< img src='https://trc.taboola.com/1332225/log/3/unip?en=page_view' width='0' height='0' style='display:none'/> FAQ: What Is Suede? How Is Suede Made? – FitVille

FAQ: What Is Suede? How Is Suede Made?

Suede has become a staple in the fashion industry, renowned for its soft texture and luxurious appearance. From shoes and jackets to accessories and furniture, suede offers a touch of elegance and sophistication. But what exactly is suede, and how is it made? This comprehensive guide will answer these questions, providing insights into the origins, production process, and care of this unique material.

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What Is Suede?

Suede is a type of leather characterized by its soft, napped finish. Unlike traditional leather, which has a smooth surface, suede has a velvety texture that gives it a distinct look and feel. This texture is achieved by sanding or buffing the inner layer of the animal hide, typically from lamb, goat, calf, or deer. The result is a plush, matte finish that is both stylish and versatile.

Key Characteristics of Suede:

  • Soft and Velvety Texture: The hallmark of suede is its soft, napped surface.
  • Matte Finish: Unlike glossy leather, suede has a more subdued, matte appearance.
  • Breathability: Suede is often more breathable than other types of leather, making it suitable for clothing and footwear.
  • Flexibility: The material is generally more flexible and pliable, enhancing comfort in various applications.

How Is Suede Made?

The process of making suede involves several key steps, each contributing to the final quality and texture of the material. Here's a detailed look at how suede is produced:

1. Selection of Raw Hides:

The first step in making suede is selecting high-quality animal hides. Lamb, goat, calf, and deer hides are commonly used due to their fine grain and softness. The choice of hide significantly impacts the final product's texture and durability.

2. Tanning:

Once the hides are selected, they undergo the tanning process. Tanning stabilizes the proteins in the hides, preventing decomposition and preparing the material for further processing. There are two primary methods of tanning: vegetable tanning and chrome tanning. Chrome tanning is more commonly used for suede due to its efficiency and the soft, pliable leather it produces.

3. Splitting:

After tanning, the hide is split into two layers: the outer layer (grain side) and the inner layer (flesh side). Suede is made from the inner layer, which is softer and more pliable. This layer is thinner and less durable than the outer layer, which is used for full-grain leather products.

4. Buffing and Sanding:

The inner layer of the hide is then buffed or sanded to create the characteristic napped finish of suede. This process involves using abrasive materials to raise the fibers on the surface, giving suede its velvety texture. The degree of buffing can vary, resulting in different textures and thicknesses of suede.

5. Dyeing and Finishing:

Once the desired texture is achieved, the suede is dyed to the desired color. The dyeing process involves immersing the suede in dye baths, ensuring even coloration throughout the material. After dyeing, the suede may undergo additional finishing treatments to enhance its appearance, softness, and durability.

Caring for Suede

While suede is undeniably attractive, it requires special care to maintain its appearance and longevity. Here are some essential tips for caring for suede products:

1. Protect from Water:

Suede is susceptible to water damage, which can cause stains and discoloration. To protect your suede items, apply a water-repellent spray designed specifically for suede. Avoid wearing suede in rainy or wet conditions.

2. Regular Brushing:

To keep the nap looking fresh, regularly brush your suede items with a suede brush. This helps remove dirt and restore the material's soft texture. Brush in one direction to avoid damaging the fibers.

3. Stain Removal:

For minor stains, use a suede eraser or a soft cloth to gently rub the affected area. For more stubborn stains, consider using a suede cleaner or taking the item to a professional cleaner.

4. Proper Storage:

Store suede items in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Use breathable garment bags or shoe boxes to prevent dust buildup and protect the material from damage.


Suede is a unique and luxurious material that offers a soft, velvety texture and a matte finish, making it a popular choice in fashion and design. Understanding how suede is made and how to care for it can help you appreciate its beauty and extend the life of your suede products. Whether you're investing in suede shoes, jackets, or accessories, proper care and maintenance will ensure they remain stylish and durable for years to come.

By incorporating these tips and insights into your suede care routine, you'll be able to enjoy the elegance and sophistication of this timeless material while keeping it looking its best.