How to Differentiate Real Leather from Fake Leather

Are you looking for the perfect leather jacket to complete your wardrobe? Maybe you're trying to pursue your dream of being an 80s rock god, and you need a pair of awesome leather pants? Either way, you're going to have to make a tough decision. Do you want real leather or fake leather? More importantly, how do you differentiate between the two? Well, we'll tell you. Here are three ways to tell the difference.

1. Check the Label

Repeat after us: Quality leather is going to boast about being quality leather. With that said, the first way to determine quality leather is to check the label for words like "real", "genuine", "top grain", "full grain" or even "made from animal products". These are generally good indicators of real leather. Fake Leather will not be as forthcoming on its label but will advise the materials used to create the item. 

2. Smell the Item

As weird as this sounds, real leather items tend to smell a little musty. Yes, you read right. Genuine leather has a musty scent. The leather is associated with this smell because it's made from animal skin whereas fake leather tends to have a plastic, chemical-like aroma. Not to worry though. As time goes on, both smells will begin to fade.

3. Feel the Fabric

Perhaps the most important, feeling the fabric can provide clues. Real leather will crease when pressed or folded. Fake leather will not. Fake leather will burn when exposed to fire while genuine leather will experience minimal damage.  Lastly, real leather absorbs water while droplets will usually roll off of artificial leather. 


With that said, you'll have to consider aspects such as cost and location when choosing between the two. Real leather is more expensive than artificial leather. Also, if you live in an area that rains a lot, you'll only have a few weeks out of the year to show off your genuine leather item. Now that you have all the tools to make an informed decision go forth and buy whatever your heart desires.