Does Buffalo Leather Stretch? (No! Here’s Why Plus Hacks)

Does Buffalo Leather Stretch?

Most leather is generally known to stretch with time and wear. But does buffalo leather stretch? Here’s what I found out after using my buffalo leather jacket for three years.

The answer is no! buffalo leather does not stretch. This is because buffalo leather is a relatively thick, tough leather and doesn’t contain any stretching points. As such, it’s unlikely to expand when worn or stored in humid conditions.

Here’s what I will cover in the rest of this article;

  • main reasons buffalo leather does not stretch, and
  • buffalo leather care tips and tricks

Reasons Buffalo Leather Does Not Stretch

There are a few reasons why buffalo leather won’t stretch, and here are a few of the most common reasons.

1. Buffalo Leather Is Thick

Whether it’s the thickness of the hide itself or the type of cut, buffaloes have some of the thickest hides in nature. This makes it ideal for products that require heavy-duty protection and durability.

Buffalo leather comes in a variety of thicknesses, but generally speaking, it’s thicker than cowhide leather or sheepskin leather. This makes it less likely to stretch over time.

Generally, you can expect buffalo leather thicknesses not less than 3-4mm or in ounces from 2-3oz. For most leather jackets, this is the range, and in most cases, 5-6 ounces are used.

Thicker leather may not stretch at all, while thinner leather might stretch a bit over time and wear.

2. Buffalo Leather Is a Heavy Duty Material

When looking for leather that is heavy-duty and durable, buffalo leather is one of the most popular go-to choices.

It’s thicker than cowhide or sheepskin and can handle tough conditions, and wear better than other types of leather.

It’s also more water resistant than other types of leather, making it ideal for wet or damp conditions. This makes it less likely to stretch in those conditions.

3. Buffalo Leather Isn’t Treated With Chemicals

Buffalo leather is usually veg tanned, meaning it isn’t treated with chemicals or stretching agents. This makes it less likely to stretch over time.

Vegetable tanning is the process of using plant extracts and other natural substances to tan leather. This is a much more labor-intensive process than chemical tanning, but it makes the leather less likely to stretch and more resistant.

Tanning is an important part of leather processing, and you should always look for leather that is properly tanned when buying leather products, as this will go a lot way in determining whether or not the leather will age.

4. Buffalo Leather Has Less Elasticity Than Other Types Of Leather

The lack of elasticity means that buffalo leather doesn’t stretch as much as other types of leather.

This is because it doesn’t contain the same type of stretching points that are present in most other types of leather, like cowhide or sheepskin.

This means that buffalo leather won’t stretch as much when worn and is less likely to expand in damp or humid conditions.

This makes it perfect for leather goods that are not required to stretch or soften.

5. Buffalo Leather Has Dense Fibers

Another thing that does not allow buffalo leather to stretch is its dense fibers. All natural leather has fibers.

It is the fibers of the leather that allows it to stretch and conform to your body shape. Buffalo leather, however, has very dense fibers, meaning they are not as flexible or malleable as other types of leather.

This makes it difficult for the material to expand, unlike cowhide which is incredibly soft and supple. So this is one of the main reasons buffalo leather doesn’t stretch.

6. Buffalo Leather Is Not Stretched During Tanning

One very common thing that happens after tanning leather is that they tend to become slightly larger and softer. This is because the tanning process makes the leather more pliable, allowing it to stretch.

However, with buffalo leather, this doesn’t happen. Buffalo leather is unique in that it is not stretched during the tanning process, so its size and shape do not change after being tanned.

This makes buffalo leather a great choice for those who want its leather to maintain its original shape and size over time.

In addition, this also means that you can purchase buffalo leather items with confidence, knowing that they won’t stretch out over time.

7. Buffalo Leather Has Few Natural Stretching Points

Buffalo leather also differs from other types of leather in that it has fewer natural stretching points.

This means that when wearing buffalo leather items, you won’t find the same amount of stretching or softening as you would with cowhide or sheepskin.

The lack of stretching points is what makes this type of leather so durable and resistant to wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a leather item that will last.

8. Grain Surface Is Tight

The grain surface of buffalo leather is also very tight. This tightness creates a strong, rigid leather that is more resistant to stretching than other types of leather.

This makes it the perfect choice for items like belts or straps, as they do not require much flexibility but rather need to maintain their shape and strength.

In addition, the tight grain surface of buffalo leather also makes it more resistant to water, making it a great choice for items that need to be exposed to the elements.

What Is Buffalo Leather Best Suited For?

Given its dense fibers and lack of stretching, buffalo leather is best suited for items that don’t require much flexibility or stretching.

This includes items like wallets, bags, belts, straps, saddles, and harnesses. The strong properties of this type of leather make it extremely durable and resistant to water damage.

It also has a luxurious look and feels, making it a great choice for high-end fashion goods.

So if you are looking for a leather item that won’t stretch out over time, buffalo leather is definitely worth considering.

What Is Buffalo Leather Not Suitable For?

Despite the fact that buffalo leather does not stretch, it is still a very strong and durable material. However, there are some applications for which it is not suitable.

For example, if you need something to stretch or soften with wear, then buffalo leather may not the best choice as it will not be able to accommodate this.

In addition, if you are looking for a leather item that is very soft, like upholstery or clothing, then buffalo leather may not be the best option as it is much denser and less pliable than other types of leather.

It may not also be a good fit for items that require a large amount of flexibility, such as gloves or shoes.

Even though it is possible to find some great Buffalo leather gloves and shoes, a lot of it will come down to the manufacturers being able to safely skive the leather down to create a more flexible product.

Buffalo Leather Care Tips And Tricks

Since buffalo leather does not stretch, it is important to take care of how you handle it.

To ensure that buffalo leather maintains its shape and durability, here are some tips and tricks to help keep it looking great:

  • Store your buffalo leather away from direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can cause the leather to dry out and crack.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaners on your buffalo leather, as this can damage the material.
  • Use a soft, damp cloth to clean your buffalo leather, and make sure to wipe off any excess moisture immediately after cleaning.
  • If the item you have is exposed to the elements, use a protective coating or wax on it periodically to help protect it from water damage and other types of wear and tear.
  • Store your buffalo leather items in a cool, dry place, and make sure to use the proper care techniques when handling or cleaning them.
  • Doing this will help ensure that your buffalo leather items remain in great condition for many years.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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