November 26, 2015 | Tony Geng |

What’s the Difference Between Grain and Split Leather?

What’s the Difference Between Grain Leather and Split Leather?

We get asked this question a lot, so we decided to write a post dedicated to it.

The difference is pretty simple and we illustrated it in the picture below.

topgrain-split leather

On thick hides, like cow, using the entire hide would result in a really thick glove, so they need to be split in two.

Grain Leather: Grain leather is the top part of the leather after being split. It’s most often used in consumer goods like purses, shoes, and sofas because it’s more appealing to the eye.

Split Leather: Split leather is the bottom part of the leather after being split. It’s sometimes called suede and has a nappy appearance. It’s more commonly found in work gloves.

Grain Leather Vs. Split Leather:

Gloves Made From Split-Leather:

When the leather is first removed from the hide of an animal, it’s extremely thick. So, the first thing we do with the leather is split it cross-sectionally into layers. The bottom layer is made into what we call “split-leather.”

When it comes to work gloves, split-leather has several different advantages:

  • Split-leather has high abrasion resistance: This has to do with its dense fibers and how they lock together.
  • No synthetic product offers anything close to its level of abrasion resistance.
  • Good flexibility compared to grain leather.

Split-leather will be used on rugged gloves like our 505KGWS deluxe welding glove, which needs to hold up to high heat and abrasion.

Endura® Deluxe Cut-Resistant Welding Gloves Product ID: 505KGWS

Gloves Made From Grain Leather:

Grain leather is the top layer of the leather after it’s been split apart. Grain leather is more expensive than split-leather because of its appearance. Since it’s more aestehtically appealing, grain leather is usually found in commercial goods like purses and shoes.

Because of its higher price, grain leather is found on our premium gloves.

The real benefit of grain leather is that it is naturally water repellent, making it a great choice for winter leather gloves.

Like our 378GKGTL driver glove made from goat-grain leather.

Endura® Winter Goat-Grain Driver Gloves With Kevlar®-Blended Liner Product ID: 378GKGTL
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Should I Buy Gloves Made With Split Leather or Grain Leather?

It really depends on the price you’re looking to pay and the type of work you’re doing.

Both types of leather have good abrasion resistance, but if you’re going through 10 pairs of gloves a month, the cost benefit of split leather will be appealing.

If you’re working in wet and wintry conditions, a bit of extra water resistance from grain leather will be a great benefit.

Either way, rest assured that quality leather work gloves will hold up longer than any coated glove.

Want to Learn More About Leather Work Gloves?

Read The Rebel’s Guide to Leather Work Gloves now!

rebel's guide to leather gloves

About Tony Geng
President of Superior Glove