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Lambskin and calfskin are known for their soft and supple texture, making them preferred materials for high-quality leather shoes, jackets and other clothing. This extra softness is because both materials are taken from young animals; their skin is more flexible and thinner than that of older animals. For those trying to decide on a high-quality leather purchase, there are some differences between calfskin and lambskin to consider before the purchase is made.

Benefits of Lambskin

Besides being smooth and silky, lambskin's main draw is that it is insulative and protective, especially for its thinness. Lambskin is unique among leather in that it is tanned with some of the wool still attached to the skin. Lambskin gloves keep hands warm in cold weather, and lambskin jackets stand up to cold temperatures better than many synthetic materials.

Benefits of Calfskin

Calfskin products are known for their sheer, almost velvety texture and their high durability even in harsh conditions. Although not as insulating or weather-resistant as lambskin, calfskin is tougher and withstands abrasion better. Calfskin gloves and jackets are perfect for people who come into contact with rough surfaces and gritty environments on a daily basis. Calfskin shoes retain their softness longer than other very soft materials even if used by daily walkers.


Both lambskin and calfskin are considered high-priced materials and products made from them are generally luxury items. Calfskin and lambskin are used to make leather clothing, luxury furnishings and shoes.

Care and Maintainence

Lambskin must be dry-cleaned because moisture and detergents would damage the wool fibers. Calfskin can be polished, although it is advisable to use a gentle brush to do the polishing and very light and delicate cleaning agents.