Types of leather

Leather is one of the most versatile materials we know. This is due to the unique fiber structure of the skin. Because there are different types of animals, there are also different types of leather. We can be brief about the leather of Donders 1860 itself: it is a waste product of the meat industry. The animals are slaughtered for their meat. Donders 1860 uses the residual product to make something useful out of it.

Leather is a beautiful material that is processed into clothing in many types and qualities.

Beef leather
Beef leather is a type of leather that comes from cows, buffaloes or the yak. This type of leather can be recognized by the structure of the leather, it is a somewhat heavier and stiffer leather. The natural properties are clearly visible. Beef leather is durable, flexible, sturdy and has a natural grain.

  • Cow leather
    Cow leather is a thicker quality and has a natural visible grain structure. This leather is soft but a bit stiff, because it is thicker than sheep leather. The leather feels nice and soft because it has been lightly washed. This leather has a sleek and rich appearance.
  • Buffalo leather
    Buffalo leather is made from the skin of water buffalo and has a tough, robust appearance. The capillaries in the leather are still clearly visible. This is because the water buffalo are hairier than normal cows. The leather is made of sturdy and durable material. The Donders 1860 leather aprons are made of this material.

Calfskin can be recognized by its fine, soft structure and often has a velvety appearance. Calfskin is often used from the skin of a young cow. Calfskin is durable leather with a supple/fine structure.

Calf split leather is the bottom layer of the calf skin. Calf skin is usually 4-6mm thick by itself and that is quite thick. The hairy top layer and the bottom layer are removed by default. The layers that remain is calf leather. The top layer that remains is the ‘genuine leather’ with natural impressions, this layer is also very supple. Calf split leather is the bottom layer, without the natural impressions, this layer is stiffer.

Pigskin has a distinctive grain pattern in that the capillaries form roughly triangular groups of three. Pigskin has a rougher grain, tight fibers, fullness and less elasticity than other leathers. The strength is comparable to that of cow leather, but stronger than sheep leather. It has excellent wear resistance and the finished products are durable.

Sheep leather
Sheep leather is light, thin, soft and an ideal fabric for leather clothing. The leather is a thin quality, which makes it great to wear in the summer. Sheep leather is very flexible and does not crease easily. Sheepskin has a fine texture, the pores are clear and evenly distributed. It is also a sustainable product and is used for high-quality clothing.


Lambskin is the best leather in terms of suppleness, softness and wearability. The leather made from lambskin is very versatile and has a texture that provides a luxurious look. Lamb leather products have an elegant and chic look.

Goatskin is a very durable material and will look more and more beautiful over time. This leather type is light, supple and soft. These characteristics make goat leather very suitable for making practical clothing.

Nerftypes - types of leather - Donders 1860
  1. Sheep leather
  2. Pigskin
  3. Calfskin
  4. Goatskin
  5. Beef leather

In addition to the different animal species, there are also different processes of leather:

Nappa leather
This is understood to mean a supple clothing leather, in which the grain of the skin (the hair side) is worn outwards. Nappa leather generally has a good resistance to rain, it is much less sensitive to dirt and grease than nubuck & suede and is very easy to maintain. This type of leather is usually dyed and made from lambskin or sheepskin. Nappa leather is durable and resistant to damage.

Split leather
Split leather is a type of leather that is created when the hide is divided into several layers. Split leather is 100% natural leather and is easy to maintain.

Suede has a luxurious look and is made from the underside of the skin. Clothing suede is made from sheep, goat, calf and pigskin. Suede can be recognized by the hairy and soft top layer. Suede items are often supple and soft to the touch.

Nubuck is similar to suede, but is made from the outside of the skin. Suede, on the other hand, is made from the inside of the skin. With nubuck leather, the grain of the leather is velvety processed by sanding. Natural damage has been completely or partially removed by sanding. Calf and sheep skins are especially suitable for this. Nice effects can be obtained by printing it before sanding. Nubuck has a luxurious look and feels strong and soft.

PU leather
PU leather is imitation leather which consists of textile over which a synthetic layer is applied. A structure is pressed into this plastic that corresponds to the structure of real leather.

Various symbols are included in the label of each clothing item that inform you about the treatment options for your PU leather garment.