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PU Vs. Real Leather Jackets: The Key Differences

You may be aware that there is real and faux leather. Real leather is made from hides of various animals while faux leather (or PU - Polyurethane) is a kind of plastic polymer. Leather experts can easily notice the difference between PU leather and the real thing, it is often very difficult for ordinary consumers to tell the difference. In this article, we explore the difference between the two kinds of materials and give you the pros and cons of each of them.

PU Leather

Also known as faux leather, these jackets are made from a polymer material that looks and feels a lot like real leather. However, it is not as durable as real leather and with constant use, soon begins to crack and tear. To make it worse, faux leather is affected even by body sweat which means it doesn’t last very long especially in hot or humid areas.

Identifying PU Leather

Usually, manufacturers will indicate on the label what material is used to make the jacket. Before buying your leather jacket, you should carefully read the label to ensure that it is made of real leather and not faux leather. There are other ways to tell as well. Faux leather tends to be shiny and generally comes at a lower price than genuine leather jackets. Faux leather jackets are easier to clean as the polymer material is not water absorbent. The downside to these jackets is that they are not very durable. Even high-end faux leather jackets only last for just about 2 years even with careful and moderate use. The material is also a lot heavier than genuine leather jackets which makes them hard to wear especially in hot areas.

Depending on how it has been manufactured, you can even smell the difference. Faux leather has a chemical smell that is absent in genuine leather. You should be careful with this last one though as faux leather manufacturers have started using dyes that mask the chemical smell.

Real Leather

On the other end of this equation is real leather. Here, the material is made from skins and hides of animals such as lamb. horse and so on. At the top of the range is leather that is made from lambskin. This offers a premium experience that is durable as well. Real leather jackets have a premium look and surprisingly, get better over time. They are therefore highly durable and offer excellent protection from the elements. They also dry naturally if they get wet from rain or snow.

However, on the downside, real leather requires a lot of maintenance. It is also a lot pricier than faux leather, especially if it is made from premium leather. Genuine leather is also absorbent which means that it requires care when dyeing or applying any kind of liquid material.

While you should always strive to buy real leather jackets, the difference may not always be obvious. When you buy your jacket in retail shops, always remember to ask if you are not sure whether what you are looking at is real or not.