November 11, 2021

Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is the most natural type of leather and is colored with soluble aniline dyes. Since it has not undergone any color correction treatment or surface finishing, the leather is very smooth and soft. The natural texture of the leather is very distinct and so aniline leather is often classified as high-end and priced based on each hide’s condition. In general, it is more expensive than other types of leather. The absence of alterations such as additional color and surface treatments makes aniline leather feel more natural, soft and warm to the touch. It is absolutely comfortable and satisfying.

For aniline leather, we always see the pores on the leather surface easily (please note that the natural pores of the leather are different from the perforation that is intentionally created during the tanning process). A product may be accepted as aniline leather when it has a water resistant layer provided that the finish does not contain any pigment. Aniline leather is the utmost supple and breathable leather, but there aren't any supposedly perfect finishes with aniline leather. Aniline leather should have its surface layer as natural as possible. Soft aniline leather is also known as nappa leather but this term is not common. In addition, leathers with velvety textures, such as suede and nubuck, are also classified as breathable leathers.

Criteria for aniline leather are specified in national and international standards. In Europe, the term is defined in the DIN EN 15987 "LEATHER- TERMINOLOGY - KEY DEFINITIONS FOR THE LEATHER TRADE INDUSTRY (July 2015). According to this classification, aniline leather is a smooth leather with clearly visible pores. All coats of paint or finishes must not be thicker than 0.01mm and must not contain any pigment/pigmented ingredients.

A wide range of products are made from aniline leather, such as furniture, handbags, shoes, or clothing items. Aniline leather is not suitable for car interiors, as automotive leather needs ease of cleaning and maintenance. This can only be achieved when using leathers that have a sprayed-on top coat. Because the natural surface structure of the leather is fully visible in aniline leather, only impeccable hides can be processed to make aniline leather. Any damage to the surface of the animal's skin due to horn scratches, dandruff, warts, insect bites, and other marks such as fire wounds that can leave scars are visible. Therefore, raw hides with many natural scars that greatly affect the aesthetics of the hide cannot be selected for the production of aniline leather. However, most raw hides are scarred, sometimes heavily scarred or damaged, so choosing aniline leather is really difficult. This is also the reason why aniline leather is often more expensive than others.

Today, tanneries say less than 5% of the leather delivered can be processed into aniline leather – an extremely low proportion. As mentioned above, aniline is a highly breathable leather, if you drop some water on the surface, the water will immediately seep down and darken the skin. Aniline leather is often prone to liquid and grease stains. It also fades easily when exposed to sunlight and is highly susceptible to damages by external factors. Aniline leather usually has a grip, warmth, and softness like wax, with almost no shine or little shine.

In short, aniline leather is superior because it is breathable, and is very soft and smooth. Aniline products feel super comfortable, which is entirely different from the types of finished leather (also known as surface treated leather). - Limitations of aniline: higher costs than other leathers, difficult to maintain.

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