5 Ways to Tell the Difference Between Real and Fake Leather

Leather jackets, apparel, and accessories are luxurious, well-crafted and, of course, expensive. So when you decide to invest in genuine leather it is important that you avoid the faux pas of purchasing faux leather at a premium price because leather cleaner and conditioner won't always work on fake leather. Below are five ways you can tell if that leather piece is “genuine.”

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1. Check the Label

Many genuine leather products include a label indicating that the product is genuine leather. Manufacturers are eager to show that their products are the real deal so the label should be easy to spot. If the label says, “man-made materials” or if the product has no label, you are right to assume that it is not real leather. If relying on a label alone is too risky for you, the rest of the tips can help you determine how real it really is.

2. Take a Whiff

You might feel funny standing in the aisle of a store taking a whiff of a leather handbag but the smell of the product is a big indicator of it being genuine leather.

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Real leather has a distinct smell that cannot be replicated by synthetic, fake leather. Practice with some products you know are real so you can become familiar with the distinctive smell of genuine leather.

3. Test the Texture

Real leather can feel coarse or smooth, depending on the quality and type. If the product feels too smooth or feels like plastic, it is likely fake. Real leather is also generally less consistent in texture because it is natural and harder to regulate.

4. Examine the Edges

The edges of the leather apparel or furniture are also a good indicator of its authenticity. Fake leather will have a perfect, smooth edge that feels a little like plastic whereas genuine leather has a more natural, rough edge.

5. Study the Pores

Finally, when determining if a piece is fake leather or real be sure to check the pores of the leather. Just as before, if it seems too perfect it is probably too good to be true. Real leather has an inconsistent pattern of pores because it is natural. In contrast, manufactured leather has a consistent, repeating pattern.

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To further your skills at identifying faux vs. real leather spend time comparing leathers that you know are fake with ones you know are genuine. With practice you will be able to see if the piece you are shopping for is the real deal and worth the cost. In the end, you'll save yourself a lot of money and trouble when it comes to caring for leather when you learn to identify real vs. fake leather.


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