What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck has a feel similar to suede but it’s more durable since it comes from the top grain of the hide. It has a great look and feel and is used for a wide variety of products. It brings together some of the finer qualities among the various kinds of leather.

How Nubuck Leather is Made

To make nubuck leather, the outer (top-grain) layer of calfskin or cowhide is used. The top-grain layer is tougher and more resilient than the inner layer, which is used to make suede. However, because it may have visible markings and defects, the top grain is sanded and buffed on the outside to provide a consistent appearance. The sanding process leaves a slight nap of short protein fibers, giving a velvet-like finish to the leather. In order to hide any defects remaining in the nubuck surface, it is stained or dyed.  


Because nubuck is made from top-grain leather, it is more durable and tough compared to suede. It is also more durable than bicast leather or bonded leather, which do not use the top-grain portion of the hide. However, it is more vulnerable to soiling and staining than other leathers due to its rough surface.


After the brushing or sanding process to give it the velvety feel and look, the nubuck leather can be dyed or stained to any color. It is soft to the touch.

Products Nubuck Is Commonly Used For

Nubuck is used for shoes, jackets, wallets, handbags, travel bags, briefcases, furniture and many other items. It is commonly used for footwear such as boots and shoes. Considering its history of being associated with fashionable figures and aristocracy, it is suitable for luxury goods.

Advantages of Nubuck

Because nubuck is made from top-grain leather, it is long-lasting and durable. It is also more breathable than synthetic leathers and leather bonded with synthetic coats. Not only is it comfortable, it also looks great no matter what product it is used in. It does not require polishing or shining, unlike some other leather types. It requires less maintenance than many other leathers due to its velvety surface, which just requires occasional cleaning, although it darkens when wet it dries back to its original color.