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November 28, 2022 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


When buying leather products, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of leather. Doing so ensures you’re getting the quality you want, even when choosing inexpensive options like bonded leather and faux leather. For those unfamiliar with these two products, the following discussion shows the difference between bonded leather and faux leather to help you decide which is the right one for you.


Bonded leather is created using the scraps, shavings, and fibers left over after making genuine leather. Those pieces are combined with binding agents and rolled together to make one uniform piece of material. Though called leather, there is only about 10 to 20% actual leather in the finished product.

Three different options are available when it comes to faux leather material. The most common is polyurethane, though polyvinyl chloride (vinyl) and polyester microfibers are also used. Polyurethane (PU) is the softest option and the closest to actual leather in look and feel, which is why it is also the most popular.


Bonded leather was created to give customers a leather-like product without the high price tag of genuine leather. It isn’t overly durable, which is why bonded leather is used for furniture coverings, non-visible shoe components, belts, bags, book bindings, and floor or wall panels rather than clothing.

The purpose of faux leather is to provide people with a cheaper, vegan-friendly alternative to genuine leather. When made well, the resemblance to actual leather is close enough to be almost indistinguishable unless you know what you’re looking for.


Bonded leather and faux leather have a few similarities since they both have unlimited color, style, and pattern options. Faux leather has the advantage when it comes to style, though, since texturing can also be added to give it a unique look.


Bonded leather isn’t the most comfortable material since it is thinner than other types of leather and has a stiffness to it rather than the softness leather is known for. It also isn’t breathable, making it a poor choice for warm weather. Bonded leather features a polyurethane coating that isn’t hypoallergenic, so could cause allergic reactions when it comes in contact with skin.

Faux leather material is lightweight and has a soft texture, though it also lacks breathability, so is best worn during cooler weather. Like bonded leather, the PU material of faux leather isn’t hypoallergenic and could be uncomfortable for those with sensitive skin.

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Pros And Cons Of Bonded Leather

There are a few reasons to choose bonded leather over other types. It is the cheapest option, making it a fantastic choice for those on a budget. It comes in a variety of colors, styles, and patterns, so can be customized as needed, depending on what you’re looking for. The PU surface is easy to clean, so it takes little time to deal with spills.

Bonded leather does have several downsides, though. The material has a very short lifespan, so it needs delicate treatment if you want it to last more than a few months. The material is thin, stiff, non-breathable, and non-hypoallergenic. The chemicals used to create bonded leather may exude a chemical odor, which isn’t pleasant to inhale.

Pros And Cons Of Faux Leather

Faux leather is affordable, with a realistic look and a soft feel that is often mistaken for real leather. It is more durable than bonded leather, so it resists scratches, cracks, and peeling. It is easy to clean and has unlimited options when it comes to colors, patterns, and textures.

Unfortunately, faux leather does tear or puncture more easily than genuine leather. It isn’t breathable or hypoallergenic and won’t biodegrade, so it isn’t the most eco-friendly material.

Bonded leather and faux leather

Final Word

When it comes to inexpensive materials, bonded leather and faux leather are fine choices. While bonded leather isn’t the best quality for often-used items, it is a good option for furniture, belts, and book bindings. Faux leather is a vegan-friendly option for those who want to avoid real leather in their clothing and other gear.

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