Why is it important to understand leather quality? Because good leather products aren’t cheap. And because cheap leather products aren’t good. If you’re in the market for consumer leather goods — and that can be anything from shoes to sofas — take a few minutes to educate yourself on the quality of leather before you shop. High-quality leather is a worthwhile investment. Read on to learn more about the quality of leather in many of the products available on the market today.

Factors that Affect Leather Quality:


The leather grade tells you two things:

  • Was the hide was shaved down from its original thickness during the tanning process?
  • How much?

When it comes to leather, thicker is better. Full Grain Leather hasn’t been shaved down at all, while Bonded Leather is nothing but glued-together scraps & leather dust. We’re all for using every single bit of the hide, but when we make a wallet, we want it to last.  That’s why we use Full Grain Bison Leather here at the Buffalo Billfold Company.

For the full knowledge-drop on grading, check out our Leather Grades page.


Not all hides are created equal. Buffalo hide creates a beautiful and extremely durable leather. Snake skin, on the other hand, makes a beautiful but fairly fragile leather. Educate yourself on the characteristics of different animal leathers before you buy. Our Different Types of Leather page is a handy reference.

Tanning process:

People have been turning hides into leather for centuries. Each method has benefits and drawbacks. Because of this, consumers must weight cost savings against environmental impact against health concerns when choosing one tanning process over another.

Check out our LEATHER TANNING TYPES page to educate yourself on this important aspect of leather quality.

15 yrs vs 2 yrs
The Buffalo Billfold Company belt on the left is 15 years old and looking better every day! Compare it to the 2 year old "name brand" belt on the right.

Does Leather Quality Affect Durability and Beauty?


When you buy a full-grain buffalo leather wallet from us, you’re making an investment.  Our products are built to last, and they do. We’ve had customers come back for a second durable buffalo leather wallet forty years after purchasing the first one. What a great testimonial!


Full Grain Leather retains the hide’s natural texture, resulting in leather goods with beautifully unique patterns. Any scars or brands the animal collected over its lifetime remain visible as well, making your purse truly one of a kind.

And the more you use it, the better it gets! Why? Because in addition to its natural texture, Full Grain Leather also retains its ability to absorb oil. The more you handle it, the deeper the patina that develops.


But wait, isn’t high quality leather expensive? If you only compare price tags, then sure, the higher quality leather item does cost more. Then again, it’s far more expensive to replace your wallet or belt every year or two than to invest in a single high-quality piece that’ll last a few decades.

What industries use leather?

High-end Consumer Leather Goods like those we produce here at the Buffalo Billfold Company are often made of Full Grain Leather. This is because walletspursesbelts, & attache cases are items you use and touch every day. They need to be both beautiful and durable. But many other industries and market segments use leather of all grades and types. These industries include:

  • Fashion
  • Athletic
  • Coats
  • Gloves
  • Household furniture like sofas and chairs
  • Automobile interior upholstery
Sports equipment
  • Footballs
  • Baseball gloves
  • Saddles
  • Bridles
  • Harnesses
Pet Supplies
  • Collars
  • Leashes
Book Binding
Industrial supplies