One of the best discoveries that man has ever made is leather. It is basically the skin of an animal treated and preserved to be used for different purposes, mainly clothing, upholstery, or making different accessories. There are many different types of leather obtained from the hide of different animals. In this blog, we will talk about what is cowhide leather and lay down its characteristics and analogy with other types of leather.
When buying a leather product, having adequate knowledge about what type of leather you should opt for and how to take care of it is very important. It will help you make an informed choice that will last longer and stay in good shape with proper care.
Let's dig further into the significance of cowhide leather.
What is Cowhide Leather?
Cowhide leather is the preserved skin procured from cows. It is considered one of the best types of leather, particularly due to its durability and reasonable price as compared to other leather types.
Cows are one of the most common animals around the world, and their beef is consumed by people in surplus quantities. As a result, cowhide leather is the most readily available leather and is lesser in price than the other animal leathers. Real leather obtained from cows is also the most sought after material, thanks to its sturdiness and thickness, which makes it last for decades.
Leather obtained from cows differs in features from other cattle leather, such as calfskin hides, bull hide, and steer hide. It is a heavy and thick material that provides much needed warmth in the cold season, making cowhide leather an excellent choice for leather garments and other accessories.
What are Cow Hides?
Cow hides are the by-product of the food industry. They are the raw, untreated skins of cows with hair on which then undergo chrome tanning, vegetable tanning, or chrome free tanning procedures to turn them into cowhide leather. Countries with the highest cow inventories, such as China, India, Brazil, and Italy are primary suppliers of cow skins.
Cow skins are naturally thick, grainy, heavy, and tensile, and so is the leather made with them.
Natural cowhide tends to be warmer than other types of leather. Therefore, full grain cowhide leather is suitable for garments. Apart from jackets, coats, and hats, bags, luggage pieces, and shoes made with cowhide are highly durable.
Other products, such as rugs, are made from the whole skin and hair on cowhides, preserved via vegetable or chrome tanning method.
Top Grain vs Full Grain Leather
Cowhide leather is available in different types, such as full grain, top grain, corrected grain, or suede. The range of thickness also varies in each type.
Full grain cowhide leather is considered of the highest quality, as it is the hide that has not been sanded down to remove a layer. Only the hair of the animal is removed in full grain leather, leaving the natural blemishes and texture of the skin intact.
On the other hand, when you buff the skin to the level that the natural markings on it are also sanded along with the hair, you get top grain leather. Although of good quality, top grain is not as sturdy as full grain leather.
Hard Leather vs Soft Leather
The softness of cowhide leather depends upon the thickness and type of tanning and finish used on it. Chrome tanned leather tends to be softer than vegetable tanned leather. If it is soft, it is better suited for luxury bags, shoes, and hats that require flexibility. Hard leather is used to make car seat covers, furniture, wallets, briefcases, and sturdy boots.
Comparing Cow Leather with Other Types of Leather
Distinguishing between different leathers will help you when you need to decide which type of leather should you opt for your next purchase.
Cowhide Vs Lambskin
When comparing cowhide to lambskin leather, we need to prioritize whether we are looking for an incredibly flexible, silky soft material or a sturdy one that will last a long time. Cowhide is definitely more thick and tensile, hence durable. On the other hand, lambskin, procured from juvenile sheep, is very thin, soft, and delicate. It might stay long with you if you keep up with the care well, but it won't be resistant to wear and tear like any bovine leather.
Cowhide Vs Steer hide
Cows are female bovines raised for breeding, milk supply, and meat. On the other hand, steers are young, castrated male bovines raised purely for beef. The textures of both are almost the same, but steer hide slightly differs in characteristics from cowhide. It has a glossy and firm texture and is thinner than cowhide. It has a higher price point than cowhide and adequate endurance to wear and tear.
Cowhide Vs Sheepskin
Sheepskin leather takes the prize when it comes to softness and flexibility. However, it cannot match the sturdiness of cowhide. Cowhide is thick and weighs more than sheepskin with its fur removed, so the leather made with the former tends to have more warmth.
Cowhide Vs Goatskin
Supple and incredibly flexible with a smooth fine grain, goatskin may be an appropriate choice if you are looking for a durable product with elasticity. It also provides sufficient resistance to abrasion. An outstanding quality of goatskin is water resistance. Cowhide may be more tensile and warm, but it doesn't have the supple feel like goatskin.
Cowhide Vs Bull hide
When comparing leather sourced from the hides of cows and bulls, we can clearly distinguish the bull hide as it has a pebble texture. It is heavier and thicker than cowhide. It also has a denser fiber structure, giving it excellent tensile strength.
On the other hand, cowhide is lighter in weight, thinner than bull hide, and much more comfortable. You can tell cowhide leather apart due to its distinctive grainy texture.
Cowhide Vs Deerskin
Deerskin has a distinguishing characteristic of trapping air inside its fiber, making it a very comfortable material for garments. It also possesses a high level of durability but cannot match cowhide in this regard. Cowhide also has a higher resistance to dirt and moisture as compared to deerskin. For rough and tough use, it is better to go for cowhide leather than deerskin leather.
FAQs – Cowhide Leather
What Is Full Grain Cowhide Leather?
The topmost layer of the cowhide, with only the hair of the animal shaved off, is the full grain leather. Full grain is premium quality leather as the strong fibers and natural grain of the top layer of skin remain intact in it. When looking for a rich looking, durable, and highest quality product, go for full grain cowhide leather.
What Is Genuine Cowhide Leather?
Genuine cowhide leather is the term used to indicate the authenticity of the material. However, genuine leather products are less rich looking and not as durable as full grain or top grain leather.
Is Cowhide Leather Good?
Cowhide leather is definitely one of the best materials you can get when it comes to buying durable leather. It is warmer than all the other types of leather and less expensive due to being readily available.
How Long Does Cowhide Leather Last?
Cowhide leather lasts for a long time due to its tightly woven fibers and heavy weight. It is commonly used to make stuff for which a high level of endurance is needed, as it is highly resistant to abrasion.
What Are The Uses Of Cow Leather?
Cowhide is frequently used to make leather garments, furniture upholstery, car seat covers, shoes, belts, wallets, and other accessories.
Is Cowhide Leather Soft?
Cowhide may be stiffer than other leather types, such as lambskin or goat skin. However, it breaks in and softens over time with years of usage.
Since times immemorial, hides of cattle have been used to create apparel, upholstery, and other things of use, mainly due to its durability. The material does an excellent job of keeping you warm and comfortable. We have stated all of the characteristics of cowhides and their analogy with other types of commonly used leathers to provide an all inclusive cowhide guide for our valuable readers.