Nubuck Leather: Guide to Its Unique Features and Care

Published February 26, 2021
Nubuck leather guide

Nubuck leather is sometimes used for handbags. You can find several nubuck leather handbags in various popular styles.

History of Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather wasn't very popular when it was first introduced to the market in the early 1930s. It wasn't considered a very sophisticated leather to wear. In fact, it wasn't until a royal visit by the Duke of Windsor that Americans embraced nubuck leather. That was all due to the Duke wearing a pair of nubuck Oxfords. The nubuck oxfords were soon all the rage for the fashion conscious.

What Is Nubuck Leather?

Originally, nubuck leather was made from the hide of a deer or elk. The hide is often referred to as buckskin. It doesn't require much deductive reasoning to surmise the word nubuck was the compound word for new buckskin.

How Is Nubuck Leather Made?

Nubuck leather is made from calfskin, specifically, the outer layer. The outer layer of the hide is sanded or buffed. The sanding or buffing process can reveal imperfections in the hide. These flaws in the hide are usually dyed or stained so they aren't noticeable.

Sanding leather

Top Grain Calfskin Process

Nubuck leather is made from top grain calf hide. The grain side, which is the outside of the hide, is used. The hide is sanded or sometimes it is buffed. The process of sanding or buffing the calfskin makes the leather give the hide a short nap texture. The nap texture gives the leather a velvety finish. Nubuck has excellent wearability. Depending on the calf, the nubuck leather may have varied colors, including white.

Attributes of Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather is soft to the touch, which gives it a pleasing tactile appeal over other leathers. However, it can also be scratched, but perhaps not as easily as its cousin, suede leather.

Will Water Damage Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck leather can withstand a few drops of rain without discoloring. However, it isn't naturally impervious to water, so if your nubuck purse gets wet in the rain, it will discolor. The discoloration should be temporary. Fortunately, once your purse dries, it should return to the original color. Some purse owners state they use a waterproofing spray on their nubuck leather purses. You should always check with the manufacturer's label and information about cleaners and waterproofing sprays before using any.

Nubuck vs. Suede

Nubuck and suede leathers are often confused since they have the same kind of velvety finish. As a general rule, nubuck leather costs more than suede leather.

Why Nubuck Leather Costs More Than Suede

The outer layer of the calfskin is tougher than the inner part that suede leather is made from. The more durable leather, nubuck, is typical of the more expensive leather. Nubuck doesn't scratch as easily as suede, which makes it a better choice for durability.

Nubuck Doesn't Age With Patina Finish

Suede and leather will age and develop a patina that gives the leather greater depth, color, and character. Nubuck doesn't develop any kind of patina. It will continue to have the same coloring year-after-year.

Nubuck, leather elegant women bag

Maintenance and Care of Nubuck Leather Handbag

Just as you would maintain and care for any leather handbag, you want to take care of your nubuck leather bag. The easiest way to clean your nubuck leather bag is with a small hand brush with soft bristles. The brush will loosen any dust or dirt clinging to the underside of the nap. You may decide to use one of the many nubuck and suede cleaning kits. These kits usually come with a soft bristle brush, a cleaning solution, and a protection solution.

Where to Buy Nubuck Leather Handbags

You have several options for buying nubuck handbags. Some nostalgic designs are available, as are newer styles. You can find several companies that produce nubuck leather handbags. These include Hammitt, Abuyall, Daesin, ZLYC, and Befen.

A Guide for Nubuck Leather Bags

You can discover the beauty of a nubuck leather handbag. You may decide to add a nubuck leather clutch or retro vintage style bag to your handbag collection.

Nubuck Leather: Guide to Its Unique Features and Care