Types of Leather

Moore & Giles Leather

Moore & Giles is dedicated to designing and developing the most innovative and luxurious natural leathers. Our headquarters and distribution centers in Virginia, house more than 4 million square feet of leather providing designers access to an array of leathers with the highest level of quality, craftsmanship and originality. With this access comes a true "Freedom of Color."

Full Grain Leather

Full Grain refers to leather that has not been altered by sanding or buffing. Full Grain leather retains the grain layer, original texture and markings that naturally occur during the lifetime of the animal and create a one-of-a-kind look for each upholstered product. The vast majority of Moore & Giles leathers are designed on Full Grain hides.

Full Grain is often confused with Top Grain, but "Top Grain" leather simply comes from the uppermost portion of a hide - the term "Top Grain" is refering to the layer of the hide from which the leather originates. Leather is split into layers and sold as two different products: Top Grain and Split leather. From the Top Grain portion of a hide comes both Full Grain and Corrected Grain leathers. Examples of Moore & Giles Full Grain leathers are: Valhalla, Echo, Mont Blanc, Brompton, Domaine, Doral, Harness, Kipling, Notting Hill and Brighton.

Corrected Grain Leather

Corrected Grain is also Top Grain leather. Corrected Grain leather undergoes a light buffing process to better absorb dye and minimize the appearance of blemishes and natural leather markings on its surface. Corrected Grain leather is often preferred for use in projects where uniform color desired. An example of Moore & Giles Corrected Grain leather is Holland .

Nubuck, a Corrected Grain leather, is Top Grain leather where the top hair cell layer has been removed by sanding, resulting in a luxurious nap and velvet-like surface. Examples are Cottswald and Dauphine.

Split leathers are often sold as suede. They originate a few layers down from the grain. An example of Moore & Giles suede is Satin Suede.


Aniline leather is colored by immersing hides in a dye bath with transparent, aniline dyes that fully penetrate the hide. These leathers are the most natural and often the most pristine hides are used. All surface imperfections and flaws (or beauty marks) will be visible in aniline dyed leathers.

Semi Aniline leathers are aniline dyed with an added layer of pigment or surface coating to enhance durability and color consistency. Imperfections and flaws are still visible.


Vegetable Tanning is the oldest method of tanning. It utilizes vegetable tannins and extracts from trees and plants for use in the tanning process. Today, vegetable tanned leather is still utilized by boot and saddle makers.

Chrome Tanning is the most widely used process of tanning leather, accounting for approximately 90% of leather produced globally today. Invented in the 19th century, chrome tanning uses the minerals of chromium salts to tan hides and allows for a softer hand and a broader range of color.

Specialty Leathers

Suede is a split leather that has been buffed to create a soft, fuzzy surface. An example of Moore & Giles suede is Satin Suede.

This type of leather has been “stamped” under extreme heat and pressure with a pattern or print to add character. Examples are Papillon, Zigrino, Diamonds Are Forever and Meridian.

This unique look is achieved through a two-step process that can be applied to any of the colors in our Satin Suede Collection. Read More | View All Transfers

Nubuck is top-grain leather where the top hair cell layer has been removed by sanding, resulting in a luxurious nap and velvet-like surface. Examples are Cottswald and Dauphine.

Leather with the hair still attached is called hair-on. View the entire Hair On Hide Collection.

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Why Leather?

Leather is one of man’s earliest and most useful discoveries - a sustainable material that is transformed from a waste product into a beautifully durable and luxurious product. Learn how leather will increase in beauty and value with time.

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How Much Will I Need?

It's a question we answer everyday. Our team is trained specifically to guide you through selecting leather. We know each project is unique, but from our 83 years of experience we have created a general guide to some of the most common sizes.

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Sample Leather

We love leather and we are certain once you see and feel Moore & Giles leather you will agree. That's why we offer complimentary sampling for designers and customers. Let us send you samples today for your next project and you can judge for yourself if our leather measures up.