Leather 101: Leather Grain and Texture

Leather 101: Leather Grain and Texture

Apr 08 2019 0 Comments

Let's Talk About Leather Grain and Texture! 

Some folks love Pebbled leather, some love Smooth. Knowing what leather texture you love makes it so much easier to pick out the right kind for your project. Not sure which one is your favorite? We'll break down what each texture looks and feels like, so you can be sure to find the perfect one for you! To start, we have several different grains and textures that we sell here at The Leather Guy.


The 5 most common Grains and Textures you will see here at TLG are Smooth, Flat Grain, Grainy, Pebble, or Embossed.

leather grain

Smooth Leather is completely smooth, with no texture at all. Most commonly found in Oil Tan, Veg Tan, or Patent Leather.
Flat Grain Leather has a visible grain but feels smooth to the touch. A number of our collection leathers feature this grain.
Grainy Leather has a visible grain that you can feel as you run your hand over it. Bison hides have a very distinct Grainy texture.
Pebble Grain Leather is a very bold, typically tight grain. It resembles a pebbled beach, hence the name. It comes in three sizes from small to large pebbled. This grain also has a distinct feel to it.
Embossed Leather is any leather that has had a texture applied to it using heat and pressure. It can be used to create man-made patterns such as basket weaves or the iconic Saffiano crosshatch, but can also be used to make cowhides look like more exotic leather like Crocodile or Ostrich.

Nubuck and Suede are also popular leather textures, but can easily be mistaken for one another.

difference between suede and nubuck
Nubuck Leather is the Top Grain of the hide, sanded down to have a soft, suede-like feel. Some Nubuck may still have a noticeable grain.
Suede Leather, on the other hand, is the underside of the hide, with the top grain split away. It creates a very soft and fuzzy nape on both sides of the leather.
Suede and Nubuck can require specialized care due to the soft and fuzzy finish. That's why you'll find so many suede specific products out there in the world!

Lastly, you may encounter a grain called Hair Cell. This is found frequently on Pig leather or as an embossed texture.


Hair Cell Texture is the appearance of the hair follicles where the animal's hair grew from. Pig hair cell has a distinct grouping of three follicles. It is actually a very popular embossing pattern. The natural may not stand out as much depending on how the leather is finished. Up above is a suede pig leather, but you can still make out the slight traces of the hair cell grain!


So there you have it, some of the most common grains and textures out there. The wide variances available in genuine leather are part of what makes it such a great material to work with! What grain do you find yourself using most often? Let us know!


Curious about the thickness of leather or how to measure your leather? Read our other blog posts for more information!


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