The difference between nubuk and velours

Suede, rough leather, nubuk, velours – there are many terms that describe this special, velvety material. There is plenty of room for confusion. But, it is not too hard to make a difference between them.

Nubuk and velours are subsumed under the term rough leather. Typical for rough leather is its velvety touch that is achieved by sanding its surface. The result of this procedure is a nice structure and a pleasant, warm grip. Although nubuk and velours appear quite similar by the end of their manufacturing process, the process itself is significantly different. With nubuk, the grained side – meaning the outer side of the leather – is sanded which leaves a fine flor. The grained pattern is still visible. Roughening the leather makes it more breathable which is, however, not exclusively positive. The leather´s rough surface is more sensitive to dirt, grease and (sun)light which causes the colours to fade. There are two kinds of velours leather: The flesh-split (lower layer) and the grain-split (upper layer). Typical for the flesh-split is its velvety haptics on both sides while the grain split has velours only on one side. The other side is the actual grain surface. Velours leather is extremely robust and breathable and is therefore often used for working boots and gloves.