Top Grain Leather


Definition of Top Grain Leather

Top grain leather is a high quality leather that’s been prized for centuries due to its durability and luxurious appearance

This type of leather is made by removing the outermost layer of the animal hide and leaving behind the smooth part of the hide, known as the top grain.

The process also involves sanding or buffing the surface of the hide to remove any blemishes, resulting in a uniform and consistent appearance. 

The surface is then treated with oils or waxes to enhance its natural shine and protect it from wear and tear.

Top grain leather has several benefits:

  • It’s highly resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-use applications such as furniture upholstery, automotive interiors, and handbags. 
  • Top grain leather is also highly resistant to water and stains. You’ll find that it’s relatively easy to clean and maintain.
  • In terms of appearance, it has a smooth, polished finish that’s highly sought after in luxury products.
  • The ability of top grain leather to resist stretching and wrinkling makes it an excellent choice for high-end products that require a sleek, sophisticated look.
  • It develops a rich patina over time that adds to its character and uniqueness.

Besides top grain leather, full grain leather is another type that develops a rich patina over time. The material is porous and therefore absorbs oils, moisture, and other elements to give it that rich color.

That’s the reason our customers love American Bench Craft leather products.

Compared to full grain leather, top-grain leather is thinner and more flexible. This makes it excellent for products that require a certain degree of pliability, though it requires regular maintenance to keep it in optimal condition.

Because top grain leather has been sanded and buffed to remove the natural grain and blemishes, it's not as durable or long-lasting as full grain leather.

However, the long-term benefits of its durability and timeless beauty make it a worthwhile investment for those looking for products that resemble leather.

The table below compares the various features of top grain leather and full grain leather:

Aspect Top Grain Leather Full Grain Leather
Durability Not as durable as full grain leather Known for its exceptional durability and ability to withstand wear and tear
Appearance Smooth, polished finish that is highly sought after in luxury products Retains the natural grain and markings, developing a unique and rustic look over time
Pliability Thinner and more flexible, making it suitable for products requiring pliability Stiffer and less pliable due to its natural state, but gains flexibility over time with use
Longevity Requires regular maintenance to keep it in optimal condition With proper care, it can last a lifetime and develops a beautiful patina over time
Recommended Usage Ideal for high-use applications such as furniture upholstery and automotive interiors Commonly used in high-end products where durability and natural characteristics are desired

Example of Top Grain Leather in a sentence

“My father gave me a top grain leather sheath to store my hunting knife.”


Aniline leather, corrected grain leather.

Related terms for Top Grain Leather