While many types of leather appear the same from a distance, they actually vary quite drastically in terms of look, feel, and durability. This variation depends on the quality of the hide and the finishing process used on it. So, what is aniline leather? Simply put, aniline leather is the most natural, buttery soft leather that exists.
Aniline leather is dyed using only soluble dyes. The dyeing takes place in large wooden drums, and the hides are soaked there until they achieve the desired color. The exclusive use of soluble dyes preserves the hide’s natural surface (unlike the uniform, unnatural surface produced by an insoluble pigmented sealant). Because the leather retains the hide’s natural imperfections and variations, only the highest quality hides are appropriate for aniline leather.
The absence of layers of sealant and insoluble finishes results in soft, breathable leather. But it also means the leather is more susceptible to stains and damage from sunlight. On one hand, leather of this premium quality is made to age well. Aniline leather wears into a rich patina, growing more beautiful over time. On the other hand, not all wear is desirable, so take care to not leave your aniline leather bag in a sunny windowsill, and immediately tend to any moisture. For more details, check out our articles on how to care for leather and what to do when leather gets wet.
When a manufacturer uses a full grain hide (the highest grade of leather hides) to produce aniline leather, the result is truly the finest leather that can be created. Supple, soft, and as natural as possible, aniline leather is a luxurious choice for any leather tote, purse, or clutch.
So, what is aniline leather? Simply put, aniline leather is the most natural, buttery soft leather that exists.