Name Price QTY Product image
  • :

Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

View cart

Your cart is empty


We’re sure you have heard of it before, along with dozens of other industry terminology, but it's perfectly fine and understandable if you are yet to know what it truly means. Learning your leather know-how is pretty tricky, specially with so many market players bombarding customers with advertising and marketing tactics that often misuse or twist terms to push for sales. No need for further confusion, Linden is Enough is here to explain the different classifications and (bonus!) tell you which leather grade will actually last a lifetime!


Full-grain leather

Full-grain leather is the outer layer or top-most layer of the hide which contains all of the natural and unique characteristics compiled throughout the animal's lifetime - is the crème de la crème of leather grades! As you might imagine the outer layer of the skin is the most resistant as it protects the animal from its environment - this is no different when it becomes finished leather. Full-grain leather is no doubt the strongest and most durable as it leaves all of those tightly knit natural fibers intact during the tanning process. This type of leather’s heavy-duty qualities are immediately noticed on our Duffle or Weekender: sturdy, strong, thick, and beautiful!

It is also the most expensive both for craftsman and customers due to its quality and durability of course, but also because it is an absolute rarity. In order to craft a bag out of full-grain leather the hide must be in very good condition, which goes far beyond leather treatment itself. The animal in question would have had to be raised in great conditions, to result in a great hide without considerable damage due to possible experiences suffered during life.

Full-grain leather is also the most unique as, being that natural top layer, it holds all the history of the animal. Small scuffs, any small differences in coloring or patina, each wrinkle, scratch, and pockmark are preserved when it comes to full-grain leather. Each and every Linden is Enough bag crafted with full-grain leather will be an original, never exactly alike another, each telling its own one-of-a-kind story. We find that simply magical!

Now that you’ve got the gists it's no surprise that our leather of choice is full grain, right? But let’s move on to understand the other grades and get the full break down.


Top-grain leather

Top Grain as the term suggests refers to the upper layer of the hide, and similarly to full-grain is considered one of the most durable leather grade options as it comes from the strongest part of the animal hide. When top grain hide is buffed or altered to remove blemishes, it will have a so-called “corrected” grain, which can vary in stiffness and durability. A particularly desirable and reputable corrected grain that can even rival full grain is for example Nubuck, which is the top grain buffed with a fine sandpaper to reduce imperfections and to give the leather a soft to the touch feel similar to suede, while maintaining the overall strength and structure of full grain leather. This kind of leather is great for shoes for example and can be found on Timberland boots.



Suede also has a lot of great qualities, such as its softness, suppleness and malleability, and is very popular for the crafting of more delicate items. Having had the top layer of the hide removed, suede is more fragile than full-grain leather and inevitably, lacking those think tight fibers, won’t stand the test of time in the same way. But we all love that soft touch and it is after all the natural state of the bottom half of any authentic hide. That's why most of our bags are unlined, such as our leather tote bag, our clutches, and our soft crossbody tote.

So that we can provide our customers with that delicate suede softness we try to line only those items that need inner protection or some added structure, such as the new leather pouch. When it makes sense!


Genuine leather

Now here is when the terminology becomes really tricky as for years the market has been describing genuine leather as something with great quality and eventually even customers began to mistakenly use this term as a synonym of luxury!

In reality, genuine leather is the lowest quality available and can be used to describe various grades of leather, even faux leathers. Most often, it refers to leather which is built upon split hides, which is the most bottom layer of the animal's skin, and, following the logic of what we have been learning here so far, hold the loosest and least durable fibers. Given how wide of a net this umbrella term casts and the fact that it is the cheapest kind of leather available, it is no wonder consumers are the most familiar with this terminology and so often confuse it with quality.

This type of leather is also usually disguised as higher quality leather with the addition of a top-coat of waxes, resins, or synthetic materials to uniform the surfaces. Later they are often even stamped with artificial textures that mimic the appearance of the best quality hides such as full-grain. These kinds of items usually have a plastic-like shine because they have been so intensely altered from their natural state. Additionally, because they receive so much post treatment the color of these hides tend to be completely uniform, with no apparent scuffs or marks, unless artificially created to look like higher quality grades. Keep an eye out when buying leather goods for this almost plastic feel and ‘too-perfect’ look as an indicator of lower quality.

Handmade leather briefcase

If you are looking for top quality, full-grain leather, try identifying features that can be found on our leather Messenger Bags for example, such as sturdy thickness of the leather, a natural feel (and smell), and that gorgeous patina that only true full-grain can have. You won’t regret spending a little more to own an heirloom full-grain item!

We hope this article helps you understand the different possibilities when it comes to leather quality and will be a reference when shopping for quality goods that will last a lifetime. If you have any further questions about leather grades or full-grain leather, do not hesitate to reach out to us. We're always happy to help our customers make happy choices!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


As a small business committed to growth and quality, we wanted to inform you that we will be adjusting our prices in the coming weeks to better support our expansion and our desire for continued improvement. In a gesture of transparency, we would like to give customers the opportunity to purchase Linden Is Enough bags at their current prices before the increase takes effect. Sign up to keep up with future announcements.