eco-conscious properties, making it a sustainable choice for conscious consumers.

Our investigation demonstrated that cork leather is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees without harming the tree, allowing it to regenerate. This process is not only environmentally friendly but also promotes biodiversity in cork oak forests.


When it comes to ethics, cork leather shines as a cruelty-free alternative to animal leather. Based on our observations, the production of cork leather doesn't involve the use of animals or contribute to animal suffering.

At Andar, we prioritize offering high-quality products that not only meet our customers' needs but also contribute positively to the environment and society.

For instance, we also produce renewable and vegan-friendly leather wallets and iPhone leather cases made from the Saguaro cactus, such as The Pilot, The Apollo, and The Aspen in Blanc.

By incorporating cork leather and other renewable materials into our range, we provide stylish and sustainable options for those seeking ethical alternatives to traditional leather.

what is cork leather

How Do You Maintain Cork Leather?

To maintain cork leather, including products like The Freeman minimalist wallet, we recommend regular cleaning and conditioning.

Start by wiping the surface with a damp, microfiber cloth to gently remove dirt and stains. Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the material, using our Andar leather cleaner instead.

Next, allow the cork leather to air dry naturally, avoiding direct sunlight and heat sources. We recommend periodically applying The Leather Cream to keep it supple and prevent drying out.

Drawing from our experience, our leather conditioner (which can be found in The Leather Care Kit) can maintain The Freeman's integrity and prolong its lifespan.

With proper care, your cork leather products can easily retain their beauty and functionality for years to come.

Cork Leather vs. Animal and Other Plant-Based Vegan Leathers Leathers

When comparing cork leather, animal-based leathers, and other plant-based vegan leathers like Saguaro cactus leather, cork stands out as a superior choice for several reasons.

Table: Cork Leather Vs. Other Leathers


Cork Leather

Animal-based Leathers

Plant-based Vegan Leathers (e.g., Saguaro Cactus)

Material Source

  • Bark of cork oak trees
  • Animal hides
  • Saguaro cactus leaves

Environmental Impact

  • Sustainable
  • Renewable
  • Eco-friendly
  • High Carbon Footprint
  • Result of Deforestation
  • Leads To Water Pollution
  • Renewable
  • Drought-resistant
  • Biodegradable
  • Encourages cactus re-growth and conservation

Animal Welfare

  • Cruelty-free
  • No Animals Harmed
  • Involves Animal Slaughter
  • Cruelty-free
  • No Animals Harmed


  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Varies depending on the animal, leather grain, and tanning process
  • Saguaro cactus is both robust and flexible

Our expertise in crafting leather goods like The Freeman wallet has shown that cork leather and Saguaro cactus leather outperform animal-based leathers in environmental impact and require less maintenance.

What Is Cork Leather FAQs

Is Cork Leather Biodegradable?

Our research indicates that cork leather is a renewable material that naturally decomposes over time without harming the environment. When disposed of, cork leather products break down organically, reducing their ecological footprint.

This characteristic aligns with our Andar commitment to promoting environmentally friendly alternatives in our products.

How Is Cork Leather Dyed?

Based on our observations, cork leather can be dyed in various colors using vegetable dyes and organic backings that are non-toxic and eco-conscious, allowing for customization and versatility in design.

The dyeing process for cork leather involves using natural pigments or water-based dyes, further enhancing its renewability.

Here's what you need to do to dye cork:

  1. Cover your work area with a cloth to avoid spillage of any dyes or pigments. Place a few folded paper towels on top of the table cover as well.
  2. Clean the cork surface using a damp, microfiber cloth to remove dust and debris. Then dry the cork pieces thoroughly with a second, microfiber cloth.
  3. Add the dye or pigment (about 1 tablespoon) to a large and rectangular plastic container filled with one cup of water, then mix well with a wooden spoon.
  4. Put on rubber gloves and place the cork leather pieces into the container with the water and dye or pigment. There should be ample space for each piece to allow the dye to fully permeate their surfaces.
  5. Remove the cork leather from the plastic container after 5-10 minutes or when it's reached the requisite darkened shade.
  6. Place the wet cork leather pieces onto the paper towels and leave them to air-dry on the first side for a few hours. When one side is completely dry, flip the piece over on the paper towel and continue air-drying the second side.
thin wallets for men


In this blog post, we've explored 'What is cork leather?' and its remarkable benefits such as sustainability, resilience, and style.

Now, you can join us at Andar in embracing eco-friendly luxury to redefine your look with our handcrafted full-grain leather products - as well as their cork versions.

Let's make a positive impact together, one trendy accessory at a time!

If you want to learn more, why not check out these articles below: