Is Buffalo Leather Durable?

We’re often asked the question, “is Buffalo leather durable?” Leather durability depends on many factors. Durability is determined by the animal the leather came from, type of leather grade, thickness of the leather, thickness of the leather fiber, density of the leather fibers, and overall quality of the leather itself. Below we’ll explain how each of these factors is used to determine the durability of Buffalo leather. But generally speaking, yes, Buffalo leather is very durable.

Type of animal leather determines general quality

Different animal leather has different thickness, grain structure, fiber thickness, and fiber density. These factors all play into the durability of the leather. When referring to cattle, Bull leather is typically more dense than a heifer, and is therefore stronger. If we look at American Bison/Buffalo vs Cattle, the fiber density of Buffalo is a bit less because the fibers are thicker. We’ve worked with cow and Buffalo hide for decades and we’ve found Buffalo leather durability to be as strong or stronger than cow leather.

Tanned Full Grain Buffalo Leather
This photo shows multiple tannings of our Buffalo Leather. You can see this is full grain leather because of the textures on the surface of the leather.
Buffalo Leather
Buffalo Leather - This American Bison hide is our custom tanned full grain leather. It is highly durable and has thick fibers.
Cow Leather
This is an example of cowhide leather for you to compare with our custom tanned Buffalo Leather.

Leather grades play a significant role in durability

The leather grades are another factor in determining how strong leather is. Full Grain Leather is the strongest type of leather grade as it contains all fibers. Top Grain Leather however is created so the leather has a smooth finish. This is done by sanding and buffing off the top most layer of the leather, removing and destroying the strongest most dense part of the fibers. This gives the leather a nice look initially, but as it ages it will fall apart much more quickly than Full Grain Leather and won’t develop nearly as good of a patina.

Is Buffalo leather durable because of its grade? In our case, yes.

How leather thickness impacts durability

The thickness of leather impacts how durable the leather is. If the leather is thicker, it will be more durable as it will take longer for something thick to wear out. Thickness is a mixed bag though because an item that is too thick would be hard to use. When we make our leather wallets and billfolds, we make sure to take leather thickness into account. We keep it thick enough to be very durable, but thin enough to be easily used.

Buffalo leather has thicker fibers than cow leather

The thicker fibers of American Buffalo / American Bison leather means that each fiber will last a bit longer. So while the leather inch for inch may be a bit less dense, the thick fibers make up for the lack of density quite a bit. In fact, we think the thick fibers of American Bison leather may matter more when it comes to durability. Is Buffalo leather durable because of its thick fibers? Yes!

How does fiber density affect leather durability?

The more dense the fiber structure in the leather, the more the leather durability is increased. If you think about it this way, 20 fibers per sq mm would not be as tight as something with more fibers in the same amount of space. Hence it would be more prone to fall apart. But that’s mainly because it’s not as tight. If you increased the size and thickness in the of the first example by 2.5x, then they would actually be packed together a lot tighter than the second sample. Is Buffalo leather durable because of its density? Yes!

Conclusion: Buffalo leather is durable.

So, is Bison leather durable? We’re happy to conclude that Buffalo leather is highly durable. It meets many of the questions asked above. It also meets our own tests after working with leather since 1972.

If you’re looking to try out a product with Buffalo leather in it to see just how durable it is, here are some recommendations: Buffalo Leather Wallets & Billfolds, Buffalo Leather Belts, Buffalo Leather Purses. All of our Buffalo leather goods are Made in USA and built to last.