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Nubuck Vs Suede: What’s the Difference? (2023)

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suede vs nubuck differenceStep into the world of leather and discover the intriguing differences between nubuck and suede. Unleash your inner style guru as you navigate through their origins, benefits, and drawbacks. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or an aspiring leatherworker, this article will empower you with knowledge to make informed choices when it comes to purchasing or caring for these exquisite materials.

So buckle up, because we’re about to unravel the secrets behind nubuck vs suede – two leathers vying for supremacy in the realm of luxury fashion.

Key Takeaways

  • Nubuck is made from the outer layer of an animal’s hide, while suede is made from the inner layer.
  • Nubuck is more durable than suede, but suede is softer and more supple.
  • Both materials are breathable and can be used in a variety of applications.
  • Both nubuck and suede require special care and maintenance to prevent damage.

What is Nubuck?

What is Nubuck
Nubuck is made from the outer layer of an animal’s hide, giving it a thicker and more durable texture compared to suede. This unique characteristic sets nubuck apart in terms of strength and longevity.

Nubuck leather is sourced from calfskin, which undergoes a sanding process on the grain side to achieve its distinctive velvety finish.

One key feature of nubuck is its breathability. The splitting process during production allows for better air circulation, making it ideal for items that require ventilation, such as bags or shoes. Additionally, nubuck has a pronounced nap that gives it a semi-rugged appearance—a trend seen in many fashion-forward designs today.

When caring for your nubuck products, there are several things to keep in mind. Regular maintenance involves using specialized brushes designed specifically for this type of leather to remove dirt and restore texture gently.

It’s also essential to waterproof your nubuck items regularly using suitable products available on the market.

In terms of fashion trends, we’re seeing an increasing popularity of nubucks due to their durability and rugged appeal—particularly evident in footwear choices like Timberlands or Birkenstocks with their iconic use of this material.

So if you desire liberation through owning high-quality accessories with unparalleled power and mastery over style trends—that too while embracing fashionable choices—nabbing yourself some trendy pieces crafted from stylishly versatile yet robust NUBUCK should be at the top priority on your shopping list!

Origins of Nubuck and Suede

Origins of Nubuck and Suede
Both suede and nubuck have interesting origins that contribute to their unique qualities as leather materials.

The history of suede can be traced back to its name, which originated from the French phrase gants de Suède, meaning gloves from Sweden. It gained popularity in the 20th century and became a material of choice for famous fashion houses.

On the other hand, nubuck’s rise to prominence began in the 1930s when it was worn by none other than the Duke of Windsor himself.

The origins of both these leathers highlight how they evolved alongside innovations in tanning techniques and changing fashion trends. Artisan leatherworkers played a crucial role in discovering new ways to utilize different parts of animal hides effectively.

Suede is made from sanding down softer layers, while nubuck comes from outer-facing sections with imperfections adding character.

These artisan techniques have contributed significantly not only to creating diverse textures but also enhancing durability along with aesthetics. Leather has come a long way since its humble beginnings as an essential material for protective clothing against harsh environments or simply displaying one’s status symbolically through luxurious accessories.

Benefits of Nubuck and Suede

Benefits of Nubuck and Suede
Now let’s explore the benefits of both nubuck and suede.

Nubuck offers:

  • Breathability
  • A pronounced knap for a semi-rugged look
  • Durability from the strongest part of the hide.

Suede provides:

  • A luxurious feel with its soft and supple surface
  • Pliability for crafting various accessories
  • Cost-effectiveness compared to nubuck leather alternatives.

Consider these factors in determining which type of leather best suits your needs and preferences.


When it comes to the benefits of nubuck and suede, you’ll find that they both offer distinct advantages.

Nubuck leather is known for its breathability and durability, making it ideal for everyday items like wallets, bags, shoes, and furniture. Its pronounced knap gives it a rugged aesthetic appeal that adds character to any accessory or piece of clothing.

On the other hand, suede offers a luxurious feel with its softness and suppleness. It’s pliable nature makes it perfect for crafting various accessories like handbags and belts. While not as durable as nubuck, suede can be easily maintained with water repellents and cleaning brushes designed specifically for this type of leather.


Experience the luxurious texture and pliability of suede, making it a popular choice for accessories and clothing.

With its origins in France, suede has evolved throughout fashion history to become a staple material.

While suede may lack water resistance compared to nubuck, it offers enhanced durability when treated with wax or waterproofing products.

It does require careful maintenance due to its vulnerability to stains and dirt accumulation, but with proper care techniques such as using specialized brushes and applying water repellents regularly, your suede items can maintain their pristine condition for years to come.

Disadvantages of Nubuck and Suede

Disadvantages of Nubuck and Suede
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of nubuck and suede, it’s time to address their drawbacks. While both materials have their merits, they also come with a set of disadvantages that you need to consider before making your choice.

Nubuck leather is known for its durability and rugged aesthetic appeal. However, it’s more prone to scratches compared to suede. The natural grain structure of nubuck makes it vulnerable to surface damage, resulting in visible marks on the material.

This vulnerability can be seen as part of its character or rugged charm but may not be ideal if you prefer a pristine appearance.

On the other hand, suede’s main disadvantage lies in its vulnerability to elements such as water and dirt. Unlike nubuck which has undergone splitting during production for increased breathability, traditional suede lacks this feature and absorbs moisture easily when exposed to wet conditions.

Moreover, due to its porous grain structure, dirt particles tend to accumulate on the surface over time.

Both nubuck and suede are high-quality materials with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences to make the best decision for you.

Uses of Nubuck

Uses of Nubuck
You can use nubuck leather for a variety of purposes. Its elegance and durability make it a popular choice in the world of fashion and beyond.

Nubuck’s unique texture, achieved through sanding the outer layer of an animal’s hide, gives it a rugged yet refined appearance that adds character to any item it adorns.

In terms of fashion, nubuck is commonly used in shoes like Timberlands, Birkenstocks, and Ugg boots. The combination of its durability and luxurious texture makes it perfect for everyday wear without compromising style or comfort.

But nubuck isn’t limited to footwear alone. It also finds its place in accessories such as wallets, leather bags, purses — items that require both strength and sophistication.

Beyond fashion applications, nubuck is also utilized in furniture-making due to its plushness combined with exceptional resilience. Contemporary backpacks often feature this material for their utilitarian appeal with a touch of rugged elegance.

Naturally durable, nubuck requires proper care to maintain its exquisite appearance over time. To ensure longevity, clean them regularly using specialized cleaning products designed specifically for nubuck materials.

Additionally , applying waterproofing sprays will protect your nubuck items from water damage while preserving their natural beauty.

Uses of Suede

Uses of Suede
When it comes to the uses of suede, you’ll find that it’s incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into various accessories, outerwear, and footwear options.

  1. Fashion Accessories:
    • Suede adds a touch of luxury to fashion accessories such as handbags, backpacks, belts, and wallets.
    • Its softness and supple texture make it an ideal choice for creating stylish statement pieces.
  2. Footwear Trends:
    • Suede has been a popular material in the world of footwear for decades.
    • It’s commonly used in loafers, brogues,and mules due to its elegant appearance and comfortable feel on the feet.

      3.Weather Resistance:

    • While suede may not inherently possess weather resistance like nubuck or regular leather does,it can still withstand mild weather conditions with proper care.
    • Spraying waterproof spray on your suede items helps protect them from water damageand makes them more suitable for everyday wear.

      4.Maintenance Tips:

    • Suede requires special maintenance compared to other typesof leather.
    • To keep your suedeproducts looking their best:
    • Use a specialized brush made specificallyfor cleaning sî·Żibers.
    • Gently rub any marksor stains usingan eraser.
    • Apply awaterproof sprayto repel waterandstains.
    • A product like Otter Waxcan provide long-lasting protection against moisture while maintainingthe natural beautyofyour suedegoods

How to Clean Nubuck

How to Clean Nubuck
To clean nubuck, start by using a soft-bristled brush to gently remove any dirt or debris.

Here are some brushing tips and waterproofing techniques to keep your nubuck looking its best:

  • Use a circular motion: When brushing the nubuck, make sure to use small circular motions rather than harsh back-and-forth strokes. This will help lift away dirt without damaging the delicate fibers.
  • Apply water repellent: To protect your nubuck from water damage, apply a specialized waterproofing spray designed for leather materials. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product and evenly coat the entire surface of your item.
  • Let it dry naturally: After cleaning or applying any products to your nubuck, allow it to air dry naturally in a well-ventilated area. Avoid exposing it directly to heat sources like radiators or hairdryers as this can cause shrinkage and damage.
  • Invest in leather accessories: Consider investing in leather accessories such as protective sprays and brushes specifically designed for cleaning suede and nubuck materials. These tools can help you maintain the quality of your items over time.

By following these simple care tips for Nuback maintenance, you’ll be able to preserve its beauty while ensuring longevity.

How to Clean Suede

How to Clean Suede
Now that you know how to clean nubuck leather, it’s time to turn our attention to the delicate care of suede. Suede boasts a luxurious feel and supple texture, but its porous nature makes it more susceptible to dirt and stains.

Fear not! With the right techniques and products, you can keep your suede items looking pristine.

Here are three essential brush techniques for cleaning suede:

  1. Soft-Bristled Brush: Start by gently brushing the surface of your suede item with a soft-bristled brush in one direction. This will help remove any loose dirt or debris without damaging the delicate fibers.
  2. Stain Removal: For stubborn stains on your suede item, use a specialized stain remover specifically designed for cleaning suede leather. Apply a small amount onto an inconspicuous area first before treating visible stains.

3.Protective Coatings: To maintain water resistance on your favorite pair of sneakers or jacket made from this fine material consider applying protective coatings like waterproof sprays and conditioners every few months as part of seasonal care routine

Remember that prevention is key when it comes to caring for your beloved suedes! Treat them with protective coatings such as water repellents before wearing them out in wet conditions.

Additionally using professional-grade finishing spray can restore their original luster while providing extra protection against future damage.

By following these simple steps regularly,

you’ll be able

to enjoy

the timeless elegance

of pristine suede leather pieces for years to come.


So, what should you take away from this comparison between nubuck and suede?

Well, it’s clear that both materials offer their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Nubuck provides durability and a rugged aesthetic appeal with its pronounced knap, making it perfect for everyday accessories like wallets, bags, shoes (such as Timberlands), and even furniture.

On the other hand, suede boasts elegance with its luxurious feel and pliability that allows for various fashionable applications in accessories like handbags or belts as well as footwear such as loafers or mules.

When comparing durability between the two materials, nubuck comes out on top due to being made from the strongest part of the hide. It’s more resistant to scuffing but may be prone to scratches which actually contribute to its rugged appearance.

Suede, on the other hand, is inherently less durable than nubuck. Its porous grain structure makes it susceptible to dirt accumulation and water damage. However, it can be easily maintained by applying water repellents, stain repellent, and regular cleaning using specialized brushes and solutions.

If waterproofing is a primary concern, suede can be waxed to enhance its resistance against water damage. Otter Wax Heavy Duty Fabric Wax is recommended for this purpose. Waterproof sprays are also available in the market that can be used to safeguard both nubuck and suede against environmental elements and extend their lifespan.

Choose high-quality products like Kiwi’s waterproof spray which not only protect but also provide UV protection to maintain the integrity of these materials.

In conclusion, nubuck surpasses suede with its durability while suede flaunts elegance and incredible pliability. Whether you’re looking for a sturdy pair of boots or stylish accessories, you now have a better understanding of the differences between nubuck and suede.

Don’t forget to care for these leathers properly by following the right cleaning techniques and using waterproofing products.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can nubuck be dyed or stained for a different color?

Yes, nubuck can be dyed or stained to achieve a different color. This allows for customization and versatility in your leather goods, giving you the power to create a look that suits your personal style.

Is suede more susceptible to fading compared to nubuck?

Suede is more susceptible to fading compared to nubuck.

Due to its porous grain structure, suede absorbs and retains color less effectively, making it prone to fading over time.

Are there any specific care instructions for nubuck or suede jackets?

To care for your nubuck or suede jacket, start by:

  • Gently brushing off any dirt or stains with a soft brush.
  • Using a specialized cleaner and water repellent to protect against moisture damage.
  • Treating it like the precious piece it is!

Can nubuck or suede be used for upholstery?

For upholstery, nubuck and suede lend an air of sophistication and opulence to any space. With their velvety texture and durability, they provide a touch of luxury that exudes mastery over your interior design.

What are some common misconceptions about nubuck and suede?

Misconceptions about nubuck and suede abound. Let’s debunk them:

  1. Nubuck isn’t just roughed-up leather; it’s sanded for a soft, velvety finish.
  2. Suede isn’t delicate; with proper care, it can last long.


To sum it up, when it comes to nubuck vs suede, both leathers have their own unique qualities and characteristics.

Nubuck offers a luxurious and velvety texture, perfect for high-end fashion pieces.

Suede provides a soft and supple feel, ideal for casual and bohemian styles.

However, it’s important to note that both materials require special care and maintenance to ensure their longevity.

So, whether you’re looking to add a touch of sophistication or a hint of laid-back charm to your wardrobe, understanding the difference between nubuck and suede is essential.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.