Full-grain leather is considered among the best quality leather available. It can be made from a variety of different animal hides, but most usually is made from cow skin. Leather can undergo complex treatment processes in order to create many different products, but many of these treatments can result in weaker leather that will not wear as well. This is especially true when the leather is treated with chemicals. Full-grain leather is desirable because of its minimal treatments and its durability.
With this type of leather, the hides of the animal used are not treated significantly. They have the hair of the animal removed, but they are not sanded. This can result in some minor flaws in the leather, but it also results in the most breathable leather a person can wear. Like a great pair of jeans, clothing made from this product actually gets more comfortable the more a person wears it, becoming softer and some say even more attractive as it gets older.
Though full-grain leather is not sanded, it can still be dyed, called an aniline finish. Non-dyed varieties are hard to find and, in fact, if consumers aren't shopping for an aniline finish, they will usually find a semi-aniline finish instead. This is a clear finish placed on the leather that will allow imperfections in the leather to show. Actually, many people desire the semi-aniline finish because it gives a more natural look to the leather.
Unlike other types of leather, full-grain versions use the whole hide rather than only layers. Top-grain leather, for example, which is another very desirable product, uses just the top layers of the animal hide. Using the whole hide makes full-grain leather much thicker and great for products that require a certain amount of durability. For instance, shoppers can find great messenger bags, duffel bags, and briefcases made by well-known designers using this type of leather.
Many different types of shoes may be made with full-grain leather. Natural choices include the cowboy boot, but popularity of this material has resulted in athletic, dress, golf and a variety of other style shoes made with this leather. Consumers will also find a number of furniture pieces upholstered with it. These are most desired because of their exceptional durability and their improvement in look and feel the longer they are used.