When you see the different terms that describe the types of leather and its man-made counterparts, it’s easy to get confused about which types are high quality and which are lackluster. Two of the main leather labels you should keep in mind are real leather and soft, smooth leatherette. Though the latter is synthetic, it retains the soft texture to make the two comparable in quality. The main differences between leatherette and real leather may surprise you—both are high-quality products, but only one can make excellent seat covers.
Qualities of Leatherette
Leatherette, also known as simulated leather, is a high-quality alternative to leather, and it has improved with time. In some cases, it can be difficult to tell leatherette from authentic leather by texture alone. Vinyl makes up the composition of simulated leather products, meaning that it is ultimately a plastic product—this makes it cheaper to produce than real leather. Simulated leather is a protective type of fabric and repels liquid, never allowing it to seep into the material and cause staining or mold.
Though leatherette protects, it may protect a little too well—if seats get hot, they stay hot unless they’re ventilated. However, this is the only downside as far as car seat covers are concerned. Simulated leather is much easier to clean than real leather and more difficult to damage. Because leatherette is a synthetic product, the manufacturer can dye the material vibrant colors rather than dyeing it after its creation, which would give it a dull color rather than bright.
Leatherette is perfect for: Spill-prone families, people looking to protect their leather seats, and people who want leather seats while on a budget.
Qualities of Real Leather
On the other hand, leather is the real deal, silky, buttery animal product with a distinct aroma. Some people want leather seats in their car for the scent alone. Real leather is made from the skin of an animal; it’s porous and absorbent—making it grip onto liquids and smells tighter than many other materials. Spilling something on your leather seats is guaranteed to stain them. Food and smoke smells will stick in your leather seats for a long while.
However, leather does breathe well and won’t stay hot, unlike leatherette. It’s also softer, making it a more luxurious product for people who don’t need to worry about children or pets ruining the upholstery. Real leather requires regular upkeep, whether it’s leather conditioning or cleaning with special products.
Real leather is perfect for: Luxury cars, warm climates, and people with time to perform upkeep on their leather seats.
Based on the main differences between leatherette and real leather, which product is better for your vehicle? Authentic leather upholstery in any vehicle can cost you thousands of dollars—comparatively, high-quality simulated leather seat covers from Fia will only cost you hundreds. Not only will your seats look amazing in beautiful leatherette, but they’ll stay protected from dirt and stains with an easy-to-clean finish.