What Is Pu Leather? Facts and Features

PU Leather purse

If you wonder what is PU leather, you may be surprised to learn that it isn't leather. The term PU leather is a misnomer that is used to define a synthetic material that looks like leather.

What Is PU Leather?

PU leather is not a real leather. PU leather is a polyurethane or plastic imitation leather. During the production process, PU leather is given the same kind of texture found in leather, albeit in a uniform pattern. PU leather is considered a synthetic leather. The only exception is a PU leather made of bicast leather.

What Is Bicast Leather?

Bicast leather is made from a split leather. A split leather is possible when a leather hide is thick enough so the layers can be split and used individually. The leftover layer is then used to create a bicast leather. The bicast leather is embossed with a leather grain, and a polyurethane coating is applied.

Is PU Leather Vegan?

If the PU leather you are considering is 100% PU leather, then it is classified as vegan. Since no animal is used in the creation of the PU leather, it qualifies as being vegan and eco-friendly.

Is PU Leather Durable?

When compared to leather, PU leather won't last as long. PU leather doesn't retain moisture. The lack of moisture means the PU leather bag will be susceptible to cracking and tearing, unlike leather. PU leather isn't breathable whereas leather is very breathable. Leather can stain easily, while PU leather doesn't stain and is waterproof.

PU Leather purse

Does PU Leather Peel?

If the PU leather uses plasticizers in its processes, it will most likely not peel. Not all PU leathers are going to be the same quality, just as all leathers aren't the same quality.

Is PU Leather Toxic?

PU leather is vegan and made with plant chemicals that are natural. PU leather isn't considered a toxic leather like PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) leather. PVC is made from chemicals and can have some off-gassing. These chemicals are considered toxic in large amounts.

PU Leather vs. Faux Leather

The PU leather base is made of polyurethane while the faux leather base is made of fabric. The faux leather fabric is given a textured leather finish. The textured finish is created by using one or more methods, such as dyeing, waxing, PU coating, and even PVC coating. Some faux leather bags are also made of bicast leather. PU leather is often called a type of faux leather, but is recognized in the handbag industry and listed as PU leather instead of faux leather.

woman holding big black handbag

Is PU Leather Better Than Faux Leather?

Most PU leathers are more durable than faux leather. PU leather doesn't peel or crack as easily as faux leathers. PU leather is more flexible than faux leather. Faux leathers are easier to pierce or tear, although PU leather can suffer damage from perforation or tearing. You must take into account the quality of the PU leather and faux leather when comparing durability.

PU Leather vs. Real Leather

Real leather will outlast PU leather. You will also find that over time, authentic leather will develop a desirable patina finish. PU leather can never develop a Patina finish.

How Can You Tell If It's Real Leather Or PU Leather?

Real leather will have a definite leather smell. PU leather often has a chemical smell. The PU leather has a uniform grain texture finish, while the leather grain is random and natural looking.

Understand and Recognize What Is PU Leather

PU leather is recognized as a specific type of material used to manufacture handbags. You will see it listed either as PU leather or PU leather vegan.

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What Is Pu Leather? Facts and Features