Nubuck vs. Suede Leather: Unveiling the Distinctive Qualities

difference between suede and nubuck leather

When it comes to premium leather finishes, Nubuck and Suede stand out for their softness, texture, and luxurious appearance. Although they share some similarities, these two types of leather serve different purposes and preferences in fashion, accessories, and upholstery. Understanding the nuances between Nubuck and Suede is essential for making informed decisions whether you're investing in footwear, furniture, or fashion items.

Origin and Texture

  • Nubuck: Crafted from the outer layer of the hide, Nubuck boasts a fine, velvety surface. Its texture is achieved by buffing or sanding the top grain of the leather, which reveals a soft nap.
  • Suede: Suede comes from the underside of the animal skin, typically from lambs, although goats, pigs, and calves are also used. It has a softer, more porous texture compared to Nubuck, due to the sanding process of the leather's lower layer.

Durability and Maintenance

  • Nubuck: Being made from the outer layer of the hide makes Nubuck more durable than Suede. However, its fine texture is prone to getting dirty and absorbing liquids due to its open pores. Regular maintenance, including brushing and waterproofing, is necessary to keep Nubuck items in good condition.
  • Suede: While Suede is less durable due to its thinner composition, it's also susceptible to stains and water damage. Suede requires careful cleaning and maintenance, including specialized brushes and cleaners to maintain its texture and appearance.

Appearance and Feel

  • Nubuck: It has a more consistent color and texture, offering a refined and luxurious look. Nubuck feels slightly rougher to the touch than Suede but is still softer than other types of leather.
  • Suede: Known for its plush, matte finish, Suede provides a unique depth of color that can vary slightly depending on the angle and light. Its soft, fuzzy texture is highly valued in fashion for the comfort and warmth it offers.

Price Point

  • Nubuck: Typically, Nubuck is more expensive than Suede. The cost is attributed to the use of higher-quality hides and the intricate process required to produce its fine texture.
  • Suede: Generally, Suede is more affordable, making it a popular choice for a wide range of products from luxury to more accessible items.


  • Nubuck: Due to its durability and elegant appearance, Nubuck is often used in high-end products such as furniture, shoes, and luxury handbags.
  • Suede: Its softness and flexibility make Suede ideal for clothing, delicate footwear, and interior decorations, where comfort and aesthetics are paramount.

Additional Differences

  • Water Resistance: Nubuck is slightly more resistant to water than Suede, but both materials require treatment to improve water repellency.
  • Care Products: Different specialized products are available for Nubuck and Suede care. Nubuck cleaners and revitalizers are formulated to address its unique texture without clogging its pores, whereas Suede cleaners focus on lifting dirt and maintaining the nap's softness.
  • Environmental Conditions: Nubuck can withstand slightly harsher conditions than Suede. However, both materials can suffer in extreme conditions, and protective sprays are recommended to extend their life and appearance.


Nubuck and Suede each offer unique advantages and challenges in terms of care, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Your choice between Nubuck and Suede should align with your lifestyle, usage, and care capabilities. Regardless of your preference, both materials signify luxury and require attention to maintain their beauty and longevity. Whether you lean towards the refined elegance of Nubuck or the soft, cozy allure of Suede, both materials can provide distinctive style and comfort to your wardrobe or home.