How to distinguish natural leather from artificial: tips for choosing shoes

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Genuine leather shoes usually serve a longer purpose

Even though manufacturers have learned to produce fairly high-quality artificial leather, it is still inferior in durability and endurance to natural leather. That is why we often try to buy shoes made of genuine leather. It will simply last longer and wear better.

How to distinguish natural material from artificial? OBOZREVATEL collected a few life hacks, which are used even by professionals.

Conduct a test by touch

Natural leather is usually soft, slightly elastic and grainy to the touch. Artificial material differs from it in these qualities. Therefore, hold the product in your hand. Natural material will warm up evenly and cool down gradually. On the other hand, artificial leather will be cold and similar to plastic and will not stretch.

Smell the material

Natural leather has a distinct odor, often described as earthy, woody, oaky or just leathery, whereas synthetic leather does not. Cheap synthetic material may smell like plastic or have a chemical odor, whereas high-quality faux leather will have no odor at all.

Check the grain

Natural leather always has a heterogeneous surface texture with hills and pores on the surface that can be felt well to the touch. A substitute will always be smoother, even if it perfectly mimics the natural texture.

Try the open fire test

Not every store will give you such a test and you should use fire very carefully, but it will show you exactly whether the leather is natural or not. Hold a match or a lighter in an inconspicuous place close to the material for 5-10 seconds. If it catches fire or emits a chemical odor, you are dealing with a substitute. Natural leather is charred and smells like burnt hair.

Pay attention to the edges

As faux leather is machine-made, it has perfectly smooth edges and a neat finish. The cut of genuine leather will have irregularities and can look quite rough. In addition, it will be uniform in the cut, not divided into layers.

Do a bend test

Since faux leather is tougher than natural leather, they bend differently. Natural material bends quite easily, wrinkles naturally and changes color slightly.

Apply some water to the surface

Natural leather absorbs moisture, while artificial leather does not. Apply a few drops. Even if treated with a water repellent, natural leather will absorb a small amount of water. However, it will form drops on an artificial leather.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL shared how to distinguish real photos from images generated by artificial intelligence.

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