by Jennifer Smith January 19, 2023 6 min read

What is distressed leather and how is it different from usual leather is something a fashion freak, mainly obsessed with leather goods, must definitely know!

Leather being an ageless and ever-green fabric is a must for every wardrobe, be it men’s or women’s. This is exactly why we have been seeing many different variations in leather, where one such unique variation is distressed leather (also known as worn leather).

This blog is going to clear all your confusions and questions about what is distressed leather and how products made of it are one of their kind!

Distressed Leather Vs. Ordinary Leather


As the name suggests, distressed leather is a leather with worn, vintage, and weathered effect, giving it a very rough look. On the other hand, most ordinary leather we see is shiny, has glossy finish, and is free of any prominent scratches, wrinkles, and scars.


Distressed leather goes through a special tanning and finishing process, where it is treated specially to achieve an edgy, worn, and crinkly look.


However, just because distressed leather looks rough and vintage doesn’t mean it is any less durable! The process through which this leather is made makes it even more robust than usual leather.

Value for Money

If you are someone who favors value for money over look, distressed leather should be your pick! It is because while it is expensive, it keeps on getting better as it ages. 

What Is the Material of Distressed Leather?

The entire look of distressed leather speaks of adventure, toughness, and sophistication. Owing to its special characteristics, it is made of top-quality leather material known as full grain leather.

Full grain leather holds its unique place in the leather world because it is made of the entire hide of an animal, obtained just beneath the hairline. This is why this material is most sturdy and durable with natural fine lines and scratches flaunting impeccably.

How Is This Material Produced?

Full grain leather is what used to make distressed leather, either through Hand Distressing or Tannery Applied process. Either way, a leather is soaked, treated with chemicals, cut, burned, and finely tattered for it to look distressed.  

Your choice on how to distress leather depends on your resources. Leather that is distressed in tannery is comparatively less expensive and sturdy as compared to the one distressed using manpower.

Comparisons Between Different Types of Leather

It's very easy to get confused since most leather materials look alike. So as we have already discussed distressed leather material, now's the time to explain the differences between distressed and other types of leather.

Vintage Leather

While Distressed leather goes through a certain process, Vintage leather is the one that ages naturally without any treatment process. Its distinctive vintage feature is burnished patina, which makes it look anywhere between 20 to 100 years old.

Antique Leather

On the contrary, leather older than 100 years old falls into the category of Antique leather.  It may look like faux leather, but it is nothing close to it as most people look for antique leather for a more sustainable option.

Crackled Leather

Crackled leather is pigmented leather that features fine lines for producing an optical cracking effect. The process involves a special finish that splinters upon drying.

Pull-Up Leather

Pull-up leather, on the other hand, is aniline dyed for creating deep, lively colors. Waxes and oils are applied to give the leather an extremely supple and soft feel. 

Real Distressed Leather Products

Everyone loves to own high quality distressed leather products! What’s best is when you could own distressed full grain leather items that last for centuries. Some of the most common distressed leather items used by men and women of all ages are mentioned below:


Someone who loves to wear leather jackets must have wondered exactly what is distressed leather and how to distress a leather jacket.

Apart from usual shiny and lustrous leather jackets, distressed leather jackets like worn bomber jackets give their wearer a bold and confident look.

Similarly, leather pants, skirts, jumpsuits, vests, coats, and suits are also very trendy. A person wearing a distressed leather attire is sure to get many compliments!

Boots & Shoes

Same goes for distressed oil tanned leather shoes, mostly preferred by cultured businessmen. They have prolonged life being extremely strong as well as versatility beyond comparison.

Shoes and boots with uneven creases and wrinkles kill the entire style of any outfit. Which is why, it is always best to Invest in worn distressed leather shoes and boots that seem natural and top-class.    


Distressed leather bags are famous to be fit for traveling, adventures, and everyday routine use. Be it leather wallets, backpacks, laptop sleeves, messenger bags, satchels, duffle bags, totes,

card holders, cheque book holders, or passport wallets, nothing is more hard-wearing than distressed leather!

Besides leather bags, distressed leather is most frequently used to make vintage caps, belts, key holders, guitar straps, watch straps, and even pod holders nowadays.   


One can’t forget vintage furniture made of leather! Ever-so-lasting and durable, distressed leather furniture is yet another option made with distressed leather.

For instance, sofa, couch, sectional, chair, recliner, and seat covers are made with leather for eternal shine. Many faux leather options are now a popular choice for furniture items, but they are only selected due to their low price and glossy finish, not the durability!

Décor Items

Nowadays, people are also opting for décor items made of distressed leather. For example, people with a unique sense of taste opt for leather ashtrays, leather frames, and leather floor mats for their vintage look.

Upkeep of Distressed Leather Products

The products made of leather would not magically remain ever-green! You need to invest your time, energy, and resources in taking care of your leather goods so they remain brand new. Follow these three simple steps for a regular upkeep and maintenance of your leather items:

Step 1

To maintain the unique look of your distressed leather, be it leather bag, clothing, shoes, accessories, or furniture, you need to keep them away from direct sunlight, water, and excess moisture.

Keeping your distressed leather clean at all times must be your key priority!

Step 2

If there are any stains, make sure to always dab the leather with a clean cloth (microfiber cloth) or soft sponge. Do not coarsely rub the leather or else you would end up damaging the fiber beyond repair.

Step 3

Many leather care wax and conditioners are available in the market, specially designed to give your leather products a new life and keep your leather soft. You can use these waxes, but make sure to always use them when absolutely necessary.

Do not use home-based DIY treatments like rubbing alcohol if you really do care about keeping your distressed leather product brand new! 


What Kind of Products Can Be Made of Distressed Leather?

Apart from clothing items, leather bags, shoes, boots, accessories, furniture, and many unique types of decor items are now made of distressed leathers.

Are Products Made of Distressed Leather Expensive?

Products made of distressed leather, such as distressed jacket, are made of full grain leather. Since full grain leather is the highest quality leather, it is comparatively more expensive and sturdier as compared to ordinary leather stuff.

Is Leather Distressed in Tannery More Expensive?

Moreover, leather that goes through a distressing process in tannery is comparatively less expensive and sturdy as compared to the one distressed manually.

How Durable Is Distressed Leather?

Distressed leather holds its unique place in the leather world because it is most sturdy and durable with natural fine lines flaunting the aged leather impeccably. Just because it looks aged, doesn't mean the leather is of sub-par quality.

Can You Repair Distressed Leather?

Of course! With special dye, leather conditioner, and leather wax, distressed leather can go through easy magic repairs, both by hand or in tannery. 

You can also distress leather yourself and create a special weathered effect using these same methods. Just make sure not to use rubbing alcohol and other damaging chemicals to repair your new leather product.

Is Distressed Leather Real Leather?

YES! Distressed leather is only distinctive due to its texture and aged leather feel, which doesn’t imply that the leather is fake. Real leather, made of fine quality material, is used to make distressed leather products that are known for their reliability and vintage appearance.

What Is Meant By Distressed Full-Grain Leather?

Full grain leather rather than top grain leather is what used to make distressed leather, either through Hand Distressing or Tannery Applied process. The distressing leather is then treated with dyes and waxes to create further special effects.


By now, you must know everything about what is distressed leather, its natural characteristics, and what makes it different from other types of leather.

Made of natural material rather than faux leather, distressed leather goods will always be loved by all leather enthusiasts. There are many brands that deal with distressed leather items; but make sure you do your research before investing.

It is easy to imitate full-grain leather merely by using top-grain leather, so ask questions and make a stark contrast before buying.

So go ahead and buy at least one pair of distressed leather clothing items to keep in your wardrobe, and look stylish in every season!

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