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by Jennifer Smith August 27, 2022 8 min read

Sheepskin leather is one of the most popular choices for leather garments. Known for its pleasantly soft touch and durability, a sheepskin leather product gives us the perfect balance of comfort and longevity. This blog post will give you complete knowledge of sheepskin leather and its uses.

What is Sheepskin Leather?

Acquired from the skin of sheep, sheepskin leather is very tender, thin, and soft. Yet, it is one of the most durable leather, having the ability to withstand lots of wear and tear. You can identify sheepskin leather with the pores on its surface, which are evenly spaced. The real texture is also a distinguishing factor in identifying real leather from faux leather.

The distinctive feature which sets sheepskin leather apart from other types of leather is the presence of fleece. It is left intact before tanning the skin. This gives the sheepskin leather exceptional softness and warmth, besides making it look aesthetically better. The wool is on the inner side, making the leather a commonly used material for winter jackets, boots, and gloves.

The other name for sheep leather with fleece on one side is shearling. Whereas sheepskin leather is usually the term used for leather without the wool intact.

Sheepskin Leather Production

As mentioned earlier, the rawhide of sheep undergoes tanning without removing the fur. The hide is turned into durable leather via a preservation process that changes its protein structure. This results in the prevention of rot. After that, the hide is ready for the dyeing procedure.

The tanned and dyed sheepskin leather is then fashioned into various leather garments like shearling coats, men’s or women’s sheepskin jackets, leather vests, or accessories like gloves, hats, boots, or bags.

Sheepskin Leather Features

Sheepskin leather enjoys popularity for many reasons. Apart from its well known softness, it possesses many qualities that make it a choice worth having. Let's ponder over sheepskin leather features to make it easy for you to buy your next leather product.

Durability

Sheepskin leather is quite long-lasting, adding it to the list of highly durable materials.

If you follow the leather care guide and tips mentioned towards the end of this blog, your sheepskin leather product will last for decades and stay in good condition.

The natural temperature regulation and moisture controlling qualities of sheep hide transfer into leather. These features make the sheepskin leather resistant to elements such as mold, bugs, and fungus.

Touch

One of the prime factors that compel one to go for sheepskin leather is its silky smooth touch. The fine grain and evenly spaced pores of sheepskin give it a specific soft touch.

Thickness

Sheep hide is naturally thin. The leather acquired from the hide is also thin. The quality makes sheepskin leather a comfortable layering option even for spring and mild summer.

Weight

The small, fine grain of the sheepskin makes it quite lightweight.

Breathability

The fibers of the sheepskin are hollow which makes it a very breathable material. This is the reason why it is appropriate for summer as well. You can stay comfortably cool while wearing sheepskin leather garments.

Flexibility

Another specification of sheepskin leather is its elasticity. It has a rubbery feel and the ability to stretch, making it a good choice for bags, shoes, and various leather garments.

Warmth

The absolute warmth of the sheepskin is unparalleled. This is due to the presence of fleece on one side of the leather. Garments and accessories made out of sheepskin leather are great at protecting the wearer during harsh cold weather. For instance, sheepskin biker jackets for women and men are quite functional at shielding one from cold weather and abrasions.

Water Resistance

Sheepskin leather is water resistant to an extent. However, garments made with it might not be a suitable option to wear during pouring rain.

Presence of Lanolin

The presence of lanolin, a natural healing substance, in sheepskin leather is a very significant factor. It keeps the sheep warm and protected in the harsh cold weather in the mountains.

Lanolin is also found in human skin and is said to contain anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The lanolin in sheepskin leather helps heal inflamed skin and makes your sheepskin leather hats and gloves so warm. Apart from that, it also develops the self cleaning quality in the leather, which adds to its longevity.

Price

The exceptional features and the specific tanning procedure of the sheepskin leather justify the higher price that you have to pay for it. Unlike the other types of leather, products made with sheepskin have a higher price point.

Is Sheepskin Leather Good Quality?

Mostly, the leather from the hide of an animal will be sturdy when it is heavy and thick. Also, it is very likely for it to have a rough feel and lack softness. On the other hand, delicate hides such as lambskin are very lightweight and soft but also highly vulnerable to scuffs and scratches. There are exceptions, of course, such as the sheepskin leather. With it, you get the advantage of less bulkiness and softness along with adequate tensile strength and durability.

If you have to choose one type of leather over the other and prioritize sufficient durability and comfort, sheepskin leather is the right choice for you. You can choose sheepskin leather products by determining the types of leather finishing, dyeing, and seed contamination level. Read on to know how to pick the best quality sheepskin leather based on seed contamination level.

Seed Contamination in Sheepskin Leather

Like many other distinguishing features of sheepskin leather, seed contamination is also a quality defining factor. Seeds from plants, shrubs, and grass get stuck in the sheep wool, which causes scarring in the skin. Seed contamination is categorized into five levels. The higher the contamination, the greater the imperfection would be, diminishing the quality of the leather.

  • No Visible Seed:highest quality leather with no visible seeds in the wool.
  • Light Seed:low seed contamination, mostly in the belly region.
  • Medium Seed:wool is mildly contaminated with seeds in the belly and leg regions.
  • Heavy Seed:visible heavy seed contamination on most areas of the hide.
  • Burry:Hard seeds stuck in the wool that adversely affect the quality of the sheepskin leather by causing scarring in the skin. Seeds should be removed before the process of fleshing the skin.

Sheep Nappa Leather

Sheep Nappa leather is considered the best in quality. It is full grain, unsplit sheepskin leather which is tanned in a way that preserves the skin's original texture. Nappa leather is extremely soft and stretchable, retaining the original feel of the sheepskin.

Hair Sheepskin Leather

Leather acquired from sheep which grow hair instead of wool is called hair sheepskin leather.

Sheepskin Leather Uses

Apart from the amazing sheepskin leather jackets for men and women, sheepskin leather has a wide range of uses.

Leather garments commonly made with sheepskin include trench coats, blazers, leather vests, and jackets of all kinds. As sheepskin leather is very flexible and well resistant to wear and tear, leather pants and leather skirts made of sheepskin are a popular choice. Wearing sheepskin leather staples is a style statement in itself due to its smooth feel and sleek look.

Apart from these, stylish boots, shoes, gloves, and hats are also fashioned with sheepskin leather due to its soft touch and endurance. Accessories like belts, wallets, and high quality bags of sheepskin are a sought after choice.

Not just leather wear, sheepskin leather is widely used to make home décor stuff, furniture upholstery, and car seat covers. 

Pros and Cons of Using Sheepskin Leather

As with any other kind of leather, sheepskin leather too has its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to know the list of both when buying a leather product made of sheepskin to make an informed choice.

Pros of Sheepskin Leather

  • Investing in good quality sheepskin leather is a wise decision due to its long life.
  • It has a smooth feel which makes you comfortable no matter how long you have to wear it.
  • Sheepskin is highly breathable due to its hollow fibers. Wearing sheepskin leather will help you stay cool as your body temperature is regulated. It is a lightweight material that is suitable for all seasons.
  • It contains lanolin which keeps the skin soft and has healing properties.
  • Sheepskin leather is flame retardant.

Cons of Sheepskin Leather

  • Sheepskin leather is very flexible and tends to stretch over time. This characteristic may result in your leather product getting out of shape and shabby.
  • In comparison to cowhide leather, sheepskin has lesser resistance to abrasions, which means that it might not be suitable for harsh and heavy usage.
  • Sheepskin leather is not 100% waterproof. If soaked, it may get soiled.

Comparing Sheepskin Leather to Other Types of Leather

Having clear knowledge regarding different types of leather lets you make the right choice that is perfect for your particular needs. Here, we are providing a basic analogy of three types of leather which are the most popular.

Sheepskin vs Cow Leather

Cowhide leather is the most durable of all the commonly used leathers. Although sheepskin too has good tensile strength, it cannot match the level of cowhide leather. However, sheepskin leather has a clear edge over cowhide in terms of softness and flexibility.

Sheepskin leather is warm due to the fleece lining on one side, but cowhide leather feels warmer due to its thickness. Cowhide, being a readily available raw material, makes leather that is lesser in price than sheepskin leather.

Sheepskin vs Lambskin Leather

Getting down to the basics, lambskin is obtained from young lambs, so it is way thinner than sheepskin. As a result, lambskin leather is delicate and particularly vulnerable to damage. In comparison, sheepskin leather or shearling is obtained from mature animals and is thicker. 

Lambskin leather is lighter than sheepskin leather with a finer grain and has a buttery soft touch.

Sheepskin vs Goatskin Leather

Sheepskin and goatskin leathers have many points of commonality. The fine grain and softness of both types of leather is comparable. However, goatskin leather leads in terms of durability. Both are lightweight, but goatskin leather is slightly heavier, having a better ability to keep the wearer warm.

Another disparity between sheepskin leather and goatskin leather is that the former is more flexible than the latter.

Maintenance Tips for Sheepskin Leather

To carry your shearling jacket with style for years to come, it's vital to keep it in good condition. Any sheepskin leather product should be taken care of if you want to use it for years to come.

  1. Protect your sheepskin leatherwear from soaking. If it gets wet, dry it with a clean absorbent fabric and leave it to dry. Never leave sheepskin leather out in the sun as the sun rays would damage the leather.
  2. Once a year, apply a good quality leather conditioner on your sheepskin leather product.
  3. Get your sheepskin leather product cleaned professionally. Never use alcohol based cleaning products as they can dry out the leather.
  4. Store sheepskin leather garments and accessories in a breathable storage bag.

Conclusion

It is wise to know what to look for when buying a sheepskin leather product. It is a material that is high in demand due to various characteristics, primarily softness, comfort, and durability. Before investing in a sheepskin leather product, make sure to assess its quality.

With Leather Skin Shop, you can be sure about the premium quality of our sheepskin leather jackets, coats, hats, and shoes. Besides, you will also be highly satisfied with the adept craftsmanship and our prompt customer service.

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