Top Grain vs Full Grain Leather: The Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to luxury goods, there are very few better options than real, high quality leather. Real leather bags and briefcases are the perfect investment and a stylish staple for any wardrobe. 

But what does high-quality leather look like? We’ve created a guide to help you understand the differences between top grain and full grain leather so that you can be sure that the bag you buy is perfect for you. 

Top Grain or Full Grain?

What Is Top Grain Leather?

Top grain leather is a premium leather material that ranks second only to full-grain leather in terms of quality. It is incredibly versatile in its use but its qualities make it perfect for bags, shoes and belts. It’s worlds apart from faux leathers or PU leathers when it comes to quality.

Top grain leather derives its name from the process of sanding, buffing, or shaving that it undergoes to achieve a smooth and polished surface. Whilst it is similar to full-grain leather, top grain leather has had a few millimeters of its surface sanded down to remove any blemishes or imperfections that occur naturally in hides. This polished appearance is typically the most noticeable difference between these two luxury materials.

Learn more about top grain leather and how to care for this high-quality material.

Advantages Of Top Grain Leather Bags vs. Full Grain Leather

Top grain leather offers a number of qualities that make it an excellent option when you are purchasing your next leather briefcase or bag.

  • Durability - Top grain leather is incredibly durable and strong and can withstand more wear and tear than many other materials. This makes it perfect for a heavy use bag like a briefcase or messenger bag used for your commute.
  • Style - Top grain leather typically has a sleek and polished appearance. It looks and feels great. It also ages really well and develops a uniquely stylish character which is perfect because these bags are incredibly long-lasting.
  • Maintenance - Top grain leather is easy to clean and maintain. A well-looked after real leather bag can last for decades and make for a great investment piece.
  • Price - Top grain leather bags are typically slightly cheaper than full grain leather options. The thing to remember is the cost over time when it comes to real leather. A top grain leather bag will outlast several cheaper alternatives and can be a more affordable and better quality long-term option.

What Is Full-Grain Leather?

Full-grain leather is made from the toughest and most resilient layer of the animal hide. This goes a long way to explaining its natural qualities and character. Unlike other types of leather, full-grain leather is not subjected to alterations during the tanning process, meaning it’s an authentic and natural leather option.

Full-grain leather has a more tight, natural pattern than top grain leather, which contributes to its exceptional durability and increased water resistance. It is the highest quality of leather, surpassing both top-grain and genuine leather in terms of quality.

This superior durability and texture make full-grain leather an ideal choice for luxury leather goods, setting it apart from imitations made from faux leather that fail to replicate its natural beauty.

Advantages of Full-Grain Leather Bags vs. Top Grain Leather

  • Durability - Full grain leather is the best of the best so of course it will really stand the tests of time. Being made from the more exposed part of the hide, goods made from full grain leather are extremely durable and perfectly suited to heavy wear items like bags and leather briefcases.
  • Style - Full grain leather has a unique charm in that it is typically imperfect and has that gorgeously rugged leather look that is so sought after. It’s a perfect choice for any style and can easily be used for both work and home life.
  • Maintenance - Like top grain leather, full grain leather is simple to clean and maintain. We created a guide detailing how to look after your leather to help you get the most from these gorgeous products.
  • Character - Leather is a material that has a lot to offer when it comes to character. Not only do high quality leathers have that familiar and widely loved leather smell but the detailing and texture of the material makes each piece unique.

Who Needs A High Quality Real Leather Briefcase?

A high-quality real leather briefcase is an ideal accessory for a professional man who wants to make a lasting impression. 

A genuine leather briefcase not only looks great but also lasts for a long time. A good briefcase offers all of the storage you could need for important documents, laptops, wallets, and other essentials. It’s the perfect choice for the modern professional. 

What Are The Best Leather Briefcases For 2023?

Here are some of our favorite options when it comes to top grain and full grain leather briefcases.

Top Grain Leather Briefcases

The Brief

The BriefThe brief is a stylish and timeless option for the modern working man. It’s incredibly professional in appearance as well as being endlessly practical. It offers plenty of space for a laptop as well as all of the other day-to-day essentials needed.

The Pilot

The Pilot

 When it comes to style, you’ll be hard pushed to find something that has The Pilot beat. This bag will quickly become a staple accessory that is spacious enough for everything you need and suave enough that it will be the envy of the office.

The European

The European 

The European brings a classic design to life. It’s spacious and offers plenty of easy access storage for everything you need on a commute or day in the office. It’s the perfect daily carry for those who want to look and feel smart wherever they go.

Full Grain Leather Briefcases

The Distressed

The Distressed 

The Distressed truly shows off the character of full grain leather. Its detailing and classic design make it the perfect option for those who are always on the move and this durable option is sure to last for a long time.

The Vintage

The Vintage 

The Vintage has a lot to offer when it comes to timeless style. This gorgeous briefcase has everything you need, plenty of storage, high quality fixtures and a comfortable strap that makes carrying this stylish briefcase a dream. If you’re looking for a combination of quality and style, there really aren’t many that will beat The Vintage.

The Bison

The Bison

The Bison is a gorgeous option made from thick buffalo leather. It’s incredibly durable and crafted to not only offer function but also to look great.

Check out the most popular top grain and full grain leather briefcases.

Top Grain or Full Grain?
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