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January 30, 2023 3 min read

by April Quibido

A wife, a mom, and a definite homebody who loves writing about all sorts of interesting things online. She loves fashion, interior design, and other creative pursuits—writing included. She also has entrepreneurial endeavors and, like everyone else, wants to thrive and grow in all aspects of life.


It is common knowledge that patent leather is not the same as vinyl. But are you aware of the difference between these two materials, and why one of them might be more suitable for your needs than the other?

Let's take a closer look at these both materials and see what sets them apart.

The Differences

Patent leather is a type of leather that has a smooth finish, which is often quite shiny and reflective. It's made from a thin layer of leather that has been treated with a special formula. This process produces a durable, smooth, and elastic surface.

On the other hand, vinyl leather is a type of leather that has been coated with a layer of plastic. This coating helps the vinyl leather to look and feel like real leather but it also protects it from scuffs and scratches. The vinyl leather can be used for shoes, jackets, bags, and other accessories.

The Characteristics of Patent leather

The surface of patent leather is usually smooth and textured, giving it its name. This texture comes from embossing or stamping techniques that create raised areas on the surface of the leather.

Patent leathers are often used for shoes because they provide comfort to feet while looking stylish and expensive at the same time. Most patent leathers have a dark color to them; however, they can also be light colored like white or tan.

  • Durable: Patent leather is made from real leather, so it will last longer than other types of leather.
  • Classy: Patent leather often features small patterns that make it look more expensive than it actually is.
  • Consistent color: Patent leather has consistent colors whether you use it for shoes or bags, so you don't have to worry about having to match your clothing with your accessories.


  • Expensive: Expensive to purchase and maintain.

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The Characteristics of Vinyl Leather

Vinyl leathers are a popular choice for many people, and they're easy to care for. The best vinyl leathers are made from synthetic materials that are impervious to water and stain-proof so that they can be submerged in water without damage.

Vinyl leathers can be placed in the washing machine in a cold setting, but you should not use bleach or fabric softener with them.

Vinyl leathers come in many different colors and styles, some of which look like real leather. You can find vinyl leather jackets, shoes, and purses at many stores that sell apparel for men, women, and children.

  • Cheaper than leather: Vinyl leather will cost less than leather, so it is a good option for those looking to save money.
  • Lower maintenance cost: Vinyl leather is cheaper to maintain than genuine leather. It also requires less toil, as it doesn't require regular oiling and cleaning.
  • Fashionable: Vinyl leather looks more fashionable than genuine leather. It can match a variety of outfits and shoes in the market.
  • Some colors may be cheaper than others: The color of vinyl can vary depending on the manufacturer as well as where it was made, so there are some colors that are cheaper than others and may not be worth paying extra for if you're just looking for a basic color like black or brown.


  • It is prone to cracking: After a few years of heavy use, vinyl leather will begin to break. The rougher you use it, the greater the strain on the cloth.

Pro Tip:

It is not difficult to distinguish between vinyl and patent leather textures. For the most part, it's just a matter of detailed examination.

Patent Leather and Vinyl

Key Takeaway

So there you have it. Now you have learned enough about the two leather materials. Of course, if you're looking for a quality leather product, you should examine which kind of leather it uses to be as sure as possible so that you're not stuck with the wrong kind.

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