Types of Leather and Leather Care

Types of Leather

Genuine Cowhide Leather:
Cowhide is the most common leather used in the making of garments, furniture, and leather goods. Cowhide as a category covers a wide spectrum of textures and quality, but in general, it is quite durable, easy to care for and resistant to water and dirt. Cowhide leather maintains its integrity, taking on the shape of the wearer, and making it more comfortable with everyday use. This affordable, functional leather offers fashion, value and an endless variety of colors and style.

Naked Leather:
Naked Leather is defined as being without addition, concealment, disguise, or embellishment. A leather with no surface, impregnated treatment of the finish (other than dye) that might mask or alter the natural state of the leather. Naked leathers are valued highest by consumers. Naked Leather is soft from day one and does not require a break-in period!  Hides are generally up to 2.0 mm thick. They are dyed but not finished, so some tiny imperfections (like barbed-wire marks) are still present (visible upon close inspection). This is desirable to most people. Naked Leather is extremely comfortable when brand new!  Naked Leather garments are more expensive because the hides must be hand selected for uniformity.

Finished Split Leather:
This is the middle or lower section of the hide with a polymer coating applied and embossed to make it appear like a grain leather. Finished splits should only be used in low stress applications because they are weaker than grain leather. If the polymer coating is left out it is often used to make suede.

NOTE: RiderStop.com does not sell split leather products.

Caring for Your Leathers

Proper care is important to the longevity of your motorcycle leathers. Neglected leathers can dry and rot while well cared for leathers will increase in beauty as they age.

The basic idea behind leather conditioning is to replace the natural oils that the leather loses during daily wear. These oils lubricate the leather, keeping it supple, and repel water and dirt which can break down the integrity of your leathers.

How often you treat your leathers depends on how hard and how often you ride. We normally recommend treating your leathers every 3 - 4 months of active riding. However, if conditions are harsh you may find it necessary to condition your leathers more frequently. As an example, if you are caught in a hard downpour while riding with little protection from the elements you may wish to condition your leathers after they dry to replace oils that were lost. Also, if you ever notice that your leathers feel dry or stiff, it is a sign that they need to be conditioned. It is best to avoid letting them reach that state. Hopefully you will develop a schedule for caring for your leathers that is that complements your riding habits.

First, clean your leathers before you condition them. Never condition dirty or wet leathers. If you do, the conditioning oils will trap the water and dirt in the leather causing it to degrade faster. If your leathers are not noticeably soiled, wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth and let them dry at room temperature overnight. If your leathers need a more thorough cleaning we recommend using a well-known cleaner such as LEXOL-pH Leather Cleaner. Once cleaned, allow your leathers to air dry completely at room temperature before you condition them.

Next, choose a conditioner based on your riding needs. For most people we recommend LEXOL Leather Conditioner and Preservative. LEXOL products will provide good waterproofing for your leather apparel.

NOTE: Although LEXOL is widely accepted as a treatment for leather, there are certain leathers for which it is not suitable (e.g., napped leathers, such as suede or glove soft leather, which call for treatment with lighter lubricants)

For best results, always follow the manufacturer’s directions when using cleaners and conditioners.

General Cleaning:
Gently blot liquid stains with a clean cloth. Winter salt will stain your leather, so you will want to wipe it with a clean, damp cloth as soon as possible and allow it to dry naturally. For more serious stains, we recommend you consult a professional leather cleaning service. Do not use a Dry Cleaner for your leathers, as normal dry cleaning methods will remove essential oils, causing the leather to crack, fade and shrink. A cleaner who specializes in leather care will know the proper methods to clean and condition the leather.

Care When Wet:
If your leather becomes wet, allow it to dry at room temperature. (Never put leather in the dryer.) 

Proper Storage:
Store your leather coat or jacket on a wide wooden, plastic or padded hanger to help maintain its shape. Store your leather in a well-ventilated, cool, dry place. Avoid hot areas, such as attics; or damp areas, such as cellars. Cover your leather with breathable cloth, like cotton sheets, when storing. Avoid using plastic bags for coverings, as they will cause excessive drying


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