Suede is a type of leather. The term originates in France in around 1860 where the term ‘gants de Suède’ was used to refer to a particular type of soft gloves imported from Sweden. Over time, the word ‘suede’ came to refer to any type of soft leather with a smooth nap finish.

Suede is the inner layer of the natural skin or hide of an animal, for example cowhide, goatskin, pigskin and sheepskin. Thick animal hide can be split into layers. The outer layer is called ‘top grain leather’ or just simply ‘leather’ and the inside split layer is what is referred to as suede. The hide is tanned in order to produce a supple, durable material. It can also be brushed or napped on both sides to enhance its softness.

Suede is used for a number of applications including for clothing, shoes, bags and upholstering furniture.

Properties and qualities

Suede is less durable than standard leather but its thinness and pliability make it suitable for fairly delicate uses. It is an absorbent material and much less expensive than full grain leather.

How does it feel?

Suede is a soft material.


Suede should be cleaned with a dry sponge or suede brush to remove dust and dirt. It can be protected against water stains and damage with a silicon spray. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your suede product.