FAQ: Are there any types of leathers I should avoid?

Answer:

Yes, unfortunately there are a number of low-grade and artificial leathers, many of them with very misleading names, that you won't find on Oak Roads and that we recommend you steer clear of:

  • Genuine Leather - Sadly, this is one of the most misleading terms used to market low-grade leathers. It typically refers to scrap leather that's been ground up, mixed with a glue-like substance, and pressed into sheets (often embossed with a fake leather texture). Think of it as sawdust that's been turned into particle board: cheap and suitable to some purposes but it won't hold up to any sort of regular use.
  • Bonded & Bicast Leather - One small step up from so-called Genuine Leather, this the equivalent of wooden particle board. It consists of small scraps and chips of leather glued to one or both sides of a central substrate, often cardboard or fabric. Again, not something that's going to take on a lot of character or survive much wear and tear.
  • Split-Grain Leather - Split-grain leather is at least a single piece of leather rather than reconstituted fragments but it consists of only the loose-grained underlayer of a hide. It tears, punctures, and degrades relatively easily and it lacks the inherent grain and character of the hide's outer layer.
  • Pu Leather, Pleather, Leatherette & Leather Cloth - Short for plastic leather or poly-urethane leather, these are fully artificial leather substitutes where a rubbery plastic is bonded to a piece of fabric backing and often pressed into a leather like texture. It isn't as tolerant to heat and cold as true leather and it often suffers from chipping, tearing, fraying and delamination. It also lacks the strength, porosity, and durability of the natural product.
  • Koskin - This is another brand of artificial leather that is often found in computer laptop cases. The word "Koskin" is very similar to the word for cowhide/leather in Swedish (koskinn) and Danish (koskind) and represents another example of how manufacturers of artificial leather attempt to confuse and mislead consumers.