I recently had an email from someone who wanted to know if a leather jacket I had was really tough, not a soft leather jacket. He seemed to indicate that if a leather jacket was soft to the touch it was not a tough leather jacket. So I thought I’d clear up that question in a post today.
How tough, or long lasting a leather jacket is depends on several things, but softness is not one of them. Leather that is soft and flexible to the touch has just been treated very well to get that way. The real test of how rugged a leather jacket is depends on the type of hide, the layer of the hide used and how thick the hide is.
A top grain leather is the layer of hide at the top, where the hair use to be. That layer is the strongest part of the hide. Leather hides are always split into several layers. The layers below the top grain is the split grain leather, which is a bit weaker than the top layer.