What is Nubuck leather

Leather comes in different shapes, qualities, and types. Each leather has its unique characteristics and features which make them popular. There are different types of products, which are made of different types of material, like suede or nubuck. Generally, people are confused about nubuck, and the primary question they want to know is Nubuck leather. 

Yes, Nubuck is leather, as it is made from the outer (top-grain) layer of calfskin or cowhide. Also, it is natural leather, as it is made from animal skin, and it offers strong durability and strength. Nubuck leather is quite expensive, due to its soft, strong, and unique texture. 

It is widely used in making leather goods like jackets, shoes, and other accessories. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how nubuck leather is made and how it is different from other leathers. We’ll also cover How to take care of nubuck leather goods, and is nubuck waterproof.  Continue reading to learn more. 


What Is Nubuck leather? 

Nubuck leather is a soft and durable luxury leather, which is made from the Top Grain of the hide. To the unfamiliar eye, it has a similar texture as Suede leather. This is one of the finest leather, with a velvet soft texture on the surface. 

Apart from the quality of Nubuck, it is also second on the list of strongest leather. 

When you touch the surface of nubuck leather, you can feel the small raised leather fiber that looks kinda rough, but when touched it feels smooth. 

Nubuck is made of three different types of layers, which are distributed perfectly. Every layer has a different mass index and has its properties. Nubuck uses the bottom part of the Grain layer, the complete grain and corium junction, and the top part of the corium. Every layer is fused with different molecular structures, thus they have their properties. Nubuck goods are relatively durable and resistant to wear, as compared to other leather. 

Read Also: What is the Faux Leather? 

Is Nubuck leather expensive?

Yes, nubuck is more expensive than vegan and faux leather. For instance, 100 sq. ft. The quantity of nubuck leather could cost around $90. Although, if you choose nubuck leather shoes, those can range above $200. Popular brands like Burberry, Hugo Boss, Allen Edmonds, and Ugg also make footwear with Nubuck, and this footwear range from $200 – $1500.

Is Nubuck Suede or Leather Similar?

From the first look, both types of leather make look and feel similar. It is because the process of manufacturing is identical and both go through the sanding process. The difference between suede and nubuck is the hide of the calfskin, material, and grain. 

Also, the nubuck offers more durability as compared to suede. 

Read Also: Is Faux Leather Waterproof? 

How is Nubuck Leather Made of?

Traditionally, nubuck was made from deer or elk, but now calf skin is used to make nubuck. Also, calfskin is one of the reasons, the nubuck has a soft texture. 

Nubuck leather is made through the process called tanning, which requires a total of 25 steps that can easily last months. 

To manufacture nubuck leather, the outer layer of the calfskin is used. The skin used is the top-grain or full-grain layer. 

It represents high-quality material, as the outside skin goes through the sanding process. Through this, the nubuck leather texture becomes soft and gets a velvet finish. 

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What is Nubuck Leather Used For?

Nubuck leather is used in numerous products in fashion accessories and every household product. Commonly, these include:

  • Handbags
  • Briefcases
  • Travel Bags
  • Luggage
  • Pouches
  • Jackets
  • Automobile Upholstery
  • Furniture Upholstery
  • Boots
  • Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Belts
  • Clothing
  • Wallets
  • Gloves
  • Notebook Covers
  • Mobile Electronic Device Covers and Cases
  • Watchbands
  • Keychains
  • Purses

Is Nubuck Leather good quality?

Yes, Nubuck is premium leather. It is quite durable and strong because it is made from a string hide. With proper care, nubuck leather goods can last for decades, but it is still not good in comparison to real leather. 

Read Also: 3 Methods to Waterproof A Zipper 

Is Nubuck Leather Waterproof Or Water Resistant?

No, nubuck leather is not water-resistant or waterproof. On top of that, the nubuck leather attracts more water, when wet. Although, there is no risk or damage to nubuck leather if it is wet. 

However, by using various DIY hacks, nubuck leather goods can be made waterproof and water-resistant. 

Although, doing so will cause the losing soft feel of the nubuck leather goods. 

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Does Nubuck leather scratch easily?

Yes, Nubuck leather scratches easily. Since it is natural leather, often with the grain exposed, scratches will leave marks in Nubuck. Since the surface is composed of many tiny raised fibers, it is possible to make the scratch less visible by brushing the fibers in such a way that it masks the scratch. While not as smooth as unscratched Nubuck, it is normal to experience scratches in this material resulting from everyday wear and use.

Footwear Brand which uses Nubuck Leather

Nubuck shoes are extremely popular in the fashion industry, and footwear made from nubuck is considered elegant and premium. For instance, Timberland used Nubuck leather to make work boots, to withstand hard work conditions, as nubuck offers durability and comfort. 

While premium brands like Burberry, Hugo Boss, Allen Edmonds, and Ugg, use nubuck leather to make stylish footwear.

Read Also: Are uggs waterproof?  

How to Clean Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather products such as shoes can easily be cleaned with a lint-free cloth. There is no special training or equipment required to clean a nubuck leather. 

Moisture cloth may sometimes darken the color of the shoes, but for a small time. When the air dries, the color gets back to normal. 

Read Also: Can You Tailor A Leather Jacket 

How to Waterproof Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather is not waterproof, but that doesn’t it can’t be waterproofed. Nubuck leather can easily crack or tear if it is exposed to wet conditions for long durations. 

To waterproof nubuck leather shoes, a wax protectant should be added to the product. It will make it water-resistant. This process takes about 4-5 minutes, where the wax is buffed out, and only the shiny and clear surface is left. This process makes a thin coating, which can repel water. 

To add more protection to the shoe, you can add acrylics or synthetic protectants for a strong waterproof layer. 

Read Also: Ugg vs Koolaburra: Difference between both 

How to Fix a Scratch on Nubuck Leather

Although nubuck is durable, it often gets scratches. The simple method to remove a scratch is to use oil on the shoes. This is a perfect strategy if the scratch is small. 

If the scratch is large or deep, then you have to use a conditioner to buff it out. 

If that doesn’t work, then brushing the fabric is the only option. Use a soft nubuck brush, and adjust the fibers enough so that the scratch is not visible to the naked eye. 

When the scratch is too deep or too large, then use a leather kit. It has a substance that can be added to the leather crack or scratches, and after a few minutes, the acarvh is invisible ( choose the same color). 

Read Also: Is nylon breathable 

How to Fix Tears in Nubuck Leather

Nubuck leather goods like shoes often face tears, but due to their durability, the product can easily be restored with sewing. 

Although the finished product will not be similar to the new, if the thread is thin, then it is not visible to the naked eye. 

If the tear is small, you can use leather glue, which will join the two tears. Get the color similar to the leather shoe color, and it will be not noticeable. 

How to Store Nubuck Leather

Most leather goods require an excellent, dry, dust-free storage space. Similarly, nubuck should be placed in these types of conditions. 

However, the nubuck should be placed in storage space, with constant airflow. If the nubuck is placed in a high humidity environment, then the nubuck begins to deteriorate, and mold. 

The same happens when a nubuck leather product is tired in a sealed place. A sealed place causes the humidity to increase. 

On the other hand, if a nubuck leather product is placed in a low humidity place, the leather begins to dry, causing cracking and weakening of the leather fibers. 

So the best place to store is where there is constant airflow which gives natural fibers enough time to breathe or have a stable environment. 

What to do if a nubuck leather shoe is wet? 

The first step is to make sure that the shoes are fully dry. Doing this will make the leather good mold-free. 

There is no damage to the nubuck fibers even if the nubuck leather is wet. 

Always make to store the leather goods, where there is a constant flow of air. 

Is Nubuck leather real leather?

Yes, Nubuck leather is real leather. It is taken from the top grain of the hide, which is sanded on the outer surface, and slippery on the inside. This gives a velvety feel similar to suede, but in comparison, it is extremely better.

Should you wax Nubuck leather?

Yes, nubuck leather should be waxed, if you are willing to use nubuck leather goods in wet conditions. Although nubuck is durable it is not waterproof, and in wet conditions, the nubuck can face tears on the surface. So, to avoid this, you should wax your nubuck leather goods. Waxing a nubuck leather product will create a thick layer that makes it impenetrable and waterproof. 

Hi, gurbi is a fashion blogger, designer, and fashion consultant. He is 25 yrs old man who love the world of fashion.