What Is Split Leather?

What Is Split Leather?

When researching the different types of leather, you may come across a particular variety known as split leather. Based on the name alone, it’s difficult — if not impossible — to determine what exactly this means. To make things even more confusing, very few products are made using split leather. If you’re still scratching your head trying to understand what split leather is, keep reading for a breakdown of the term.

Leather is typically sold in one of four different forms: full-grain, top-grain, corrected-grain and split. Products made of the highest quality leather are full-grain, which means it has not been buffed or sanded down in any way shape or form. This preserves its strength and durability while also keeping its genuine leather appearance. Top-grain, on the other hand, is a slightly lower quality of leather in which the split layer is removed and the surface is sanded or buffed down.

Unique leather type

A third type of leather is corrected grain, which as the name suggests, has an artificial grain added to the surface. You might be wondering why anyone would want to add a grain to the surface of a leather rawhide. Well, if the leather was low-quality, adding a grain may improve its function and appearance.  Corrected-grain leather still pales in comparison to full and top-grain, but it’s still a common technique used by leather workers today.

The fourth and final type of leather is split leather.  Split leather is unique in the sense that it’s the only type of leather made from the fibrous area of the cow hide that’s leftover from the processing of top-grain. When the leather is split, the top-grain and drop splits separate. The leather worker can then split the drop split into two more pieces: a middle split and a flesh split. This split leather typically has an artificial grain applied to the surface to mimic the characteristics of other, higher quality leather.

In conclusion

So, what types of products are made using split leather? While there are always exceptions to this rule, you’ll generally find that work gloves and some boots/shoes feature it. Because the quality is sub-par when compared to top-grain and full-grain, however, it’s rarely used in the production of jackets, belts, handbags or other accessories.