What Is Nappa Leather?

Nappa, or napa leather, is a kind of leather taken not from the body of the animal but from the legs. Usually, it comes from the calves of lambs and kid goats. As such, the leather is soft, and it is why it is always used for bags, furniture, and shoes.

Today, we will learn everything that there is about nappa leather and what makes it unique. We will also review the advantages and disadvantages of this type of leather so we can help you decide on your net leather purchase.

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PU leather

What is Nappa leather?

Nappa leather owes its name to Napa Valley in California, where a leather tanning company developed the first batches of nappa leather.

This type of leather is of high quality as it uses the skin of young animals. The tanning process is also different. What makes nappa leather distinct is its softness. It is highly pliable, and it is the favorite of people who make upholstery for car seats and home furniture. 

Today, some companies use the name nappa leather even if they are selling synthetic versions of it. So, we must show you how to identify the real nappa leather from the fake one.

How to know If It's Nappa leather

Nappa leather is pure leather. It is top-of-the-line leather, so it has a full grain that you can easily see. The surface of this leather is like aniline, as the process requires that no modification should happen.

As such, nappa leather looks like skin, even if it has been dyed. The tanning process is the key to making the leather retain its original texture. The markings are also not uniform, as no animals do not have the same skin types.

Premium cars use nappa leather on their steering wheels, you can tell as it feels luxurious and somewhat thicker. Making it even more important to clean your leather steering wheel. Additionally make sure you use a certified car leather cleaner when cleaning nappa leather.

Advantages and disadvantages of nappa leather

Here are the pros of nappa leather:

  • Prestige – it is like the tenderloin of beef as it is a choice cut of leather
  • Soft – this leather comes from the calves, so it is not as tough as the leather that comes from the body hide
  • Longevity – nappa leather will not lose its shape for many years
  • Natural – it is the perfect leather that shows the beauty of animal skin

In addition to these benefits, nappa leather is colorfast. What it means is that it will not easily fade. It is also easy to clean, provided that you use the right materials, such as leather cleaners and conditioners.

And now, here are the disadvantages of nappa leather:

  • Sustainability – it comes from real animals and is as pure as can be; animal production has a high carbon footprint and is not always sustainable
  • Expensive – nappa leather, being the choice cut, can cost a lot of money
  • Not waterproof – since nappa leather is processed as aniline, the tanning process does not use protectants. Because of this, the leather is porous and will easily absorb water.

Nappa leather is ideal for occasional use only. However, many manufacturers use it for things we use every day like shoes and bags. When it comes to embossing leather, Nappa leather is some of the best leather to emboss. Should you decide to buy nappa leather for daily use, you must prepare yourself to maintain it as necessary. You should also avoid wetting it, or the leather will easily lose its oil and eventually crack or peel.

Summary: What Is Nappa Leather?

Nappa leather is pure, and we can also call it aniline leather. However, the main difference is that nappa leather comes from the calves of young goats and lambs. The hide does not come from the body. As such, it is expensive because the leather that one animal can produce from its calves is so small.

When buying nappa leather, the way you would check for authenticity is similar to aniline. The maintenance is also the same, so you must only buy nappa leather products if you are willing to grease some elbows to clean and moisturize them.