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Various Surface Styles of Synthetic Leather Explained with Visuals and Text, along with English Translation

  • 牛巴革:Nubuck leather

Nubuck originates from ‘new buck,’ literally meaning deer skin, not cowhide. It is a transliteration that refers to achieving a velvety surface texture through high-temperature foaming treatment (hence also known as suede leather). Such products belong to wet-process PU leather, where PU slurry forms upright pores during solidification, resulting in a velvety feel after surface grinding. Due to its upright pores, it is called ‘nubuck’ (derived from the concept of genuine leather); and due to its unique texture, it is also known as ‘imitation suede.


  • 羊巴革:Nubuck leather / Yangba Leather

The English translation of “羊巴革” is often debated, with some suggesting “PU suede leather,” while the more authentic translation is mostly considered to be “Nubuck.” Many argue that “Nubuck” refers to cowhide, not sheepskin. However, upon closer examination, the crafting process of “羊巴革” is similar to “牛巴革” (Nubuck), albeit with a finer and smoother appearance and touch. It is manufactured using sheepskin resin and specific production techniques, primarily used in leathermaking, bags, sofas, automotive interiors, and other applications. Of course, I also recommend a phonetic translation in Chinese characters. Perhaps this term was coined by Chinese speakers, but when communicating with non-Chinese speakers, using “Nubuck” should suffice to convey the meaning accurately.


  • 绒面革:Suede leather

Suede leather” refers to leather with a surface that exhibits a nap or fuzzy texture. It is typically made from sheepskin, cowhide, pigskin, deerskin, or synthetic materials using a tanning process that involves buffing. Suede leather lacks a resin coating, resulting in excellent breathability and softness, making it comfortable to wear. However, it lacks waterproofing and dust resistance, making maintenance more challenging. While it shares similarities with Nubuck leather, there are still distinct differences between them.


  • 磨砂革:sanded leather/Frosted leather

Sanded leather” is produced using a special PU resin and is formed through wet molding before being buffed. Due to its inherent product style and characteristics, it finds application in many areas. Depending on the base fabric used, the product can be classified into three main categories: flat woven base sanded leather, elastic sanded leather, and non-woven sanded leather. Its main feature is the comfortable velvet-like texture on the surface. It can be applied in various products such as footwear (mainly used in various casual sports shoes, women’s long boots, women’s sandals, etc.), clothing (fabric for clothing, clothing fabric matching, clothing labels, etc.), and luggage (used to make various bags, jewelry boxes, camera cases, and other protective covers for precision instruments).


  • 太空革:Sports leather

Sports leather” refers to synthetic leather that has undergone special polyurethane treatment to provide insulation or thermal insulation properties, enhancing the breathability and moisture permeability of the leather itself. This is in contrast to typical synthetic leather, which tends to have poor breathability and moisture permeability. Space leather is commonly used in making athletic shoes.


  • 镜面革/漆皮:Varnish leather/ patent leather

Varnish leather,” also known as “patent leather,” refers to a process where PU leather is coated with lacquer. Its characteristics include a glossy and natural color, waterproof and moisture-resistant properties, resistance to deformation, and ease of cleaning and maintenance. Due to the complexity and high standards of the varnishing process, the selling price of varnish leather in the market is correspondingly high. However, many unethical businesses often sell glossy leather as varnish leather. In reality, there are significant differences between glossy leather and varnish leather. Glossy leather is essentially dyed leather that is then polished to enhance its appearance, although it also possesses some moisture resistance, its texture and feel are inferior to varnish leather. Moreover, the gloss of varnish leather is very natural and unique.


  • 疯马革:crazy-horse leather

Crazy Horse Leather,” also known as “Pull-up PU leather,” refers to a type of leather that exhibits a distressed and irregular surface texture. When pulled or stretched, it can reveal color variations, creating a unique and vintage appearance. The leather’s nap or fur can emerge after rubbing, resulting in a plush feel and a suede-like effect. Pressing or rubbing the leather can also emphasize its natural grain and enhance its genuine leather look and feel.


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