9 Easy Ways To Identify Nappa Leather

how to identify Nappa leather

Nappa leather is a type of soft, high-quality leather that is often used in the manufacturing of luxury goods. It is known for its delicate texture and lustrous finish.

If you are looking to buy a product made with Nappa leather, it is important to be able to identify the real thing beyond its labels. In this article, I will teach you how to identify Nappa leather so that you can be sure you are getting what you paid for.

Here are 9 easy ways to identify Nappa leather;

1. Nappa Leather Is Fine And Smooth

Nappa leather has a fine and smooth grain. This is one of the most distinctive features of Nappa leather, especially when you compare it with other types like corrected-grain or split-leather.

Nappa leather is not too thick and it also has a smooth finish all over. When you touch the surface of the Nappa leather, it should feel soft to touch without being greasy. Some people say that this quality can be described as luxurious silkiness.

When buying products made with Nappa leather, make sure to check if the surface feels fine and smooth. If it doesn’t, it is likely not made with Nappa leather.

2. Nappa Leather Is Made From “Young” Animal Skins

Nappa leather is made from the skins of young animals. The most common animals used for Nappa leather are calf, lambs, and deer.

The quality of the Nappa leather depends on the age of the animal when its skin was taken off. The younger the animal, the softer and finer the leather will be.

This is why Nappa leather is often used in the making of high-end products. When buying products made with Nappa leather, be aware of the source of the leather.

While this may be impossible to figure out when you’re in the shop, try to research the product online to see if it’s mentioned. If it is not, there’s a good chance that the product is not made with real Nappa leather.

This is because most manufacturers will lead with such an awesome feature if it’s true. Nappa leather is often made from young animals as they have finer and softer skins.

3. Nappa Leather Is Very Supple And Soft

Nappa leather is known for its suppleness and softness. This quality of the leather makes it easy to bend, fold or crease with very little effort. It is also highly durable due to this feature.

When buying products made with Nappa leather, make sure that the leather you have in hand is distinctively soft and supple yet durable. If it is not, you are probably looking at some other type of leather.

If the leather that you’re holding feels thick and stiff, it’s probably not made with Nappa leather.

4. Nappa Leather Is Lightweight

Nappa leather is lightweight as it comes from young animals. Their skins have not been thickened over time so the leather will be soft and thin.

When buying products made with Nappa leather, make sure to check that the product is lightweight if it’s supposed to be made from Nappa leather. If you’re holding a bag but feel like its weight does not match what it’s supposed to be made of, it is likely not made with Nappa leather.

Products that are supposed to be made from this luxurious type of leather should feel light in your hands. If they don’t, the product might not be what you’re expecting.

5. Nappa Leather Is Scratch Resistant

Nappa leather is scratch-resistant due to its fine natural grain surface and softness. The material does not have a hard surface so it will be difficult for scratches to form on the surface of the leather.

This does not mean your Nappa leather will not get any scratches but it will be much more difficult for your leather to get scratched compared to other types of leather.

If you want a product made with real Nappa leather, make sure the surface is smooth and soft when checking out different products in stores. If it’s not, you want to also take a look at the other factors to look out for on Nappa leather before concluding whether or not it is the real deal.

6. Nappa Leather Is Highly Absorbent

Nappa leather is highly absorbent because it is usually unsealed or only slightly uncoated – mainly to retain its natural surface.

This means that the leather will absorb moisture and liquids easily through its pores, making it good for redyeing, waterproofing, and other finishing treatments.

So when you’re out to get Nappa leather, one of the things you can do is to test the absorbency of the material you have at hand.

Simply put a drop of water on the surface of the leather and see how long it takes for the water to be absorbed. If it is quickly absorbed, then what you have is likely Nappa leather if some of the other factors check out.

7. Coloring Tends To Be Gentle To Preserve Its Natural Effects

Another distinctive feature to look out for in Nappa leather is its coloring. Unlike other types of leather, Nappa tends to be colored gently to preserve its natural effects.

Since the surface of this type of leather has not been too processed or treated chemically, it will carry some originality from where it was taken such as blemishes and pores which are usually masked with a dye.

This means Nappa leather will have the same characteristics as its original skin even after being colored. So if you’re looking at something made from this type of leather and a lot of coloring, pigments or paint have been used to mask or even out the surface of the material, it is not likely Nappa leather.

When inspecting different products made with this type of leather, take note of how the coloring was done and if it looks too uniform or artificial. If it does, that’s a good sign that the product you’re looking at is not genuine Nappa leather.

8. Nappa Leather Is Chrome-Tanned

When the raw hides and skins of animals are sourced from the meat industry it goes through a process called tanning. Tanning is the process that changes the raw material into leather.

One of the most common ways tanning is done is with chromium salts which give the resulting product a very soft texture. Chrome tanning is the process used for Nappa leather.

One of the things you can do to identify if a product is Nappa leather or not is to look out for the tanning process that was used on it. If it’s chrome-tanned, then there’s a good chance that what you have at hand is genuine Nappa leather.

9. Nappa Leather Is More Expensive Than Other Types Of Leather

Since it is high-quality leather, people who sell products made from Nappa leather will charge higher prices. Another reason why this type of leather tends to be more expensive than other types of leather is that it comes from the skin of younger animals which have fewer defects and blemishes.

When checking out different products made with this type of leather, take note of the price and see if it is significantly higher than other types of leather. If it is, then there’s a good chance you’re looking at something that’s made from genuine Nappa leather.

Final Thoughts

Nappa leather is a type of leather that’s highly regarded for its quality and softness. This article has shown you a number of ways to identify if something is made from this type of leather or not.

So the next time you’re out buying products such as bags, wallets, jackets, or other apparel made with Nappa leather – make sure to keep these things in mind and look out for them when inspecting the materials of your favorite items.

Do not only look out for one characteristic of Nappa leather but at least 3 of them. That way, you’ll be able to tell with a great degree of confidence if what you’re looking at is genuine Nappa leather or not.

Whenever possible, get in touch with the seller or manufacturer and ask for information about their products such as where it was sourced from and how it was made.

You can also ask for a tag or label that shows the product is made from genuine Nappa leather. This will help you make an informed decision when buying and know if what you’re getting is worth your money or not.


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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