by Jennifer Smith December 02, 2023 5 min read

Ask fashion enthusiasts about their go-to choice of outerwear that excels in appeal as well as comfort, and most would choose a leather jacket. Being durable and versatile, leather jackets are one of those wardrobe staples that stay with you for a lifetime, given they are of premium quality. They can be dressed up or down to suit many occasions and styles. But, with their high price tag, the question arises: how long do leather jackets last?  

Follow this guide to find out what factors influence the longevity of a leather jacket and how you can care for and maintain your jacket to last you for ages. 

Factors Affecting the Longevity of a Leather Jacket

Several factors can impact the lifespan of a leather jacket, some of which are listed below.

Quality of Leather

High-quality leather is more durable and can withstand wear and tear better than low-quality types. Full-grain and top-grain leather are best known for their durability, suppleness, and uniform texture. Conversely, genuine leather and bonded leather are considered cheaper quality leather.

Type of Leather

Animal hides such as cowhide, lambskin, and sheepskin are some of the highest-quality leather used to make real leather jackets. Cowhide is the most durable and can make leather jackets last for a long time. Other leather types include Sheepskin and Lambskin, which are softer, breathable, more supple, and affordable leather options than cowhide. Leather procured from sheepskin or lambskin is more flexible and comfortable but slightly less durable.  

Synthetic leather or faux leather is a vegan-friendly option made of Polyurethane or Polyvinyl Chloride. Those who do not prefer or wish to use animal skin due to environmental hazards or personal preferences can go for faux leather jackets. However, the durability of these jackets is not at par with a real leather jacket made of high quality leather as the artificial material lacks the natural qualities of the animal skin. 

Frequency of Use

If you wear a leather jacket more often, such as a personalized leather jacket that you love wearing with most of your outfits, it is likely to wear out more quickly than a jacket that is worn occasionally. Additionally, low-quality leather jackets get cracked and fade easily if you don’t keep up with proper maintenance. Opting for a high-quality leather jacket is your safest bet, as they can last longer, giving you the desired value against money. 

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance are essential to extend the lifespan of real leather jackets. Avoid using harsh chemicals and exposure to direct sunlight or heat. Save it from wetness, as water can damage the leather. Treating the jacket with a leather conditioner or leather oil will preserve its natural oils and flexibility. You can condition the jacket every 3-6 months or more frequently, depending on how frequently you use it.

Storage of Leather Jackets

When the winter season is over, do not just throw your leather jacket in the back of the closet. Instead, Follow these tips to extend its life span. 

  • Properly clean it from inside and outside using a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
  • If your jacket is made of suede, use a suede brush or suede eraser to clean the jacket.
  • Hang it on a wooden hanger in the open air for at least 6-8 hours. This will let it dry and remove any odor. 
  • Using a clean microfiber cloth and a leather conditioner, condition your jacket to ensure it stays supple and maintained.
  • Use breathable cotton bags to store your leather jacket instead of using a plastic bag.
  • Do not fold your leather jacket like other garments, as it can cause permanent creases and damage to the leather.
  • Keep it in a cool, dry place because leather can absorb moisture, which can harm the jacket if it is left on for a long time.

Which Is The Longest-Lasting Leather?

Top-grain leather and full-grain leather are two of the highest-quality leather used to make premium leather jackets. Unlike bonded leather and genuine leather, these types of leather are the most durable as the natural form of animal hide is retained in them. Although these jackets are a bit pricey, the quality of the jacket you get will last you a lifetime. Let us dig deeper into why top-grain leather and full-grain leather are the most durable.

Full-Grain Leather

Full-grain leather is derived from the outermost layer of the animal hide, which has the highest quantity of natural grain. This leather undergoes a minimum amount of treatment and is neither sanded nor buffed, retaining the imperfections of natural animal skin. Just like animal hide keeps an animal warm and protected throughout its life, full-grain leather is the highest-grade leather, being the most durable. It withstands the test of time and protects the wearer against harsh weather conditions. 

Top-Grain Leather

Top-grain leather also comes from the top layer of animal hide, but unlike full-grain leather, it is sanded and buffed to remove imperfections from the surface. This process brings uniformity and a smooth texture to the final leather product, desired by many people. It is also not as thick as full-grain leather and, therefore, is less expensive. It is long-lasting but less durable than full-grain leather. 

Tips to Care for a Leather Jacket

Now that we have looked into how long leather jackets last, let's discuss how we can make leather jackets stay in good condition for a lifetime. When properly cared for and maintained, your leather jacket's longevity is significantly enhanced. Here are some tips to help you:

Keep It Clean

Using a soft cloth and leather cleaner, wipe off any dirt or stains from the leather jacket.

Keep It Conditioned

Leather can dry out quickly due to long periods of storage or direct exposure to sunlight, causing cracks and damage to the quality of the leather. Therefore, keep it moisturized by using a good quality leather oil or conditioner once every 3-6 months. This will keep it soft and supple, ensuring it looks as fresh as a brand-new one. Make sure the conditioner you are using is compatible with the leather type that your jacket is made of. 

Protect It

Apply leather protector sprays or waterproof sprays to your jacket to prevent water damage and stains. This step will help repel water and other liquids, maintaining the durability of the leather quality of your jacket. 

Store It Properly

When not in use, hang your leather jacket on a wooden hanger and cover it with breathable cotton bags instead of folding it up. Store it in a cool and dry place, avoiding direct sunlight. 

Final Thoughts

Various factors come into play in determining the longevity of a leather jacket, including the the quality of leather, exposure to sunlight, and other factors. However, with regular cleaning and proper care, you can extend its lifespan and make it a valuable purchase that is worth your money. 

FAQs

How Often Should A Leather Jacket Be Washed?

Avoid washing your leather jackets, as water causes permanent damage to the leather. Instead, clean them with a damp cloth and condition them once every six months. 

How Long Does A Genuine Leather Jacket Last?

Genuine leather jackets can last around five to eight years. However, regular cleaning and conditioning contribute to its longevity.

Does A High-Quality Leather Jacket Fade Over Time?

High-quality leather jackets may also fade over time due to long exposure to direct sunlight and other environmental factors. However, proper care and maintenance can help to enhance the quality of leather jackets. 

How Long Do Faux Leather Jackets Last?

Generally, a good-quality faux leather jacket lasts way less than a real one. Faux material jackets have a shorter life span but can last around 2-5 years with proper care and maintenance.

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