Buffalo leather, also known as English Saddle Leather, is sourced from domestic buffalo hide. The leather has a distinctive grain in comparison to cowhide leather or sheep leather. It comes in a variety of colors and finishes and is often characterized by the rich and deep tones of the hide. Buffalo leather has a striking appearance and can last for a long time with proper care and maintenance. Buffalo leather also develops a natural rich patina as it ages over time, enhancing the beauty and appeal of the leather apparel or accessory.
Buffalo leather can be processed using either the chrome tanning technique or a chrome-free method that is more environmentally friendly. However, chrome-free tanning can take more time to process buffalo leather than chrome-based tanning. In both of these processes, buffalo hide is not stretched during the tanning process. This makes it more resistant to tearing when compared to cowhide leather or sheepskin leather.
Generally, buffalo hide has an epidermal layer that is three times thicker than cowhide, making it extremely durable and even stronger when compared to leather sourced from other animal skins. However, buffalo leather can also be very soft and flexible and can be used for a variety of women’s leather clothing whether it is a jacket, skirt, legging, or pants. Below is an overview of the different types of buffalo leather that are in use today.
Full-Grain Buffalo Leather
Full-grain buffalo leather refers to the best quality leather that is made from the top layer of domestic buffalo hide. It carries all the natural characteristics of the buffalo hide along with its imperfections, giving it a unique and appealing texture and feel. Full-grain buffalo leather is very beautiful in appearance and durable enough to easily survive the test of time.
Top-Grain Buffalo Leather
Top-grain buffalo leather refers to the second-best quality leather that is also sourced from the top layer of domestic buffalo hide. However, top-grain buffalo leather is sanded down in order to remove its imperfections. It is important to note that top-grain buffalo leather still has most of the natural characteristics of buffalo hide which gives it both a unique appearance and unmatched durability.
Buffalo Mix Leather
Buffalo mix leather, which is also known as buffalo split leather, is made from the bottom layer of domestic buffalo hide. The leather is treated with a specialized coating to give it a smoother finish. Although buffalo mix leather is not as durable or strong as full-grain or top-grain leather it still can be a good option for premium women’s leather clothing due to its magnificent appearance and suppleness. Not only that, but it is also much cheaper when compared to full-grain or top-grain buffalo leather. Note that buffalo mix leather can sometimes refer to bonded leather, which is made by gluing scraps of leather to polyurethane sheets and then embossing it to give it an appeal of top-grain leather.
Pull Up Buffalo Leather
Pull up buffalo leather refers to high-quality leather that is coated with an aniline dye to give it a richer color and appearance. A blend of transparent waxes and oils is also applied to the leather to give it a better finish. The wax and oil treatment also makes the buffalo leather softer and allows it to show a lighter color when stretched. The natural blemishes of buffalo hide are kept as intact as possible in pull up buffalo leather while the aniline coating gives it a different tone. Additionally, the wax and oil coating in pull up buffalo leather also makes it resistant to collecting dust and dirt.
Genuine Buffalo Leather
Genuine buffalo leather refers to the lowest-quality leather which is thinner and weaker than full-grain and top-grain leather. In fact, the term “genuine” is used to enhance the appeal of the product and make it sound as though it is of higher quality than it actually is. This marketing tactic helps to sell lower quality buffalo leather to more customers. Genuine buffalo leather is also stamped and dyed in order to imitate the qualities of top-grain leather. As it does not carry any of the natural characteristics of buffalo hide, products made from genuine leather are usually sold at very cheap prices.
Water Buffalo Leather
Water buffalo leather refers to the leather sourced from the hide of the Asian water buffalo. There are three major types of buffalo – American buffalo or bison, African Cape buffalo, and Asian water buffalo. Around 95% of all the domestic buffalo in the world are Asian water buffalo which are tamed for dairy production or agricultural work in many Asian countries.
Italian Buffalo Leather
Italian buffalo leather refers to leather made from imported buffalo hide that is processed and tanned in Italy. This European country has a great history of producing leather products and is renowned for the impressive quality of their craftsmanship. Italian buffalo leather is used to make high-quality leather products and more than 60% of all European leather comes from Italy.
Buffalo Embossed Leather
Buffalo embossed leather refers to low-grade genuine leather which has been processed to give it a more desirable appeal. Generally, this leather would be stamped with a unique pattern and design using high pressure and heat. Sometimes, this process can also be used to create a buffalo embossed leather design that has the appearance of exotic animal skins such as crocodile or snakeskin.