What is Top-Grain Leather Material & How is It Made?

Leather material is reliable and has earned an excellent reputation over the years from its’ durability and flexibility. Made from the hides of animals, and more and more commonly cowhides. Leather material is proven to be a versatile product that can last for decades.

There Are Four Basic Leather Material Types:

  • Full-Grain
  • Top-Grain
  • Genuine
  • Suede

Top-grain and full-grain are considered to be the top two in terms of high quality.

In this blog, we will be focusing on the high-end category of leather and unpacking what exactly top-grain leather is as well as how it’s made.

Top-grain leather is the second-highest grade of leather. The few millimeters of the hide are sanded down, which removes imperfections and makes for a more pliable material.

Once the outermost layer of the hide has been sanded down, a finishing coat is added to the leather to make it less breathable and cooler. The leather is also imprinted with an imitation grain to give it a uniform look.

top grain leather

Top-grain leather allows for the manufacture of quality products. Therefore, Top-Gain leather provides a consistent appearance because of the way it’s made.

Now let’s look more closely at what it is, how it is made, how to maintain this leather as well as the advantages of using it.

The Main Distinctions of Top-Grain Leather:

1. What Makes It Stand Out?

The natural grain from the top surface is sanded away, removing imperfections, blemishes, and making the leather thinner and more workable for the manufacturer.

top grain leather

2. How Top-Grain Leather Gets Its’ Uniform Look

If uniformity is what you’re looking for, then you’re in good hands with Top Grain leather, it’s just that, by sanding off the natural grain, they’ve sanded off the strongest fibers in the hide.

3. Finishing Touches

Even with the removal of the natural grain, Top Grain Leather remains strong and durable, but the refinishing process greatly reduces the leather’s breathability and also prevents the leather from developing a natural glaze over time. On the other hand, the finish coat provides protection against stains that would otherwise sink right into full-grain leather.

4. It Is Durable and Easy to Maintain

Quality leather is a remarkably durable material that will offer many years of comfort. If taken care of properly, a top-grain leather piece can last 10 to 15 years.

Leather is four times more durable than fabric, making it ideal for carpenters, and construction workers.

top grain leather

5. Texture

Top-grain leather has a soft texture that gets softer and softer overtime, making it more comfortable. And, the notion that leather is cold is a misconception. Leather takes on the temperature of your body within 12 seconds. Real leather gives a look of luxury, but it is also a comfortable feeling.

top grain leather

6. Practical

It doesn’t have to stop at a comfortable feeling. Top-grain leather is practical too.

The color of this leather doesn’t make a difference when it comes to regular maintenance. This leather is easy to take care of when maintained properly; it only needs regular wiping with a clean, damp cloth. Ideally, the only special treatment this leather needs is to be conditioned twice a year with a leather conditioner. Many real leather products are also treated to help prevent stains.

How Top-Grain Leather is Made

Top-grain leather is the second-highest grade of leather after full-grain. It is made by removing the outermost layer of the animal hide by sanding and buffing. Doing this makes the leather thinner, and more suitable for working and tooling by the manufacturer, so it is less costly as compared to full-grain leather. It also gets rid of any scars, wrinkles, blemishes, and defects that may exist on the outer surface of the leather.

top grain leather

Quality of Top Grain Leather

Top-grain leather lacks the outermost layer of the hide, which contains the toughest natural fibers and thus reduces the durability of the leather. On the other hand, this results in defects and discolorations inherent in any animal hide being removed and gives a consistent color and pattern to the leather.

Advantages of Top-Grain Leather

The main advantage of this leather is that it is easier to work with and provides a consistent finish after processing. Though less durable than full-grain leather, it still lasts longer than many other lower-grade types of leather. It is also less expensive than full-grain leather and can be dyed and patterned to mimic other exotic leathers.


Top-grain leather is a high-quality material that is suitable for a wide variety of premium and luxury goods. It is less expensive than full-grain. It does not develop a glaze with time. If you are looking for a moderately-priced leather good with a consistent finish that will last a long time, then this is the right product for you. Check out our shop for some quality tool belts.

Why do you love Top-Grain leather? Tell us in the comments! Check out our top-grain tool belts products here: https://rdawg.com/shop/

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