When it comes to leather products, there are multiple options for you to choose from. Patent leather and vinyl are both becoming quite famous these days owing to their durability and flexibility.
Patent leathers are made from industrial processing of genuine leather to give them a glossier look with added durability. They can be used on different leather products like shoes, backpacks, belts, costumes, etc. In comparison, vinyl products are entirely synthetic materials. Vinyl is versatile and can be used in industrial, pharmaceutical, automobile, and many other industries.
Although both of them come with unique characteristics, you need to choose according to your needs. So without further ado, let’s dig right in!
The name “patent leather” comes from the patented process of producing this particular type of leather.
This type of leather is mainly used for its water resistance and the high amount of shine it provides to different leather goods. In addition, it usually has a clear, shiny, and polished surface resistant to dust, water, and most kinds of wear and tear.
Patent leather is primarily made out of synthetic materials these days due to the low cost of production. However, because of its shiny outlook, it’s used on dresses and formal wear like belts, bags, shoes, costumes, hats, etc.
Patent leather has managed to gain decent popularity among people because of its long-lasting shine and durability.
Usual leather products are pretty fragile and can wear out pretty quickly during regular use, whereas a patent leather product will last for quite a long time. Moreover, products made from patent leather have a beautiful looking shine and can be made onto any color of choice.
For these reasons, patent leather is regularly used on many commercial products, ranging from personal accessories to dresses. In addition, many famous brands like Chanel, Prada, Allen, Valentino, etc., use them regularly for various products.
Some of the most common use cases for patent leather include pants, wallets, shoes, boots, costumes, bags, belts, and many other goodies.
Vinyl is an inexpensive alternative to natural leather and is used on various products previously made with leather. While vinyl leather might fail to provide a premium and comfortable feel like genuine leather, it is much more long-lasting and robust than organic leather products.
Vinyl leather is made of mainly chemical compounds known as polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC. It’s not as flexible as natural leather, so it is pretty solid and sturdy. However, the texture doesn’t feel much comfortable on the skin.
Vinyl products are pretty easy to clean because they aren’t as porous as organic leather. However, you might need strong bacterial cleaners as vinyl doesn’t have anti-bacterial properties itself.
Vinyl leather is quite a versatile material. It can be used in different industries and can hold various applications like construction, medical, water delivery, electrical, transportation, packaging, etc.
Because of its versatility, vinyl can be used on from rigid pipes to flexible food wraps. It is also very color versatile, meaning it can be made in different colors.
Products made from vinyl leather are very inexpensive and made entirely in the chemical industry. As a result, vinyl production produces fewer emissions and needs less energy than the competitive leather industry.
From building materials like window frames, gutters, water pipes, floor tiles to packaging materials and appliances for automobiles and computers, vinyl has a significant use case in every situation. Vinyl can also be used on pharmaceutical products like catheters, surgical gloves, blood bags, and tubings.
Similarities Between Patent Leather and Vinyl
There are some similar traits between patent leather and vinyl, as they are industrially produced these days.
With modern technology and improved workflow, vinyl can be made to look like leather these days. Of course, vinyl is entirely made of synthetic materials like vinyl chloride, but patent leather these days is going to the synthetic route too.
Previously, authentic leathers were processed for increasing durability and shine. But with the advent of synthetic leather in the market, it is pretty hard to tell whether it is made from organic leather or not.
Moreover, many products are made using vinyl and leather to fuse the best qualities of both materials. These types of fusion leather products are known as bonded leather.
The production process for vinyl is getting quite efficient, and you can hardly tell the difference between them in some products. However, there are still some clear distinctions between the two.
Firstly, leather products feel richer, softer, and warmer when you touch them with your hand. On the contrary, vinyl products have a stiff, cold, and artificial feel to them, which can be easily determined based on the product.
If you’re unsure whether a product is made of leather or not, check under the material. If you see a cloth-like material on the backside glued with the top, you can indeed say that this product is made from vinyl material. Real leather products have a rough, fuzzy feel to them on the backside. They also have similar colors on both sides.
You can also feel by your fingers to determine the origin of a product. For example, when you use your fingertip to press on the surface, the leather products will create wrinkles around the pressed region. In contrast, the vinyl product won’t produce any kind of wrinkles and stay pretty much the same.
Don’t forget to check the labels of the products to be extra sure. Many products these days use different misleading titles like faux leather, pleather, leatherette, etc., for describing vinyl products. If it’s a genuine leather product, the label will mention the authenticity.
Depending on the use case and quality, your answer may vary. Leather is usually considered the superior material because of its premium finish, soft touch, and breathability.
A leather product will look and feel much nicer in the hand of a consumer. But with this premium quality comes a hefty price tag as leather products are much expensive than their vinyl counterparts.
Patent leathers are getting quite famous these days because they offer superior quality with almost the same or lower cost. Industry-made patent leathers are made to look nicer and shinier. They are also quite durable, strong, and last for a long time.
The best use case scenarios for patent leather are different leather goods, such as handbags, purses, belts, costumes, pants, etc. In these scenarios, patent leathers provide a better experience than vinyl products.
So if you’re confused between buying a vinyl wallet or a patent leather one, we suggest you go for the leather one if you can afford it.
On the contrary, vinyl products may not feel or look as nice as leather, but they are the default choice for many people looking for affordable options.
Additionally, vinyl is a very durable and customizable material. You can make it as thick or thin as you like, in any style you want, with your preferred color options.
Also, in many cases like industrial, medical, and electrical appliances, vinyl is the only way to go. Vinyl products cost less to produce, and they don’t emit as much environmental waste as the leather industry.
So to answer the question, which is best- leather or vinyl, there isn’t any one correct answer. It varies depending on your needs and applications.
Is patent leather actual leather?
Yes, patent leather is actual leather with extra steps. Simply put, patent leather is just real organic leather that goes through processing for extra durability and glossiness.
Leather can go through different processing techniques to convert into other products according to the need and orders. Patent leather is just one of the variety of leather finishing.
All leathers go through a process called tanning in which different leather properties are established. In addition, Patent leather goes through glossy finishing to get a specialized coating on the exterior.
There are many things to consider before telling whether patent leather is better than regular leather or not. If you’re looking for easy maintenance, scratch & water resistance, and various color options in your leather products, then go with patent leather.
But natural leather will always have better breathability, premium look, crease, and crack resistance than any of the patent leather finishing or even vinyl leathers.
As we have discussed so far in this article, both patent leather and vinyl have their pros and cons. And according to your use case, you might choose one over the other.
For example, if you’re looking for premium quality, ease of use, and a nice feel in hand with added durability, go with patent leather. But people looking for affordable options and versatility in usage should go with vinyl products.