How to understand the difference between a full grain leather and a corrected grain pig leather? Just follow this 3 steps and you should easily identify the type of the leather you are looking at.
1/ Have a close look at the leather.
Full grain leather refers to leather that has not been sanded during the tanning process. So you should closely to see if you find traces of sanding of the leather. Tanneries use huge drums to remove the animal hairs and to adjust imperfections such as scars, hairs, skin moles and holes. For example, pig have lots of hairs and to make a corrected grain leather, you have to leave the skin in the tannery drum much longer than a cow full grain leather. So just look at it and look for obvious defects that are trying to be hidden.
2/ Feel it, is it flexible and smooth or is it hard and more rigid?
A cow full grain leather is a premium leather. It’s made out of the part of the skin which comes with almost no defects, meaning, no scar, mole or any type of hole. It doesn’t need to be sanded. It’s common to use the skin covering the bottom part of the animal. It’s a nice and soft part.
On the opposite a corrected grain leather must feel rougher, more rigid as the skin used is made out of a cheaper skin which comes with more defect.
3/ Look for micro-holes in the leather
Corrected grain leather doesn’t always come from a cow. Often pig is used for corrected grain. The one thing you should´t find is a full grain pig leather. That doesn’t exist! Why? Simply because pig skin comes with long and thick hair that marks the skin so tanneries need to sand it and a apply a “fake” grain to the surfrace of the material. A good tip is to flip and to look on the other side for hair holes for example.
Extra one: Does it wears out over time?
The advantage of using a full grain leather boot is its durability over time. After a couple of month of use, if your leather starts looking bad and worn out that is a correct grain.
Doesn’t that mean that a corrected grain leather cannot be a good fit for a pair of shoes? Of course not, it’s just less premium and they work just fine. Just don’t get fouled and make sure that if you pay a high price for a pair of shoes, follow these 3 easy steps to identify a full grain leather from a corrected grain leather!