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September 14, 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.


Invented by Mario Prada in 1913, Saffiano leather is a popular choice for those looking for luxury gear and accessories. Those who purchase designer bags, wallets, or belts made of Saffiano leather know it for its high quality and distinctive pattern. It varies from other leather types in how it is made and the finished look of the product. So, what is Saffiano leather, and what are its benefits? Let’s take a look.

Saffiano Leather VS Other Leather Types

When comparing Saffiano leather to other types, it’s best to start at the beginning. Like other leathers, the leather goes through the usual tanning process. At this point, other leathers are often dyed, but Saffiano leather skips this step.

Instead, the leather is warmed and then placed into a machine heated to about 165°F. The machine presses the distinctive cross-hatch pattern into the leather for about 10 to 15 seconds. After pressing, a wax coating is applied to the leather. This coating is what gives the leather its final color, protecting it at the same time.

Pebbled leather is similar to Saffiano leather since it has a pattern pressed into the leather, but the process isn’t the same. For instance, pebbled leather is dyed after tanning, creating its color before the pebbling process begins. It also doesn’t have the wax finish added after the pattern is pressed into the leather, so it isn’t as durable, sustaining scratches or water damage if not properly cared for.

Real Saffiano leather is made of calfskin, though many brands have replaced this material with other types of leather or vegan materials. Calfskin and the cowhide used for many leather products may seem like the same thing, but they are actually quite different.

Calfskin is thin, lightweight, and soft, with a smooth, fine grain. It is also quite dense and resistant to abrasions. Cowhide varies in thickness, and though it is soft, it doesn’t compare to calfskin’s luxurious feel.

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Advantages of Saffiano Leather

Saffiano leather is prized for its amazing look and feel, but it has a few other benefits that you may not be aware of. First, this is one of the most durable leather types around, mainly due to the wax finish over the leather. This finish resists scratches, maintaining the polished Saffiano look. If scratches do occur, the cross-hatched pattern makes them difficult to see.

That wax finish also protects the leather from light moisture, so your favorite gear won’t be ruined after a minor spill or drizzling rain. Of course, your Saffiano leather gear can still be damaged from heavy moisture, so protect it as much as possible in wet weather.

Dirt and grime won’t penetrate the finish of your Saffiano leather products. Though you’ll still need to clean the leather occasionally, you can leave it for a few days without worrying about stains forming.

Disadvantages of Saffiano Leather

Saffiano leather is highly prized but that amazing quality and distinctive look come at a high cost. In fact, real Saffiano leather made of calfskin is one of the more expensive leather options available. Of course, some brands offset this cost by using lower-quality leathers for their products but you won’t be getting true Saffiano leather when buying one of these items.

Though the wax finish gives the leather a polished look, it also makes the leather look synthetic and fake. You also won’t get that natural leather look, feel, or smell with Saffiano leather.

Over time, the coating on Saffiano leather could begin to degrade, flaking or peeling at the corners or other well-used areas. Sharp objects can also cut right through that finish, so you need to be extra careful to avoid such damage.

Saffiano leather

Final Word

Saffiano leather features a stylish cross-hatch pattern that offers a distinctive look and a level of durability that few other leather types can compete with. High-end designers favor this leather for its amazing qualities but with varying materials, almost anyone can afford the Saffiano leather items they have in mind.

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