What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

As we get right to the heart of PU leather in this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about PU leather.

The distinctions between genuine leather and imitation leather can be difficult to make when purchasing leather goods. Genuine leather may be desired by some, while artificial leather, which is less expensive, may be preferred by others. A popular choice for synthetic leather is PU leather. What is PU Leather, though, exactly?

Simply put, PU leather is artificial leather typically used to create footwear, apparel, furniture, and other products. In contrast to its authentic counterpart, PU leather—also known as polyurethane leather—is a vegan material made entirely of thermoplastic polymers and is therefore completely artificial.

Therefore, is PU leather sturdy? Is it vegan and is it worth buying? Read on to learn the answers to these and many other questions in this article.

What is PU Leather?

Polyurethane leather, or PU leather, is a common term. The engineering and construction industries make extensive use of polyurethane. It is a polymer that is incredibly strong, flexible, and long-lasting.

For example, they are used to coat industrial floors, tunnel interiors, and roofs. It is a synthetic chemical mixture that was created by humans and became well-known for its versatility and durability.

There are two types of PU leather, full-synthetic and semi-synthetic (also known as 100 percent PU leather or split leather, respectively), according to Dan Weller, founder of Philadelphia-based Liberty Leather Goods.

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

Semi-synthetic PU leather is made of a natural leather base with a dried composite of PU plastic on top. The full-synthetic PU leather features a plastic coating applied over a base fabric material, which is usually more plastic or polyester.

Only the option that is completely synthetic is vegan. In most cases, according to Weller, you can see what the base material is by looking at the underside of the object.

How is PU Leather Made?

A cheap and widely available material is PU leather. It is produced using industrial machinery and is highly automated. In order to create the backing layer, factories first find a base material. This can be made from leather or a non-leather material, as was already mentioned.

After that, the base layer is coated with or laminated with a polyurethane layer. To ensure the resin adheres to the base effect and forms a single, uniform layer, this calls for the use of high pressure and temperatures in combination.

The PU leather is then subjected to the next step, which involves rolling a heavy roller over it to impose a synthetic grain pattern that resembles real leather on the surface. The material can have a wide variety of surface patterns because it is synthetic.

Additionally, we should point out that polyurethane faux leather is easily dyed to any color the manufacturer chooses. Additional finishing processes are included to produce unique textures and lengthen durability.

Pros of Pu Leather

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons
  • Price: The more affordable cost of PU leather is one advantage. Real leather is more expensive to produce, so PU leather is offered at a discount. For consumers who are willing to forgo quality in order to save money, this is a significant incentive to buy PU leather.
  • Ease of Clean: Being water-resistant is another advantage of PU leather. Because of this, PU leather products are much simpler to clean and, should they get wet, much simpler to dry.
  • Vegan: The fact that PU leather is vegan is arguably the biggest benefit for many customers. This means that vegan customers will feel comfortable buying PU leather products even though they might not want to buy real leather products.
  • Flexible: The availability of PU leather in a wide range of colors and designs is another advantage. This might increase the appeal of PU leather products and make some goods more desirable to buyers.

Cons of Pu Leather

The Look

One of the most significant and obvious drawbacks of PU leather is that it frequently has a fake, synthetic, or even tacky appearance. The PU alternative is simply not an option for customers who want to dress well and feel confident in a piece of genuine real leather.


PU leather also lacks breathability, which is another drawback compared to genuine leather. A product made of PU leather might feel stiff, stuffy, and constricting in comparison to a genuine leather item, which will feel light and airy.

The Smell

PU leather’s smell is another significant drawback. A customer will frequently discover that a product made of PU leather has a plastic- or chemical-like odor after purchasing it. In some cases, this odor can even become overpowering. The fresh, mild, and pleasant smell that emanates from a product made from real, genuine leather contrasts sharply with this.

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

Wears Out Easily

Additionally, over time, PU leather is also known to deteriorate quite easily. Although some products might not dry out, PU leather can crack, making it look unattractive and turning off many customers from wearing it.

This basically means that genuine leather is the better option for you if you want a piece of leather that will stand the test of time because PU leather simply does not last as long as real leather.

The Quality

The quality of real leather cannot be matched by PU leather, for the same reason. Real leather is almost impossible to tear or puncture, in contrast to PU leather, which is easily damaged.

This is a straightforward illustration of the disparities in quality between the two types of leather, and it is obvious that real leather, which is more durable and reliable, has a significant quality advantage over PU leather, which is flimsier.

No Patina Development

The fact that PU leather doesn’t develop a patina over time is another significant disadvantage. The term “patina” describes the exquisitely weathered appearance that real leather acquires over time. This is a key component of the allure of leather and a reflection of the effort and time it takes to create a gorgeous piece of genuine leather.

It is extremely difficult for any piece of PU leather to match the beauty and visual appeal of a high-quality piece of real leather because PU leather does not develop over time in the same way that real leather does.

Environmental Impact

PU leather goods are also not as environmentally friendly as they might seem. These goods may require fewer resources to produce, but because they take much longer to decompose than genuine leather goods, they are actually worse for the environment.

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

How to Tell If It is PU Leather?

It is best to understand how to distinguish between genuine leather and PU leather depending on what you are looking for. If you’re buying leather furniture, the tag is the simplest way to determine the difference. Knowing the differences will be helpful because some products might not have a tag.

Cost is the primary distinction you’ll notice. Due to its ease of production, PU leather will typically be less expensive than genuine leather. There will be a distinct smell of PU leather. In contrast to genuine leather, PU will smell of plastic or chemical.

It’s also simple to determine whether something is real leather or fake leather by performing a water test. Genuine leather will absorb the water, even though it is not recommended to test a product you don’t own with water. The water won’t be absorbed by PU leather.

You might be able to distinguish between them just by looking at the material if you have a keen eye. Genuine grain and minor flaws are characteristics of real leather. PU leather will almost certainly have a perfect, patterned texture look, making it appear to be fake.

Is PU Leather Waterproof?

What is PU Leather? Pros & Cons

Water-resistant but not waterproof, PU leather is in some ways. Water can still seep through PU leather because it has pores.

PU leather is combined with other materials by some clothing manufacturers. Cotton, rayon, polyester, and other materials are some examples of these. These materials provide various degrees of water resistance when combined with PU leather. But there is no waterproof PU leather.

Even real leather cannot be made waterproof. However, pure leather is not waterproof and can only withstand water. Wax must be applied to leather materials to make them waterproof. Customers can protect their leather by using waterproofing sprays that are currently on the market.

How to Clean PU Leather?

Polyurethane faux leather has many advantages over real leather, one of which is that it is much simpler to maintain and clean.

In order to be permeable or “breathable,” real leather is made of countless interwoven fibers. They’ll dry out and start to crack if they aren’t moisturized, say with a leather conditioner. No such treatment is necessary for synthetic leather.

PU leather shoes, furniture, and other items can all be cleaned with mild soap, warm water, and a soft, non-abrasive cloth.

  1. Use your dampened cloth to gently scrub the surface of your PU product to get rid of dust and dirt after soaking it in a bowl of warm water.
  2. Re-soak the cloth in the bowl with mild soap. Avoid using stronger cleaning agents like bleach because they will harm the leather.
  3. By rubbing your PU item in a circular motion, you can spot-test a small, concealed area of it.
  4. Clean the remaining portion of the surface area if there is no damage.
  5. Before using, allow the product to dry.

Conclusion: PU Leather

Artificial polyurethane leather is also referred to as PU leather. Real leather, PVC leather, and silicone leather are more durable than PU leather. It is the most breathable synthetic leather, though. When used for clothing, it is the perfect replacement for real leather.

PU leather will be a great option for you if you’re looking for a less expensive alternative, something that is vegan, or something that is available in a variety of colors.


Is PU Leather Vegan?

Only leather made entirely of PU qualifies as vegan. If not, real leather is probably used in making the product. Its top is coated with polyurethane, making it durable.

Does PU Leather Peel?

Genuine leather does not flake, peel, or chip. Peeling leather is frequently a cheap polyurethane (PU) synthetic material called faux leather, though it may occasionally just be an unstable finish or after-market paint.

How Do You Prevent PU Leather from Cracking?

The PU leather starts to crack and get sticky in these areas. As a result, routine upkeep and cleaning are crucial. A dry or slightly damp, lint-free cloth should be used to dust PU leather as needed.

Is PU Leather a Real Leather?

PU leather, or polyurethane leather, is an artificial leather made of thermoplastic polymer. 100% Being entirely artificial, PU leather is regarded as vegan.

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