Leather has adorned the fashion word for decades. Some fashionistas will only wear real leather, while others who are more economical will choose faux leather. Personal beliefs and animal rights movements have influenced designers to produce more fashion using faux leather. Faux leather has a few different names including pleather and Naugahyde. Real leather is typically more expensive because it made from animal skins instead of manufactured material and it costs more to produce.

Inspect the material by looking at seams and pores. Real leather is typically pieced together in smaller pieces so there will be seams on large items. The pores on faux leather will be consistent whereas on real leather they will be more irregular.

Feel the item in question. The faux leather has a smooth plastic-like feel while real leather can have a rough or silky texture that is not always consistent as you feel the entire surface. Real leather breathes so it will change temperature with your body whereas faux leather does not breathe and tends start out cold or room temperature and then get sticky and hot as the temperature rises.

Smell the product. Typically leather has a distinct smell from the animal skin and faux leather made of PVC or other products will have a plastic smell.

Examine the edges of the material. Faux leather will have smooth, clean cuts and edges, but real leather tends to have rough edges.

Look at the label or product information. When in doubt read the label. If the product is real leather it will clearly say so. Faux leather products usually say “man-made material.”

Purchase the product that best fits your needs. If you are vegan, for example, then faux leather is the way to go, but if you like the look of the “real thing” and want something that will last a long time then you may want to splurge on real leather.


  • When purchasing faux leather, make sure that you are inspecting the product for quality; some faux leather products tend to crack or peel.

  • If you are searching for real leather then make sure the tag says “genuine leather” and not “leather-like”.

  • Faux leather products are typically lighter and easier to clean so if you find a high quality replica of real leather it may be a good choice.

References and Resources

Faux leather
Irish Sofa guide